Somewhere, along the line, I became a romantic.
Perhaps I was born that way. Or perhaps it began as a little girl, where I did want to find my Prince Charming, my Aladdin, my Tramp. I’d curl up and watch those childhood films and I’d feel certain that it was the real deal. I didn’t take much more from Disney than the love stories.
And it’s always been that way. I’ve read countless books, perhaps ones I shouldn’t have as a child, where people would fall in love and you’d read the last sentence, close the book and lie back and imagine a story with you in it.
I used to draw pictures as a child. A girl, me. And a shockingly handsome boy – at least as handsome as wax crayons, a five year-old’s hand and steely concentration could muster. Maybe he’d be a prince, or a post man, or a footballer.
Barbie and Ken would regularly act out proposals and weddings – so much so that they must have tied the knot at least a few times a week – in ill-fitting tuxedos and wedding dresses that would never quite have the velcro fastening quite matched up.
I remember going through high school and falling for so many teenage boys, that my hands would be constantly adorned with ‘CT hearts ENTER INITIALS HERE’. I was shy. And my ‘love’ was usually unrequited. But I was happy enough to enjoy the daydreams, not knowing heartbreak.
I would say that I’ve been in love three times.
My first love was my first ‘proper’ boyfriend. The sort of love where you realise that you don’t want a life without it, even those it’s nothing compared to what comes next.
Once upon a time, love bore me a son. But it wasn’t the kind of love that, deep-down, I knew I was looking for.
I wanted a fairytale.
I wanted to finish each other’s sentences. I wanted to look into eyes and see secrets behind the pupils. I wanted to find my better half (a phrase I love and loathe equally). I wanted to find someone who would send me songs that reminded him of me. I wanted to be with someone who could make me laugh so hard that I’d be dizzy with breathlessness.
And four months ago, I stepped unknowingly back into that world. The world where I’d have to search for him. I felt stripped. And bare. And my chances were dashed. Because I wasn’t entering this ring the fighter I once was. I had no special moves. I was no heavyweight champion when it came to love anymore. One punch and I’d be out like a light. I was too frightened to fight for what I believed in anymore.
And call it fate, call it happenstance, call it science, call it chemistry, call it human nature, but he was right there.
And I’m still very frightened. Because when you find what you’ve always dreamed of. When people had laughed off your ridiculous obsession with love. You don’t want to lose it.
And I can still remember those childhood drawings. Wonky smiles. Two long twirls either side of the head for hair. Stick fingers. Smudges. Mistakes. A prince. A postman. A footballer.