Monday, July 4, 2011

a story about my love

I'm not saying I have a poor taste in men, but it seems I always enter relationships either unable to completely commit, or highly dissatisfied to begin with.

To date, I can count on one hand, the number of serious boyfriends I've had (not including casual dates, people I've gone out with, people I've "been seeing", hookups, crushes, and so on) and reflecting back on all of them, I'm able to definitely pinpoint my (or their) mistakes and say "that's where we went wrong".

My personality is, to sum up in one word, energetic. I don't like calling myself bubbly because it's equivalent to calling myself marvelous (which is true anyway), but to explain it to you fully, I'm that girl in a circle of friends who's constantly bouncing off the walls. You know the kind.

Before getting involved with my current boyfriend, Seth (read the backstory and all the drama I rambled on about back in January here), I had a "type". And that type was the typical bad boy type: obscure, brooding, rebellious. Very unlikely that I'd get along with people so dark, but the three boyfriends I've had before Seth were ALL that way. My friends tell me I'm compatible with such personalities because I myself am the exact opposite, and you know what they say: opposites attract. I served as relief for all those guys. Light to complement dark, night to complement day. And I used to love being the light. I loved being the fun, lively one.
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But alas, all three of those relationships ended dismally. I'm a flawed person, and by loving flawed people, I've gotten hurt too many times. Why did I let myself fall for the dangerous types, knowing I'd only come out getting hurt? Why'd I do it three times?

To put it simply: I'm stupid. Foolish. I don't know why I fell hard and fast for guys who were destined to do nothing but break my heart. But one thing I know, is that with Seth, my kismet did a complete 180. With Seth, I swear I struck gold.

On our first date, Seth drove me to Chicago (CHICAGO... just the drive was nine hours. Nine fucking hours!) Along the way, we camped out at the creepiest motels we could find, pranked clerks at gas stations, sampled exotic/sketchy independently-owned restaurants we passed by (at least two dozen -- in one weekend). Yes, he's that kind of guy. The kind that will always outshine, outwit, and outstand me. The kind that is the light, rather than night, to my day.

I'm not going to delve too deeply in the past, though. I could go on forever telling you all the fun things we've done (paintfights! cross-country skiing! wakeboarding!) and places we've traveled (pretty much everywhere in the east by car), but that's not today's story. Today's story involves today -- what we did today and more specifically, what he did today, to make me fall in love with him. All over again.

To say Seth is bold would be an understatement. There isn't a thing he wouldn't do, and more impressively, a thing he hasn't done. Who else has spent a week on the streets of Rome for a graduation project -- literally on the streets, with no bed, no shower, no technology, save his camcorder -- to document the lives of Italian beggars? Who else has caught eels with his bare hands, then taken sashimi classes to make his girlfriend and family dinner? Who else is so fearless, and so incredible?

This guy is twenty-two. He's only a kid, like me, not some old expert of a man. But he has enough experience, as well as the judgment, to be one, and that's what I find remarkable.
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Today, for the first time, I didn't have to work, or go to class, so we decided to dedicate the entire day to ourselves. Seth's only here for the summer since he goes to school at Johns Hopkins (about three and a half hours from here), but he graduated from Penn State, and his family is from this town, which is how we first met in the first place. For now, he's home.

We started the day off with groceries. To you, this may not seem like the most romantic of date ideas, but with Seth, it's a bustling adventure. He's like a little kid; he has to grab every bizarre and unheard of item off the shelves, and to my horror, into the cart ("Aw, come on. Pickled eggs! Why not?") and say hello to all the grocers we approach ("The green of your uniform really matches your eyes,"). Simple things like running groceries with Seth tend to be fearless, unabashed fun. They make me the serious one for once, and they make me proud. The feeling of pushing a grocery cart with the guy I'm completely in love with makes me so proud, I'm telling you. It's like I get to stroll around and make eye contact with random girls and mentally smirk, "He's mine, girls. MINE. Lucky bitch, I know." I'm evil.

