Wandered over to the park in an attempt to relax and get my thoughts under better control and happened upon a movie screening. As any avid people-watcher would do, I happily took a seat among the mixed crowd, my pen and notepad readied for notetaking. It wasn’t long before I say my notepad down. Directly in front of me was a family. A husband, wife, and their 17 year old daughter. They had a basket full of crackers, cheese, fruit, wine, and sparkling water that they were sharing between one another. After about 10 minutes of watching, I realized why I was so drawn to them. They all looked…happy. And, more jarring than that, none of them had even glanced at their phones. I looked from them…to another family…to a few different couples and it amazed me how into one another everyone seemed to be. Happy people enjoying each other. Actually talking and being disconnected from their phones, even for 15 minutes at a time. As I was appreciating the moment for what it was, the husband in front of me decided to glance back and begin a conversation about how his daughter loved my hair. It wasn’t long before I moved over to their picnic to join them. He explained that he and his wife had been married for 22 years and that he was an accountant at one of Chicago’s major design firms. I commented on the fact that they generally looked to be enjoying one another and he said that they lived by one rule: be present. The husband and wife both explained how they met in their late 20s and just clicked, and that they learned the importance of communication and affection early on in their relationship. I asked about the fact that many people don’t mention affection on relationship to-do lists and he said he didn’t understand why not. His words, verbatim, were “how are we supposed show love to people without touching them? How can I connect to her directly without grabbing her hand, at the very least?”. I nodded in understanding and, in that moment, I knew exactly why I was here.
Lately, I’ve been spending my nights contemplating the things I want and expect from a relationship. When I mention having a love that even others can feel people look at me like I’m crazy. When I mention being completely enamoured with the person of my choosing….being affectionate and loving all of the time…giving them the benefit of the doubt and any and every situation, regardless of the circumstances…people call me crazy. I have been lamenting and settling simply because I have been convinced that maybe I am a little off. Maybe I am romanticizing what I want the love that I participate in to feel like. But, no. The love that I have been desperately wanting is attainable, but only with a like-minded person. And when that love comes, I will not have to plead for it, or make changes to my ideals. It will simply exist, without further prodding from me. That is refreshing.
I retreated from their picnic to take a moment with my own thoughts and take time to pay more attention to the couples. The way they look at one another. The way they touch. If the companionship that I seek is a fairytale, then it is nice to see that story being played out right in front of of me. There will be no further compromising on my end. This moment was necesarry, and I am grateful for it. Romance, genuine romance, will not be the exception to the rule.