Having lunch with two beautiful, engaged young woman does not appear to be an arduous task. It does, however, become difficult for the “third wheel,” the young woman not engaged or even dating, the young woman with no romantic prospects whatsoever. It becomes increasingly difficult to keep the smile radiant and the eyes dry as the conversation continues and the loneliness creeps closer, like some kind of pickpocket on a packed, commuter train.
I suppose that’s all melodramatic, isn’t it? Sorry – occupational hazard. Then again, maybe it has nothing to do with my emotional state as a writer; maybe I’ve had too much wine, or maybe I’m so pensive and lonely because I’m currently experiencing “womanly issues” (don’t want to offend or alienate any male readers – you’re welcome). Or maybe it’s because I was watching the recent film adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s novel Jane Eyre. I’m fairly certain I’ve sung the praises of this film in another blog entry, but I have no qualms about doing so again because it is fantastic. I was sobbing as Mr. Rochester raised Jane in his strong arms at the foot of the stairs, spinning around and kissing her mouth in sheer joy as a result of their upcoming nuptials. We should all be so lucky, no? Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald wrote, “… youth does not need friends – it needs only crowds ….” Is it more important to be loved, or to have people know that you’re loved, especially considering the digital age in which we are living?
Where’s the romance, the drama? “Expectations are such a drag,” says Ida Maria in her song “We’re All Going to Hell.” I couldn’t agree more; life is hard – way harder than I ever thought or expected it could be. To quote Rob Thomas, “I barely started and now I’m falling apart.” I’ll be twenty-four in September and that number scares the living hell out of me because I feel as if I have nothing to show for it. We all feel that way at times, don’t we? When does it get better? Mumford and Sons seem to answer this quandry: “You’re not as brave as you were at the start.”
Maybe I should stop listening to sad songs.
On a sad note, R.I.P. Nora Ephron: thank you and damn you for providing me with unrealistic expectations and fantastical notions about romance. You will be missed.
PROMPT: “He’s the cutest little boy. Makes it that much sadder, doesn’t it?”
“He’s the cutest little boy. Makes it that much sadder, doesn’t it?”
Jane, standing beside her mother and studying the same flyer, nodded soundlessly in agreement. The soft-looking brown hair that fell shamelessly across his brow was more likely than not lovingly tousled by a doting father, from whom the little boy had inherited his sharp chin. The dimple in the center of it, though – Jane surmised that came from the mother who had given her son everything she had and then some, only to be repaid for a momentary lapse in supervision with an incredibly harsh and severe punishment. With a horrifying kind of sadness that ached and pulsed, Jane could see the mother kneeling before her son, smiling sweetly. The mother had just praised her son for good behavior – or maybe she had stooped to kiss and heal a boo-boo. Regardless, the mother most certainly would have ended the encounter by planting a simple kiss upon her pointer finger and then transplanting it on the dimple of her son’s strong chin. It would have been a gestured she performed thoughtlessly time and time again, and which she would have contributed no special significance to save for the fact that she may never be able to do it again. The boy’s bright eyes made of paper though they currently were, twinkled with a contradictory air of innocent mischief. His mouth was open and laughing in the picture scanned for the flyer and it was grainy, but did not diminish the vibrancy and the life of the adorable little boy. Someone else had done that, whoever it was that stole him from the comfort and safety from his family. That was Jane’s assumption, that someone had seen the little boy and snatched him up. It happened all the time. Monsters were real and they looked just like everyone else; it was getting harder and harder to stay safe and to stay human. Luckily for Jane, the tears pricking at the backs of her eyes as she surveyed the poster of the missing boy reminded her of her empathy and humanness. It made her sick that it came at the expense of a missing child.
“I hope they find him,” Jane’s mother said, turning away from the poster. She pushed the rattling, rusted shopping cart through the automatic sliding doors on their left.
Jane did not follow. She remained where she stood, transfixed by the misery calmly and plainly emanating from the flyer. This poor boy was missing and his family was begging, sobbing and pleading for information, for assistance. No one else stood beside Jane to wonder and grieve. Her own mother had walked inside, resuming her life as if there had been no disruption, as if everything was going according to some greater plan. Jane couldn’t stand it. It made her want to scream and tear her hair out by the roots. Where was the sense of community? Where was the fabled brotherhood of man? Wasn’t everyone all in this together?
She stood crying silently and alone.