The main point of this shopping trip was to prepare for a stupefying dinner he promised to cook for me tonight. Beyond all the pickled eggs and baby bok chois ("that's just the FUNNIEST name!!!"), there indeed was an intent to our clamor. We passed the meat display to see whether tonight's menu would consist of steak, salmon, or lobster. We were examining the tenderloins, when a young woman and, whom I assume to be her elderly father, approached the display we were standing in front of. The father exclaimed "Look at that!" He was referring to the price of the prime tenderloin; a whopping $58.99 per pound. The woman leaned in and her eyes widened. "Oh my gosh!" she breathed. "That's just ridiculous!"

And this is when Seth cut in.
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"You want to get that tonight?" he asked playfully, turning toward her.

She laughed nervously (also sort of like "Why are you talking to me, handsome stranger...?").

"C'mon, it's Fourth of July weekend! You gotta get it!"

I rolled my eyes apologetically to her. But we all know I was semi-delighted.

"Is it really worth the price?" she asked, mainly to the butcher who was beginning to tune in.

"We actually tried it once, you know," Seth said, looking straight at me. Oh, I knew. Have you ever had prime tenderloin and Antinori Tignanello beneath the stars? "It was pretty good -- I really liked it".

Not once did he take his smoldering eyes off mine. I just about melted.

"Was it worth it?" the woman asked, snapping me back into reality.

"Every cent," Seth said quietly, dropping his gaze.

And that's when I knew why I love him so fiercely.
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The woman and her father proceeded to talk more about beef with Seth; eventually, the conversation morphed into the topic of braised lamb and Seth's special recipe. I mostly just stood there, awed at how my boyfriend was talking about lamb chops and steak with a couple of strangers, like it was the most natural thing in the world. He seemed so comfortable, so happy, and that made my heart soar. When they left (I noticed they bought some sirloin instead; still pretty hefty in the wallet), Seth chatted up the butchers behind the counter, and his charm must have worked on them too, because by the time we had bought our lobster (my personal favorite), they were all cackling with laughter.

I couldn't help but stare at him the entire time, wondering how I had gotten so lucky. This boy works wonders, I tell you.

Then, in the parking lot, before we even got to the car, he ripped open a can of sunflower seeds and began chewing on a few. He offered me some while we were approaching his car. I pushed his hand away and pecked him gently on the cheek instead.

"What was that for?" he grinned.

"I don't think I tell you enough how much I love you," I confessed. "You are the best thing that's ever happened to me."

With a sudden ardor, he slammed me against the side of his car and pressed his lips to mine.

That kiss.
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The rest of the day happened like this, in this exact order: tennis at dusk (yes, I suck; no, you may not gloat about it), shower, play with bubbles (yes!) and a hose outside, spontaneous dip in my Jacuzzi, another shower, dinner at midnight.

Today truly was the perfect day. (Use your imagination to guess what we had for dessert ;) ....that's right, Opera Torte with a garnish of raspberry!)

I know I wrote about Seth earlier because of the problems we were having (most of time, when I talk about relationships in general, it's because of him or something that's happened with him), which mostly consisted of me feeling ill about our entire "thing" or whatever it was he had at the time, because of the three and a half hour gap. I know the distance put us on the rocks, but now that he's back, I've discovered it's only made us stronger than before.

Now it's my turn to leave. Halfway across the world. Do I have faith in us? Yes. Does that guarantee we'll stay together forever and ever? Not at all.
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I've considered breaking it off with him -- just for a year -- because I hate locking him down like that. But we all know (or at least I do, from experience) how breaks end: in breakups.

The last thing I want is for us to fall apart during my year abroad, though. The last thing I want is to have a relationship end over a long-distance phone call, or even worse, over Skype.

If we do end up calling it quits, I don't think I'll ever stop missing him. I know you'd expect most lovestruck girls like me to say that during a relationship, but I'm speaking in absolute terms. Seth is a hard person to forget, and I suppose I never will. I'll miss his knowing eyes and his boyish smile. I'll miss the strength of his hands, and the way he'll whisper soft pleasures in my ear when I'm underneath him. I'll miss his lure (I dare any girl who meets him not to fall head over heels) and I'll miss the sound of my name on his lips. Know what I'll miss most of all? Us, and how for a devastatingly short period of time, we were a whole, how we were one.

Happy Fourth of July, everyone.
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love, Stephanie