I have a confession to make that seems quite timely this close to Valentine’s Day; I’m addicted to romance.
I’m not talking about red roses and cheap boxes of drugstore chocolates, or last minute gas-station cards filled with recycled sentiments and the stale smell of dust and car grease. I mean the romance that breaks your heart when you notice it, as you catch the sun hiding behind a cloud. Or the kind that causes you to weep tears of joy as you watch young lovers proclaim their mutual enthusiasm for each other. The predictable romance that’s existed for years as my husband leaving my vitamin out for me in the morning. Or the one that makes sure we kiss each other goodnight, every night we are sharing the same bed.
My favourite kind of romance isn’t solely attached to being in love. Some days it appears in a shared moment of admiration with a stranger traveling the opposite direction during rush hour. In certain hours under a bourbon haze, nothing feels more romantic than a dirty rendezvous behind a parked car in a darkened alleyway. Sometimes snow or rain falls from the sky, or the sun hits your face in such a way that can only be described as, you guessed it, romantic. My favourite kind of romance can be found in the saddest moments, or in the ones that you might never notice if you’re not one to stop and smell the flowers. My soul fills with, what feels like, a million emotions when I simply look out of the window before bed to say goodnight to the world. My favourite kind of romance often appears to have nothing to do with the heart at all, though it is always behind the scenes providing a steady, continuous, beating soundtrack. My favourite kind of romance looks at mystery and excitement, searching to find more than what is currently in my vision.
There certainly isn’t anything wrong with what’s in my daily vision. There are many days and nights when I would rather be nowhere else than in the places I know well, with the people I love and/or want to kiss. Keeping things simple. Keeping things grounded. Keeping things predictable. My life growing up brought me across the ocean, and then across the country, and then across the province; I’ve had more than my fair share of exploration thrust upon me, and see no failure in having chosen domestic life for the past ten years of home ownership, instead of traveling across foreign lands on a romantic trip to “find myself”.
Because even in everyday familiarity, I am always searching for the nooks and crannies between the lines, as it is between the lines that I have found myself time and time again. I want to crawl inside these spaces and give them the recognition and attention that they so rightly deserve. I want to pull them out of the shadows, and let people know that it’s ok to let others see past their presentations. Life exists between the lines. Reality exists between the lines.
Romance exists between the lines.
But also, if you look a little further, romance can be found almost everywhere else in front of our faces, in every moment. It’s this realization that has me constantly searching for it, craving whatever emotions are going to hit me next, even if there is a 50/50 chance that I could feel either unbelievable happiness or unbearable sadness in an instant.
The romantic in me can handle it. She craves the feeling of connection, of meaning, of knowing that occasionally things mean more than everybody says they do. She dies a little emotional death when you notice something about her that she didn’t have to share with you herself. When she hears about the things that make your eyes sparkle and your heart sing, or shares in your woes and summertime sadness, it doesn’t matter if you are to ever lie in a bed with her or not, or if platonic is the word you’d both use to describe your relationship. She craves that honesty, that intimacy, and those moments – even if they are fleeting and never to come again – for those moments are what make her clock keep ticking.
Her heart skips a beat when simple song lyrics make you think of her face, her eyes, or her entire way of being. When it’s obvious that she is your muse, nothing matters more than offering you every last drop of inspiration she can possibly muster. Her soul will always be a little restless when it’s not adventuring and risking everything based on a feeling. Because the romantic in me, while simultaneously being led by Vulcan-like logic and a devil’s advocate’s sense of realism, will still always hold feelings in the highest regard. The only difference now, as I head into my mid 30’s, is that I know when to give into my moments of fancy, and when practicality must temporarily rule.
Yet still, underneath any and all semblances of order and logic, there will always be a sparkle that will find its way out, a romantic undercurrent to everything I do. There will always be the girl who looks past the surface of anything you show me, because it’s potential hidden motivations that I’m the most curious about, and even if they don’t exist, I will always have to check to make sure.
I can’t imagine what my life would be like if my heart was in one solid piece. I can easily wish for less tragedy in my past and certainly minimal tragedy in my future, but my emotional journey is the reason I am who I am. And so, it is with a happy, yet bandaged heart that I proudly proclaim my addiction to romance, whether it’s happy or sad, long-lasting or temporary, mysterious or crystal-clear.
If you need me, I’ll be the girl cozied up between the lines, listening to this, and feeling absolutely everything.