I Thought of You Today

I thought of you today while riding the subway downtown to a date I wasn’t quite sure was actually a date or not. I caught myself not being able to turn my attention away from an older couple — sitting next to each other, reading the paper on a Friday night at 8 like it was the most normal thing in this city. They shared the Times, flipping through thoughtfully, digesting each sentence and with care, turning the page. The husband rubbed his wife’s knee from time to time during my 20-minute commute. She turned her attention to him with a casual smile, probably the same look she’s been giving him for decades. The same look that he loves, the same grin that’s gotten him through the tough times and the good ones. They looked insanely comfortable and so beautifully, easily, sweetly with one another.

It was adorable.

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And it made me think of you. You — whoever you are. You who I haven’t met yet, or perhaps I have. Maybe we’ve already dated, broken up and lost contact. Maybe we’ve seen one other naked. But no, I don’t think so. I could have caught a glimpse of you while walking my dog or picking up groceries around the block. Perhaps I didn’t catch your name when we were briefly introduced at a loud bar somewhere in the West Village months ago. Maybe, as the psychic predicted, your name begins with J.

Or not.

Whatever your name is — I try not to think of you. I know better than to imagine and create illustrations and hopes of what you look like or how your voice resonates in my head without actually, ever meeting you. I know that believing in things that feel impossible or totally out of reach at this moment can only make me feel worse. Especially if everything I dreamt of, everything I’ve considered true about love and marriage someday just become things I once thought would happen, instead of things that are. How can I think of you – you, with eyes I haven’t locked with, lips I haven’t actually kissed – when you’re just someone I’ve never known? How can I think of you without one hundred percent knowing your existence is something I can depend on?

That you’re someone I can believe in?

But it’s when the world feels a little lonely and my personal universe is a little uncomfortable or uncertain, that I do think of you. It’s when I dream of you, knowing better and rebelling against logic in romantic spite. It’s when I close my eyes on a crowded train or tucked away at night, looking out at the stars I convince myself I can see, even when I know I don’t. City lights are brilliant and alluring but they conceal the sparkly specs I love to see. I think of you and the days I hope will come, the children I hope I’ll bear. The love I can’t wait to make in our bed I want to share. I think of you in a way that’s unfair and extremely biased — without ever being introduced to you, without tracing your face or feeling your grip on my hip, I both love and hate you. I love you because I hope you’ll be mine, and I hate you for hiding. For taking so long. For not being here…

…Right now. On this train. Next to me. Kissing the side of my head and excited to show me a new downtown joint you discovered. Holding my hand that holds your ring, looking at me in the way my father always promised you would. With love, with admiration. With everything…

…after making it through everything to get to you.

And yet, I try not to think of you. And so usually, I don’t. I pick myself up from that moving train and away from that couple I aspire to be like, and head out to that date. And I smile at a perfectly good guy who doesn’t ignite a spark but insists on walking me to the station. I may kiss him for whatever it’s worth, to disguise the disappointment on my face. I may politely respond to him the next day that I see more of a friendship and I’ll head out to continue with my weekend, trying my very best not to think of you. Trying not to look for you in the cute guys who pass by me or the ones who smile in my direction. I’ll stop myself from thinking of the stories I’d like to tell, the ones I’m dying to write and the adventures that seem so far-fetched that planning them would seem crazy. I won’t think of you that day or the following week, maybe even a month.

But then, on an unusually windy April afternoon, as I walk to pick up a latte after another less-than-interesting Saturday night, I’ll see an elderly man shushing the oncoming cars and taxis as his wife shuffles along with a walker. It’ll take two traffic rotations for her to make it across, but he just tells her to take her time. She’ll be wearing red lipstick and he’ll reach over to make sure she can make it up the sidewalk, and I’ll be standing right there, watching it all unfold in literally, slow motion.

Then I’ll smile. And I’ll think of you, whoever you are, wherever you might be. And I’ll pray that you’ll make your way to me soon because I’d rather walk these streets alone than to meet someone who isn’t you.

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11 thoughts on “I Thought of You Today

  1. I would say don’t think of “him”. DON’T imagine. Don’t wonder. He is there. But he may be wondering about you. Does he want to know if you hope to meet him in a bar ? Probably not.

    Be “in the moment”. Take people as you meet them, as they touch or integrate to your life, men and women. Forcing a date or sex too soon just alienates you to that person.

    My experience of simply going along and finding myself in regular groups for lunch, eventually small bits of conversations became larger and longer ones. Friendship
    can blossom, but it still limited. Have something you will do that you know interests that new friend, invite them. Be in the moment, explore that event. Its a shared event, but not one between the sheets. No one using anyone. No apprehension. If the shared event is enjoyed by both, there will likely be another. Grow a relationship, or two or three from different interests. No instant dependence. Find who shares the most common interests,
    then there is real potential.

    Dance buddy. Running buddy. Other hobbies ? Dog training ? Take a class. Observe people in interaction with others, whom you might meet.

    Leave the bar scene to those who only want a one night hookup.

    Better, find a regular place you have lunch and dinner, people you first only say hi to.
    Then people you share a table and conversation with.

  2. This is everything I’m feeling right now (and have felt for a long time)! Love it. Keep your head up, and don’t give up hope. He will show up, and will be worth the wait.

  3. Before I met my husband, I used to look up, often, into the starry night and I just knew he was looking up too, at the same stars and feeling lonely, like me. Like you, I was thrilled and annoyed that it was taking so long for us to meet each other, but it did work out, it did happen and it is not a fairy tale. I was not a princess (maybe a princess wanna-be) and he didn’t have a white horse (he did have a motorcycle) and he didn’t save me from the wicked stepmother or poverty or desperation. He just quietly walked into my life – sincere and steady and I walked into his – kind and accepting and love took over and became committment and marriage. It really is that simple and magical at the same time! Keep believing!

  4. another freaking unbelievable piece….’i picture him in my mind all the time………this amazing article and this amazing song will pro’ly help our kind get through..

    ‘Somewhere out there if love can see us through
    Then we’ll be together somewhere out there
    Out where dreams come true
    And even though I know how very far apart we are
    It helps to think we might be wishing on the same bright star’

    i loooooooove this bit ;I love you because I hope you’ll be mine, and I hate you for hiding. For taking so long. For not being here…’

  5. This is such a wonderful and sweet post! I want the kind of love that that couple had on the subway. Being able to be content with your lover is what will make a relationship last, and I’m hoping my husband and i will be close, happy, and in love in our old age.

  6. Wow. This really hit home, and touched a soft spot. I am in the place where I believe I have met him, and unfortunately lost him. And now I must wait and hope for a chance again. But in the meantime, all that I do and say and see and think…it hurts to know that I’m not sharing those moments with him. And I just want things to hurry up, too.

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