I wasn’t looking for someone like her. In fact, when she pushed her way into my life, I made it clear: I wanted nothing to do with her.
Every relationship I’d ever had of that sort had ended up shredding my soul: It’s always about loving long enough to have a firm grasp on my heart, then ripping it out and hauling it off like a toy.
My life was too complicated already, I told her and everyone else within earshot. I didn’t need another demand on my time and emotions.
Working my way up to a tirade of cynicism, I told her that emotions were drastically overrated anyway. (The irony of yelling about emotions didn’t register at the time.)
Even if I had been interested, I fumed, she wasn’t my type.
She sat there and let me rant until I had exhausted myself. She didn’t yell back, didn’t try to pick apart the logic of my argument, didn’t even act hurt. But she didn’t walk away, either.
Instead, she came closer, offered an unspoken forgiveness and insisted I would find her likable.
I couldn’t push her away again. When I let down that first brick in my high wall of defense, she quickly went from likable to lovable. In no time at all, she went from lovable to downright irresistible.
She wasn’t exactly a youngster: When I’d finally allowed myself to look closely at her, I could see a few strands of gray amid the blond. Still, she was pretty enough, and what made her more attractive yet was her seeming unawareness of that fact.
Most ingratiating of all her qualities was that she was such a good listener. Men get addicted to that.
At first I tried to impress her but soon moved to talking of people and places and events that, for better or worse, had shaped me. Even confessions of misspent years slipped out. She listened, unshocked and unabashed, and seemed to love me not a whit less.
Against my better judgment, I suggested she come to live with me.
The very next day, it was over. I woke up and looked around, and she was gone.
I’ll never know what ended it. She’d voiced no complaints, never seemed to pine for some former life, never had the proverbial faraway look in her eyes.
Maybe just being asked to stay was a trophy of sorts, so she was free to go work her magic on some new fool.
All I know is, it was just as I’d protested when we’d first met: I’d loved her – unwillingly at first, then uncontrollably – and less than a week later that yellow Lab mix had trotted down the driveway and on to some other adventure, carrying my heart with her.
Contact Daily Journal Oxford Bureau reporter Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Errol Casten/NEMS Daily Journal