I Think I Met Someone

I am not relationship-oriented. Not in a philandering way, or brooding way, or polyamorous way, or even out of conviction. For the last four years, I’ve viewed girlfriends like I view sports: nice for other people but not for me. Like sports, relationships require lots of effort with a negligible payoff. Your chances of going pro (aka her being the one) are minuscule, you have to do lots of shiz you don’t want to do (sit-ups, compromise, eating kale), and the harder you play, the more likely you are to break something important. I’ve never broken a bone. I’ve never fallen in love. I’ve never minded.

But this isn’t an article about my inherent lack of codependence. That would be easier, funnier, less revolting. It’s about… love. The great mind fucker; the point of life; the universe, and everything according to several major religions and most self-help books. Tolstoy said, “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” I wonder if the same can be said about happy love stories.

OH MY GOD. WHY CAN I NOT GET TO THE LOVE PART? ARE YOU PEOPLE READING THIS? Of course you are, you poor bastards. You wanted uplifting, romance, something to idealize or mock or crave. Two traditionally attractive women kissing in the sand and looking deep into each others eyes. That shit you reblog, but with words.

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We fell in love in the ocean. Not in a day, but over weeks; a couple months, a period of time long enough to feel inevitable but short enough to feel heady and startling like that first plunge beneath the Pacific. People in Los Angeles love the beach but rarely brave the waves; it is too unflattering. In the sea, your concealer smears off and your eye makeup dribbles and every patch of cellulite is illuminated by the sweaty sunshine.

On the morning of our first date, I anxiously researched waterproof makeup and composed a stringent grooming routine to anticipate and eliminate all such flaws. Then I couldn’t be bothered to drop $70 on makeup or get my eyebrows waxed on a Saturday. I’m insecure, not deranged. Instead, I blazed through the requisite prep to wear a bikini without turning anyone into stone and skipped off to meet the brilliant, lovely, intriguing girl I hadn’t stopped thinking about since meeting her 48 hours earlier.

Lauren and I met at a bar. “Weird, I know,” she says when telling the story. “Typical, I know,” I say when telling the story. Good Luc was (and still is, to some degree) the cool lesbian night du jour in Los Angeles. Kate Moennig, still sexy if contemptuously sullen, DJs the crowd of compulsively Instagramming aspiring it-girls, awed wannabes, chic local lesbians, and Panama hats. I was there to gossip, people watch, and acceptably binge drink with Laura, a delightful if infuriatingly toned and successful agent. We also very much wanted to meet girls, but it’s not cool to say that so, yeah, people watching!

Lauren leaned against the bar in a sheer white tank top, cool as a super cute cucumber, tall, toned, tan, with pale hair cropped short and a Covergirl grin. I said hello and she dropped her phone. She complimented my Keith Haring tank and I said, “Thanks, my mom got it for me.”

I coaxed her out back to the smoking patio, we talked, gradually inching closer in that way people who like each other do. She leaned against a chainlink fence and I leaned into her mouth. We kissed until the lights went up and then we parked outside my apartment and kissed in her backseat until the sun went up. Someone snapped a candid picture of Lauren and I that first night. I catch myself looking at it.

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Lauren packed a picnic for our first date and we found a quiet alcove beneath the cliffs of Malibu beach. Two things soon became clear. First, Lauren had the body of Anna Kournikova. Second, Lauren had the brain of a Rhodes scholar. Why was this goddess laughing at my jokes? Was she blind? I still wonder.

Internal and external perfection aside, what sealed Lauren’s Jedi grip on my soul that day was the sea. As a native Floridian, I grew up splashing in the warm natural bathtub that is the gulf of Mexico. The Pacific is chilly and rough. You gotta go in screaming. It makes me feel alive. Like Lauren. Waves beat the shit out of us and we laughed, daring the sea to drag us down from this glorious high. We swam foolishly far from shore, floating on our backs and gazing up the cliffside onto McMansions and the clear California sky. She held my hand and I beamed, squeezing shut my eyes, thinking that at this moment, I could contently drown. A massive wave knocked me under, happy to oblige.

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Two months later, Lauren murmured “I think I’m falling in love with you,” in my ear as we lay in a woven hammock, entwined and softly swaying in the Ocean winds of Baja, Mexico. “I love you, too.” I said, for the first time, and meant it. A silent minute to soak it all in, another perfect moment in the series of perfect moments that characterized life with Lauren in it.

“So this is what love feels like.” I wondered aloud.

“Like what?” she asked.

“Like, life is such a fucking roller coaster then it drops. But what should I scream for? This is my theme park.”

It says a lot about Lauren that when I responded to “I love you”  by rapping Lil Wayne’s line in a Drake song, she laughed and said, “YES!” squeezing me tighter. She seamlessly darts from turning me on to blowing my mind to making me laugh to teaching me to like things I wrote off long ago. She thinks I look cute when I know I look ugly. I think she’s my person. “Let’s just not break up.” Lauren whispers, and I agree. “We have the kind of love that people write stories about.” Lauren says, and I believe her.

We fight. Not a lot, just enough to keep the ice thin. I don’t know why. I don’t think Lauren does either. It’s scary. Each time, I wonder: will this fight be the one that makes her go away?

At this moment, my favorite poem is “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley. I like to mentally recite passages when I’m upset, over and over, until I am calm. Meditation for English nerds.

My favorite bit of “Invictus” goes:

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate,

I am the captain of my soul.

Love is more glorious than I ever imagined, but what haunts me is how fragile love makes you. Even if I can be the master of my own fate, I am powerless over Lauren’s.

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