A Separate Life

I was reading something last night when a short story popped into my head. The memory--and the story--came out of nowhere, like remembering something I didn't know I've forgotten. The story itself was like a long soliloquy. One man, at the beginning of fall, ruminating about the crowd that has fled the summer haven in New York to go back to their respective, somewhat dreary lives. He observes a couple who lives on the beach, the same way he has observed them for years. A little bit far and distant, but longing, sometimes plotting, to be part of their lives.

One rainy night, he decided he needed some spice, something he didn't have so he'd be forced to ask them, strike a conversation and, perhaps, get invited inside--it was raining hard, after all. He had imagined what the inside of their house looked like, how the conversation would go; perhaps some drinks and an introduction, but nevertheless a gateway, into the life of the couple that, for so long, he had admired.

But all he got was a spice. He knocked, the door opened, he was given what he had asked for, and they had said good night.

It was one of those stories that lingered with me for awhile, because I wanted to be one-half of the couple. That's what I aspire for in a relationship, a kind of contentment and happiness that's derived and shared with each other. Not a showy kind of love or one that needs validation from others. I want the quietness of their life, planning each day together, going through the routines of any given day, walking their dog to the beach, preparing dinner and sitting together by the firelight. And then for several weeks the beach house would be close and no one would know where they are. They would, one day, simply appear on the beach again, walking their dog on a late September afternoon, oblivious to the world, but not to each other.

Maybe I was reminded of that story, because for the past weeks I've had a few curious people peeking into my love life. One had asked me to write and email everything that happened last month--not so much about the places I've been to, but the details of my relationship. I'm addicted, a friend said, take me inside your love. This was after I've uploaded the few pictures of my vacation and I got a message in all caps that said: you two look so cute together, with as many exclamation points as a Facebook message can have.

I simply said, thank you. I know not everyone saw it that way. And true enough, I learned, circuitously, that another had said quite the opposite--that we don't look good together. I laughed it off as well.

People will always have an opinion about things. Whether it's politics, religion, football, love, RH bill, same-sex marriage or relationships. I've learned to censor what I can or cannot say to the world wide web, even what I can or cannot share to friends and acquaintances. I consider some things private and personal. More so, the fragile and precious things. I fear what the world can and will do with it. You have something beautiful and the world breaks it.

I like having and building a separate life with someone, far from the maddening crowd. One that can escape the noise and rush of modern life and simply slip quietly and contentedly into each other's arms.


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