Okay, I admit it, I am a romantic at heart. Wrapped up in this brash obnoxiously cranky exterior I am a romantic. But equally enough, as much as I am a romantic, Iím a cynic, what a perfectly dreadful combination. This is where I found myself at the end of the year in 1999, utterly alone, with feelings of regret but those of justified correctness in my life. I was working at the town paper, as one of their local beat news reporters. The pay was okay, and the work totally thankless, but seeing my name in print made it all worth while.
I was living in a two bedroom house with my best friend Shannon. Things were tough but I could get through them. After all, I came from a long line of survivors, and I canít help but admit that most of the survivors were from broken homes. Where I got this idea of a romantic love who knows. My parents had been broken up for years, and my momís parents had quite a destain for one another after their bitter break up. As for my fatherís parents, they fought like two hamsters stuck in the same cage.
My cynical side would tell my romantic sensibilities that there was no such thing as a perfect love. My romantic side was telling the cynical side to shut up and take a chance. While the two were squabbling I found myself at age 28, wondering when the proverbial ship would come in, or when I would get struck by Cupidís damn little arrow. Even though my family found it hard to stay together, they also had destain for people who didnít go out in the world and procreate. In other words, if you arenít married, and donít have any kids, you are no good to anyone, no matter how much schooling you get, or what you accomplish. My mother was making it widely known that she was disappointed because her only child had not given her any grandchildren. I told her to adopt some but that didnít go over too well.
So there I was stuck in a so called rut, but I didnít know that is what it was at the time. Shannon had just broken up with Bill, a fine upstanding individual who I would have liked, if he hadnít cheated on Shannon while he was in a drunken stupor. My cynical nature was taking a hold of that one, while the romantic side for once agreed. I had known Shannon since we were going to the same babysitter while our moms were at work, which was a long time, I knew she wouldnít put up with Billís shit for very much longer, and she didnít, but I decided to keep my big mouth shut around her on the subject because she was very touchy about it.
I, on the other hand wasnít dating anyone. Oh I was seeing my ex-boyfriend Ned occasionally, but that was for the sheer purpose of feeding each otherís primal needs, in lamemenís terms, a jump and tumble. Those brief engagements were about as romantic as jello. It may jiggle a little when itís bumped, but you still need to add fruit to make it exciting. Ned was a nice enough guy, took me out to the theater, dancing, went to see plenty of movies, hell we even went on a cruise together. But you see Neddy had some problems. No no, he never drank, or hit me or anything, he had a commitment problem. Oh he was committed, but to his job, he was a corporate lawyer working his way up the ladder. The guy was married to his job. He took me to one of his posh dinner partyís at a partnerís house. I smiled so much that I thought my teeth would fall out of my mouth. I soon realized that Ned and I were not cut from the same sort of stuff.
So I was single, for the most part, and Shannon wouldnít let up on me. Her idea of provoking me into a date was to call my mom and have her do the dirty work, and my mom was everything including thrilled at the merest prospect of an engagement. I got even with Shannon though. I told her mom about Bill, letís just say Shannon wasnít pestering me for at least a week.
So again, this is where I was at the end of 1999, single, with a frustrating job, and a friend who thought it was funny to have me lectured about grandchildren. My life was less than perfect, but like Pandora, I still had hope, what little glimmer that was.