Saturday, February 02, 2008

A Little Too Much of a Good Thing

Have you ever had a moment when you realize your romantic tendencies have gone too far? Have you ever read in a book where it says something like, "This was real life, not a romance novel" even though, obviously, it WAS in a book? When you hear the phrase "romantic at heart", do you raise your hand and pretend you're not such a romantic that you had an episode of insanity you craved so badly to be real but it wasn't, and you mutter to yourself, "This is real life, not a romance novel"?

Once upon a time, after awhile of internal struggles and personal chaos, I wrote an email, a "Dear John" letter, if you will. I poured myself into it, every ounce of emotion, every drop of despair, every thought that spewed out of me and onto the page. And I stared before hitting send, because that's your "can't turn back" moment, after all, and I read and re-read and questioned and questioned, but in the end, I sent it. And waited. It sounds so horrible to do it via email, but given the mileage between us in that long distance relationship, there really wasn't another option, at least, I felt I'd ran out of them. But I'm a silly girl, right? Err.. WAS a silly girl. When this happened. Anyway...

I'd ended the email with "If you want to discuss this, find me, otherwise I'll assume you agree this isn't what either of us wanted" (paraphrased, of course) and waited to see if I heard a word. And waited. And waited. And finally, with the hours of silent confirmation, I came to the conclusion that he agreed with me. The bandage had been ripped.

Four hours later I left to run an errand. On the windshield was a small piece of paper. Nothing on it. But it was under the blade and I couldn't figure out why or how or anything like that. Then, as I drove down the highway, I passed this truck that looked incredibly familiar and I noted the time: time for him to drive to me to make that effort to show me, prove to me, erase all questions, to snag just one night of precious time when we could, when I felt so lost, so alone, so in doubt. And it explained why I hadn't heard a word. It made *sense*. As I passed the truck on the highway, in my rearview mirror, I saw the brake lights come on. I convinced myself that my brain was wanting it to be something it wasn't. I made myself keep driving to the store.

Of course, I mentally turned it every which way, inside and out, one minute convinced it was him, the next berating myself for being so foolish. On the way home, back down the highway, I passed a black truck and I couldn't see the driver's face, but his hand was stretched passed the steering wheel, and I swear I'm not making this up, his finger was doing that circle motion like "turn around". I blinked. I'm going 50 mph but holy crap, why did I see that? I drove on to my house, up my driveway, and forced myself into the house.

And thought and thought, sitting there. Was it serendipity like when we first met? This was exactly like a novel I might read, one I'd write, that moment when she's convinced it's over and he's literally chasing around a town trying to find her for that huge lovely moment we just flipped through 400 pages to find.


Guess what?

It really is just a novel. It really is just in a chick flick. I had really read one too many Happily Ever Afters.

Have you ever had a moment that felt it was right out of a novel? If so, please share it so I don't feel like Kathleen Turner in Romancing the Stone. She didn't age well. I don't want that same fate, k? Thanks in advance.


Charles Gramlich said...

I've had a few such moments. They have all revolved around periods of intense emotion, either love or anger. I think when emotion overwhelms our minds we begin to see the world in different ways, more like the dramatic events of a novel.

Sheri said...

Wow! I was hooked! I read down your page so fast, thinking with you... it was him, no it was her imagination. No, it was him. Oh, I don't know, hurry up and tell me, I HAVE TO KNOW!!!

I do this kind of thing all the time. My husband says, for him, "Living with a writer is like being in a movie all the time, only he never gets to see the script."

I guess this is a writing hazard. Our overactive imagination - that will one day make us loads of money, right? - is writing stories all the time, even sometimes at our own expense.