Phil and I started out as friends, and our transition into a relationship was about as smooth as bathtub gin. On Valentines Day, which was three weeks into the turbulent evolution, I insisted on setting the amorous mood with greasy food and a gory horror movie. In a nervous frenzy, I hid my anxiety behind a gluttonous mask.
Like a fat kid on Halloween night, I literally ate myself sick, which I believe entailed consuming four large slices of broccoli pizza and a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia frozen yogurt. While Phil kept me company on the bathroom floor, I decided that between retches was the perfect time to seal the deal. So I said, “You can be my boyfriend if you want.” I made him an offer he couldn’t refuse, and then he held my hair. It was an enchanting evening.
A couple months later, we were walking to the beach when Phil dropped down on bended knee. I began shaking my head and kind of running away. We’d been dating for less than six months! How could he propose this soon?? What was he thinking?? I turned back to let him down gently.
He was not proposing. He was tying his shoe. And I had not played it cool.
A bit over a year later when I knew he was actually going to propose and I was ready to accept, I continually ruined his plans by painting mental pictures of incredible proposals that, unbeknownst to me, he was already putting into motion.
“You should take me to Diana’s Pool and we’ll have a picnic on a rock by the waterfall!” I said.
“You have GOT to be kidding me,” he said. Back to square one. He ended up making a heart-shaped pizza, and I managed to keep it down, which spells success on my scale.
Romance, and sentimentality in general, makes me uncomfortable. I blame it on the pressure. The high stakes of ruining a romantic ambiance are equivalent to the weighty expectation of enjoying New Year’s Eve. I just can’t handle the responsibility. So my strategy seems to be– kill the moment right away. Squash it from the get-go, lest it gets more idyllic and THEN I screw things up.
Sometimes I destroy involuntarily; maybe I’ve conditioned my subconscious to sabotage situations. When we were swimming in the ocean recently, we saw a speck of red every time a wave crested. After the initial scare of it possibly being a bloodstained poisonous jellyfish aiming to suction itself to our hind parts, we realized it was a long-stemmed rose. You might think there is nothing more romantic than the sight a single rose floating in the sea, but then you’ve never seen a handsome medium build gentleman of mixed European heritage hopping over waves to retrieve the rose, and then return to present it to you. The image of Phil holding a long stemmed red rose against the backdrop of blue sky and sea was something I’d like to paint, if only I had more artistic capability than a Kindergartner with a visual spacial learning disability. It was beautiful, and I was touched. Then a massive wave approached. In an effort to salvage this souvenir of affection while also not drowning, I submerged myself and thrust my rose-bearing fist into the air. When I resurfaced, nothing remained but a thorny stem. The rose was decapitated, and the thickly petaled bud was lost at sea, probably bobbing somewhere like a whimsical buoy.
It was such a shame. When I fail to murder romance myself, Poseidon keeps me on track. He’s probably sweetening up some sultry water deity as we speak with his trident and his slick abs and my rosebud, that son of a beach.