Sometimes I'll find myself watching a movie or a TV show where the heroine is trying to make a choice between two guys. I usually end up yelling at the TV like a crazy person, because honestly, if it's that hard to make a choice, it's a pretty safe bet that neither guy is the right one. After all, there's no reason why the heroine HAS to choose either one of them at all. It seems so illogical and wrong when I'm watching it on TV, but now that I'm living it, I almost get it.
I'm not one of those people who would be good at being permanently single. I've always known this about myself - faced with the prospect of an entire life spent alone, I would sink into a depression I'm not sure I would ever be able to climb back out of. Maybe I just need a lot of therapy so the prospect of that kind of a life isn't quite so terrifying, I don't know.
Chris came over tonight, more solemn than I've ever seen him. He wanted to talk, so we left the house and went for a walk.
When we were a good distance away, he took my hands in his, and told me he had things he wanted to say - even though he knew I probably wasn't ready to hear them.
He kissed one of my hands, a gesture that has never lost it's initial charm, made even sweeter by the way he tenderly repeated it, one kiss for each clasped finger. He told me he wanted me to come with him to Georgia for Thanksgiving, to meet his parents and the rest of his family.
"I want them to know who you are." He paused for a minute, clearing his throat and giving me a lopsided smile that didn't quite reach his eyes. "If it doesn't work out - if you never feel about me the way I feel about you - they should probably know exactly who it was that broke my heart."
I studied the ground, trying to think of what to say - how to tell him I wasn't ready to do that yet, when he put a hand under my chin and made me look at him.
"I thought about walking away from this, because it's kind of humiliating to wait around and hope you'll decide you want to be with me, but I couldn't do it. Like it or not, you're what I want. You're who I want." His eyes were slightly wet, but he didn't seem to notice or care.
"I love you." His voice shook a little and I stared up at him in astonishment. "Don't say anything - I'm not wanting you to say it back, I just needed you to know. I don't want to look back on this and wish I'd told you. I love you and I want to be with you."
He wiped at his eyes, and that gesture made me cry - even though I wasn't exactly sure why I was crying. Maybe the depth of his feelings touched me so deeply I was overwhelmed. Maybe it was because it was the first time anyone had ever said they loved me. Maybe because he made me feel so loved that not being able to say it back was breaking my heart a little bit.
Through my tears I managed to say, "OK - I'll go."
That one sentence made him so happy, it was almost as though I'd told him I loved him. "Really?"
I nodded again, then started really crying in earnest and he pulled me toward him and let me cry on his shoulder. I closed my eyes and felt him holding me close and kissing the top of my head, and I thought, I could have this every day - all I have to do is choose it. We stood there for a long time before we walked back.
I don't know exactly what I feel for him, but I can almost see it - choosing Chris, making the choice to be loved. I'm sure I would fall head over heels in love with him if I let myself. I adore Seth, but sometimes Chris touches me in a way Seth doesn't. I don't know if that means I love Chris or not, but it means something.
I can see that girl now, the one on the tv screen, and now I can see that choice more clearly. She isn't choosing between the two guys. She's choosing between the safety of a life with someone who is offering her all of the things she always thought would make her happy, and a life spent chasing after love that might never really happen - where there's a strong possibility she'll end up exactly as she always feared she would - alone. Maybe it's cowardly, but it doesn't feel like such a false choice right now after all.