The following is the second chapter of a four-part series titled, “Spring Awakening.” Within two months I dated two people who both played significant roles in shaping how I view life, love and happiness. What I learned along the way surprised me.
This is Part Two.
I love driving down Rio Salado Parkway late at night.
As someone who absolutely loathes confinement and restriction, there is a a freeing and peaceful force when driving with the windows rolled down on a lonely road, passing through each green light as the street lamps cast staggering shadows across your path.
Genie looked so good tonight. As we became the beat of the music blasting on the radio, he removed his beanie and shook his long hair out of its cage, and pushed his back up against the passenger door. He tipped his head out through the window, letting his hair fly above the wind, combing it with his fingers and crooning along to the tune.
After I got over the initial shock of being called, “beautiful,” he and I set out to continue our effortless conversation on the lake. And it was to the lake we went.
It’s important to note that when I was truly surprised by his ‘beautiful’ comment, Genie said, “Hmm…that’s interesting.”
I laughed. “How do you mean?”
“By the look on your face, I can tell you don’t believe me when I say, you’re beautiful. In fact, I don’t think you believe you’re beautiful at all.”
As we pulled up to the lake, I replayed his words over and over in my head. Did I really not believe I was beautiful? Or at least a good person? Perhaps it was the sole reason why I came out to meet Genie in the first place.
To have someone make me feel beautiful.
We walked over to the edge of the water and sat down, letting our feet dangle over the glowing man-made pool where the light rail bridge hovered over us, flashing its lights when the next train would glide along.
“What’s your biggest goal in life?” he asked.
“To make a difference in the world. You?”
“To fall in love.”
It struck me that while you could be on a perfect date with undeniable chemistry between two people, you can be completely different people. There’s nothing wrong with either of our answers, they were just different. So different that it made me wonder if this could work. But at the same time, it was only our first date. I was clearly getting way too ahead of myself.
But this would be something I would run into a lot in my life. The men I date never really seemed to understand how my need for love would always be secondary, that my image of my future family never included my future husband, and that the image of the kids I would raise and the things they would accomplish – that was the dream. The dream beside my dream to serve a greater purpose. A man was never part of my end game. Although, it probably would be nice.
After the lake, we headed over to a gas station to get slushies. It was quite late at this point but I had a craving. As we walked through isles of candy, chips and soda pop, Genie and I eyed each other over each top shelf. He began dancing in the isle, making silly faces to get me to laugh. Oh, I laughed. I laughed because Genie was so animated, he’s a character, someone so real that he seems unreal. How could someone be so completely shameless and charming? Not only that, but he seemed so free. He seemed free of the world at large and lived in his own artistic world of possibilities. I felt like I was a part of it. Genie was Alice, and he was bringing me down the rabbit hole.
We took our slushies to the parking lot and he sat on the hood of my car. He pulled me toward him, as I faced away, straw between my teeth, giggling as he grasped my hips. Perched on his lap, I realized my life had become a Lana Del Rey music video. And it was here that I wanted to stay.
It took all of my power not to stay with him all night…
TWO WEEKS LATER
I couldn’t handle being with Genie anymore.
How did we get here? How did this happen? I needed to break things off with him because I literally felt so suffocated…so frustrated…so confined. I hate bumper-to-bumper traffic, there’s no breeze coming through the windows if you’re not moving fast enough. I needed to be free again, I needed Rio Salado Parkway at night, I needed to become music again, not reject it as noise.
I needed to break up with Genie. I just didn’t know how or why.
to be continued…
Read Part Three of Spring Awakening here!
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