Two months ago, I had lunch with two Russian women who were in my Spanish classes with me. They were both married to Chileans; both were equally insistent that I would meet someone here. They told me, “No Gringa stays single for long here.”
I told them I had not come to Chile to fall in love. I had come to Chile, in fact, to finally tamp out the last burning embers of love from a relationship I had ended two and a half years ago (well that, and to have a rockin’ good time celebrating my 30th year of life on Earth). The rockin’ good time I knew from the start; the falling-out-of-love part I didn’t figure out till I got here.
So, right around the third month of my new life in Chile, I said a final goodbye to that old chapter in my life. Around the same time, I met A. He was a bass player, DJ, artist, ex-businessman. He was as diverse in his interests as I was in mine: guitar player, dancer, writer, ex-business owner.
It seemed the right time to consider how a pololo might fit with my Chile plans.
And for awhile, it seemed to great. I have to confess that I was one of those couples in the park. I was hypnotized by our little world full of butterflies and love.
But I was cautious. So while A offered his heart up, vulnerable and beating special songs for me, I did not. I waited. I wanted love, but I wanted it in my time.
My friend Mari says she will marry the man who makes her feel alone. I have decided I will marry the man who makes me feel free.
Essentially, I was asking A who had grown up in a culture that taught men to possess their women to love me without the stronghold. I knew it was a hard thing to ask of him. I had seen examples of possessive love all over Santiago:
A couple waiting for the train, the guy’s arms wrapped around his girl as if to say “she is mine.” The girl’s face blank, tired. She, an empty shell, her thoughts elsewhere. Ignoring him. He demands her love, grabbing her chin to steal a kiss from her. She lets him. She is passive. She is not really there.
Okay, so I am in no way that kind of girl. And I was worried that I was hurting A with being the kind of girl I am:
- I couldn’t stand to have his arm slung over my shoulder—no man needs me to carry his love like a weight.
- I didn’t want him to call me every day.
- I didn’t want things to be serious.
- I didn’t want to lie around and listen to music all the time.
- I didn’t want to always be in a lip lock.
- I definitely did not want to be kissed in the middle of me talking about something I felt was important—was he ever really listening?
John Mayer writes in Slow Dancing in a Burning Room “Can’t seem to hold you like I want to so I can feel you in my arms.” I imagine it must’ve felt that way for A.
And now that A has ended it, he will never know how, despite everything, I dreamed the silly dreams of love with him, of long-time love, of warm summer nights in the park and cold evenings in front of the stove, warmed by its heat and each other. I was sold on the fantasy he painted for me, slow strokes filled with respect and love, which quickly—and unfortunately—dried and peeled, leaving nothing but blank canvas.
He said he loved me. I said I knew the difference between infatuation and love.
I was not surprised when it ended, only surprised that it was by a cell phone text saying he never wanted to see me again. Never is a really long time. But a man can only take so many “no’s” before he begins to hate who he used to love.
Don’t fret about me though. I know I’m destined for happier pairings, full of laughter, full of light. And yet, I also know I will forever be attracted to the wild fires of the musician and the darkest shadows cast by their brightest flames.
So…single yet again.
This new freedom feels sad. Perhaps it will fit better tomorrow.
Que te vaya bien,
C in C