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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Wouldn’t it be nice: On doomed love, plucked flowers and moving on

    I’ve always been ill-suited for Valentine’s Day. At the tippy-top of my long, bizarre list of “stuff that makes me sad” rests balloons and flowers, both of which die slow, decorative deaths that must be graciously observed.

    My anti-fervor for the event hasn’t been mitigated by past celebrations. My most memorable Valentine’s Day involved the painstaking removal of lice from another person’s hair. If only I were a chimp, this would be a fond recollection — a real bonding moment.

    This year, though, Friday looms and I find myself eager, anticipatory. I’m in love. I’ve discussed my odd gift phobias. No one has lice.

    But the thing is, my boyfriend and I — we’re huge idiots. Our relationship is doomed.

    I call him up at least bi-monthly, panicking. I’m terrified that we’re wasting each others’ time. I don’t belong. I’m all wrong.

    I’ll never be the right ethnicity, the right race or religion to fit into my boyfriend’s life. I can’t meet his parents; I’ll never know if they would have liked me.

    Almost no one in his family can know I exist: Italian, white, ambiguous.

    I tell my boyfriend that the theme song of our relationship is “Wouldn’t it Be Nice.” I sing the Beach Boys off-key with “Pakistani” and “Muslim” alternately substituted for “older,” the “we” for “I.”

    The watersheds of our relationship — the symbols — all concern cars and the road. We’ve never quite managed to make a break for it, but it seems we’re always halfway there.

    Most couples kind of know they’re not going to be together forever. It’s a subject they tiptoe around, something to be stifled when it silently surfaces mid-pillow talk. But we’d all rather consciously think of ourselves as our loves’ alpha and omega: their first, their last, their always.

    We try to stifle, too, “Oh, you never know,” “Anything could happen” and “Things change.” But I know I’ve got a best-case scenario expiration date: college graduation. That’s all I’m given; that’s all I’ve got.

    I’m sad about this, deeply sad. If I could, I would pick all the messy relationship shit — the taxes, the mini-lapses in faithfulness, the nightly dishwasher debate — over this “best days of our lives” limited-time-offer romp in a heartbeat.

    But I don’t have that choice. I have to reconcile myself as best as I can.

    So far, one of the only things that’s helped is the metamorphosis, the maturation, the mending of my definition of love.

    I used to be caught up in the widespread belief that passive-aggressiveness equals passion, that possessiveness is affection obscured. I breathlessly awaited texts that never came, my jealousy aflame. I cancelled plans. I cancelled my dreams and my personality. I was convinced that I could corral someone in — keep them — if only I behaved correctly. This, to me, was love.

    The Indian guru Osho advises that if you love a flower, you should not pluck it, killing it. Instead, you should let the flower be, appreciate without possession.

    Now — after feeling my ability to pluck involuntarily inhibited — I realize that this is the purest, truest explanation of love.

    I know I won’t be my boyfriend’s ultimate happiness, and he won’t be mine. Our futures do not belong to one another — not that any couple can be assured theirs will­. In our case, though, we have other stops to make. We have other people to be.

    But those people will not be unchanged.

    Already, I’ve relearned self-respect, I’ve relearned independence, I’ve relearned fun. I’ve learned that the fastest cricket bowler has a record of 100.2 mph, that family is an insurmountable joy we’re all stuck behind, that I should always try goat milk lollipops and date cookies and candies in packages I can’t read, that I can almost-sort of do the arm part of bhangra and that I am worth having around — not ill-suited at all.

    I have changed, and so I carry a piece of this relationship in my heart always, a piece of the couple’s other half.

    I leave improved, and the possibility of my boyfriend one day improving another can’t leave me despondent. How could I deny anyone else the chance to admire?

    I absorb these lessons, and my tongue, my hands momentarily conform to a language that will never be mine: One I’ve been taught, one I’m only borrowing, one I’ll never forget. Main tumse mohabbat karti hoon.

    Katelyn Kennon is a journalism and creative writing junior. Follow her @DailyWildcat.

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