Fantasy love is much better than reality love. Never doing it is very exciting. The most exciting attractions are between two opposites that never meet. (Andy Warhol)
Things we wanted badly and never got have an underlying power of growing in our minds up to where we see them as perfect. So do people, especially those who play a temporary role in our lives, but leave us with a sense of missing out on something bigger. At some point, we all have in the back of our heads the one that got away. That one person who would have been perfect for us, who none of those we actually had can compare to. The one that got away is our standard for perfection and our hallmark of nostalgia.
I met mine when I was still pretty young but not that innocent. I had known him before, when he caught my eye, but it was only a few months later that we actually met. He was supposed to entertain me for a few hours while I was transiting a new city. Maybe it was the sunset or the soon-to-be-summer weather, maybe it was just me and my soft spot for really smart guys, but it took a couple of minutes and I was hooked. Our sense of humor blended perfectly and we were amused by the most random things. We talked for hours and I wished it would never end. We saw each other two more times that week and it did feel like it would never end. But then I went home and e-mailing just didn’t do it. I never even held his hand, although I dreamed about it for months. In the end, we both fell in love with other people and let it go.
But every now and then I keep wondering whether I could have transformed that story into a love story. Whether we would’ve been great together if it wasn’t for the distance. I now dare to say it’s better the way things turned out. We all need that hope that comes with knowing you had that perfect thing right in front of you and you let it go out of not wanting to spoil it. That hope that makes us believe giving up is not always a bad thing.
I don’t believe we search for perfection in our relationships, I think we all look for a match, a match that would fit our own flaws, one that is insanely wrong and feels so good. We want things we can eventually let go of, not life-changing indispensable love. That kind is left for our imagination, for that amazing place where all the magic takes place.
So while keeping the wonders of meeting the perfect man in the back of our heads, let’s celebrate the other ones. Let’s raise a glass to complicated and weird and sometimes annoying, to the ones we have to learn to love and the ones we have to forgive from time to time, the ones we want to murder now and revive the next minute. Perfect is great, but wait until you meet the damaged. The real deal.
The one that got away will always be that one thing we wanted from life but never got. We might not think about it every day, we might even forget for a while. But one day, when we’re grandmas, we’ll open a box and look at a postcard and the whole skip a breath feeling will come back to us. Because fantasy love never leaves us. Never having to end it has made it part of us. Never even doing it has given us the power to write the story of what could have been in our heads over and over again and living it in our imagination protected it from all the darkness and dirt it would have faced in the real world. So we do live our own fairy tales, and Neverland is not as far as you might think.