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Passion vs. Perfection
When you have the perfect boyfriend you should be happy, right? So why am I not? Kingston is the epitome of a gentleman, my parents like him, and I myself am comfortable around him. We're like two old gloves that fit nicely together and are worn in all the right places. But the thing about gloves is that they never change: they never change colour or texture, nor do they act impulsively. So while I am comfortable, I am not happy.
Last night Kingston arrived a little early to pick me up before going out to dinner, so while I was putting the finishing touches on my make-up he was downstairs discussing business and politics with my father and fending off offers of nourishment from my mother. Snatches of their conversation drifted up the stairs, and I listened to those voices while looking at my reflection in the mirror. Who was this person staring back at me? Those blonde curls looked familiar, and I could hardly not recognize those piercing eyes, but what was this mirage doing in a safe blue dress? Where were the tattered jeans, much-loved tank-top, decorated Converse, and bright magenta hoodie? This girl in front of me was not the person who had stayed up the whole night just for the hell of it, she was not the person who had run laughing through corn fields in the hot July sun, and she definitely wasn't the same person as the one who had laid in the back of a pickup truck and made up constellations for countless hours.
Pasting a smile on my face, I picked up my small purse and slipped on the nice silver heels my friends had given me last year for my birthday. I descended the stairs like a princess from a fairytale, all eyes on me. Kingston met me at the bottom step like the proverbial prince, taking my hand and kissing me chastely on the cheek. We bid my parents goodbye, him calling them 'sir' and 'ma'am' like the heroes always did in the movies. His ironed blue shirt was tucked smartly into his khaki pants, sleeves rolled up to reveal his smooth, tanned forearms. We made the perfect couple, unintentionally synchronized and everything. Opening the passenger door for me, he handed me into the car like someone from a couple decades ago.
Getting in the other side, he looked at me again and said in his clear tenor, “You look beautiful tonight.” Funnily enough, I didn't want to be beautiful. Beautiful implies something that is unblemished, like a porcelain doll that sits on a shelf and looks pretty, serving no real purpose. You cannot even play with porcelain dolls – they're too fragile. Beautiful doesn't say anything about your character, its just a remark on how people perceive your physical attributes, which you have no control whatsoever over. Really, beautiful just means that you got lucky with your genetics. But I didn't say that. I just smiled and replied, “Thank you, you look quite good yourself. Where are we going to dinner?”
Our talk was nice, comfortable, safe. Meaningless. I miss running out of the house in jeans and a hoodie and into a gigantic hug where I would be picked up and spun around in a wide circle. I miss not knowing if we were going to a drive-in movie or if we were picnicking in the middle of a stranger's field. I miss screaming and fighting and kissing in the rain. I miss Leo.
While mine and Kingston's relationship is similar to that of a pair of old, familiar gloves, mine and Leo's was more like that of a bonfire in the middle of a blizzard. We could burn so hot, so fast one moment, and in the next everything was consumed by icy wind. Nothing was certain; we lived and loved from one moment to the next, never really thinking about what came next. Passion was the building block of us, personality the glue. Leo and I were both opposite and identical at the same time, so similar that we were different. I thrived under the heat of his passion, and he thrilled me with everything he said.
Sometimes, though, Leo and I would blow up. We both had tempers and loved to argue, which was both a blessing and a curse. For while we could argue innocently and enjoy it, neither of us liked to admit that we had lost an argument, even one that meant nothing. That really is what ruined us, a harmless argument which got blown way out of proportion. I don't even remember what it started over, probably something stupid like which food is better or whether it would be more fun to live on Mars or Pluto. But unlike our other tiffs, this one did not die down, we never got tired of arguing about it and let it go. We began to give each other the cold shoulder and never really stopped. Leo was too proud and I was too stubborn to say, “I'm sorry, can we just forget this whole thing?” So we faded, coming to an unspoken agreement about being broken up. But I didn't want that, I never wanted that.
Coming home from my dinner with Kingston, we exchanged a sweet, short kiss on my doorstep before parting. I wish I could say that I liked my boyfriend, but I can't. Sometimes I wish I could say that I don't like my boyfriend, but I can't say that either. I do not feel anything towards Kingston, I just know that he is safe, that he will never push me to the point of breaking, that he will always leave me alone when I ask for space. He is something, which may or may not be better than the nothing which would take over if I had no boyfriend. I wonder what he sees in me, a broken girl who used to feel so much and has now gone numb. I wonder why he stays, when he knows that while I am comfortable I will never be able to love him. I wonder why I stay.
I remember one night when Leo had shown up outside my open window and stood there with a sunflower in one hand, a daisy in the other, and a silly grin on his face. It was one of those humid summer nights which both stifle you and offer a promise of rain, and I had climbed out of my window, down the trellis, and out into the middle of the street with you. We were both in pajamas, and you had wound the daisy into my French-braid and stuck the sunflower behind my ear. We had been studying Romeo and Juliet in our English class, so when he said I looked like a modern version of Queen Mab we both got the reference and laughed. After about a mile or so of wandering the sky above us boomed with thunder and suddenly let loose a deluge, soaking us both within seconds. It was there, standing in the middle of an abandoned road cloaked by water and darkness and seen only by the lightning and thunder, that I really fell in love with Leo. We laughed and spun around in the rain, jumping in puddles that seemed to materialize out of the previously parched asphalt, chasing each other around with no real reason. I stopped a minute to catch my breath, then grinned mischievously at Leo and he looked back at me with passion burning so brightly in his eyes that I could feel it warming me like nothing else ever had. He caught me up in his strong, dark arms and kissed me unlike I'd ever been kissed before and probably will ever be kissed again. We stayed like that for what seemed like hours, not even noticing when the rain stopped and the stars were once again visible in the inky sky.
I wish I could love Kingston. I wish that his kisses gave me butterflies and that when we talked I actually engaged myself fully in the conversation. I wish that he could be more than something to fill the void that appeared after Leo left. But even more overwhelming than my wish to love Kingston is my desire to be able to cry. I have screamed and raged and cursed his name, but I have not been able to shed even one tear over Leo. Perhaps its because I have not entirely let go of the pride that got me into this fix in the first place. Or maybe I still believe that Leo will come back, that this will turn out to be just another episode in our roller coaster relationship. All I know is that given the chance, I would take Leo back in an instant. Gloves may last longer than fire, but without heat the world is nothing. Without passion we are not human.
Tonight I lay in bed, silently cursing both Kingston and Leo, the former for being so d*mn perfect, the latter for making it impossible for me to love the former. Glancing at my bedside table I read two o'clock; another night devoted to thinking about my ex. Then, like a scene out of a cheesy romance novel, I heard the sound of pebbles being thrown at my window (where did he find pebbles?). Knowing what I would see yet still not believing it, I got out of bed, walked over to the window, and saw Leo standing there. This time he had gone all-out: a rose in one hand, a sign in the other which read simply, 'Please forgive me.' And just like that I did, because there really was nothing to forgive. Neither of us had done anything except be controlled by our pride instead of our common sense.
So once again I climbed out the window, down the trellis, and into the arms which I had been missing for the last couple months. I may get burned by this fire sometimes, but I would rather be slightly singed than utterly numb.