Saturday, January 27, 2007
The Hunt for a Unicorn (Part 1)
A good man is sort of like a unicorn. You hear about them and their magical powers, but you never really meet them. I spent thirty-four years in search of my unicorn. I even lived with a couple of them.
Invariably, over time, the white would rub off, and as the saying goes, their true colors would show. Bill* used to tell me, “I always said I wanted three things in a woman: beauty, intelligence and athleticism. I guess it’s great that I got two of those with you.” Huh? Thanks for the backhanded compliment. Is that a dirt smudge on you?
Even with his backhanded compliments, and there were many, Bill is a good guy. He’s upbeat, fun, athletic and kind. He also likes to keep people happy so he’ll say what you need to hear to make you happy. And he managed to do that with me for a long time.
“I think North Carolina is great! Your mom is awesome. We could start a business there and have a family. It would be awesome!”
I’d cock my head to the side, and think, “What are you talking about? I don’t want to live in North Carolina.” That is, until Bill said he might want to. His comments would start me thinking. “Maybe he’s right. Real estate is cheaper there. Mom would be there to help with the future kids. People are cool. Wow. Maybe this is a great idea.”
Then, we’d be out with friends a few weeks later, and he say, “I’m never leaving Colorado. It’s the greatest place on earth. Why would I ever leave?” Huh?!?! I’d sit at the table not really hearing the rest of the conversation as the little house in North Carolina I’d conjured up faded.
Bill had this uncanny habit of dropping thoughts into my brain, allowing them to fester and grow into real, honest to god ideas. I’d start picturing life in North Carolina or a trip to France or a new business venture. He’s a dreamer, which is good, but it took my three years to realize he can dream big, but his dreams didn't always involve me.
When I finally decided I needed to leave Colorado, I found a whole other batch of unicorn wanna-bes in California. I thought I’d found “the one” in Orange County, which should have been clue enough, but I ignored my little voice and jumped whole-heartedly into a relationship. In my mind, I was ready to run off to Vegas and seal the deal. Larry was sensitive and realistic where Bill wasn’t. He loved me just the way I was. Smart, beautiful and athletic. What Larry and I didn’t anticipate was 9-11, and how the emotions would tear us apart. I’m from the east coast. I’ve leaned against the glass of the World Trade Center and watched the tiny yellow taxis move below. I’ve walked to lower downtown from my brother’s Brooklyn apartment to shop in the shadow of the Towers. So, when they fell, I wondered if my brother or his wife were there. I worried that my father, who works in Washington, D.C., might have been at the Capitol when they told us the Capitol was struck. 9-11 hit me deep and hard. These were places I knew intimately filled with people I love. The day after 9-11, I came home from work utterly exhausted and still in shock. I knew all of my family members were accounted for, but I still mourned the loss of the United States as I knew it. I broke down sobbing with fear of what was to happen to our country, to our world. I knew that the world would never be the same. I cried for all of the families who lost people. I cried because my beloved Towers, the marker of New York City since I was a little girl, were gone. I couldn’t stop crying. And Larry, he couldn’t understand why. I tried to explain to him, but it didn’t help.
Our relationship slowly unraveled after that. His paper unicorn horn fell off, and I packed up and moved on. I held onto a love for him for years after that, holding many men up to what we had, or what I imagined we had. He set the bar higher for what I expected in a relationship
I dated lots of men after Larry, but no one really shook up my world until I met Will. We worked together. We flirted and fought the sexual chemistry between us for two years before anything ever happened. I longed for him, and didn’t understand why he didn’t reciprocate. I had finally written him off as a friend when he told me he was incredibly attracted to me, and really wanted to date me, but we worked together. Luckily, he was on his way to another job. We immediately began dating, and it was everything I ever dreamed it would be except no one knew. He didn’t want anyone at work to know so I didn’t tell anyone – not even my closest friend at work. On top of no one knowing, he was so busy networking for his new job, he could only see me after 10pm, and never seemed to want to see me on a Saturday night. I found all of it a little strange, but I was so happy to finally be dating him, albeit a secret, that I let it slide. I let a lot slide. I let the fact I felt like shit because no one knew slide. I let the fact he didn’t want to meet my friends slide. I let all of it slide until one day when he told me he didn’t have time for a girlfriend anymore. Then I noticed he wasn’t even of the same genus as a unicorn.
*I get to change names when I want to.