Love is an interesting concept. I’m not sure I quiet grasp it – especially romantic love. All of a sudden, we stop being a “me” and we start being a “we.” What’s one is the other’s. Thoughts and feelings and decisions and plans start becoming a topic of discussion rather than a choice you just make. Love is about union. About sharing. About belonging to one another. But is it ever really possibly to posses another person? Little chalky candy hearts proclaim it is – “BE MINE!” they shout as loud as any candy has ever shouted. “Be Mine” is the theme of the holiday, and the theme of our stories.
Dollar store chocolates. On sale dollar store chocolates. We put on a movie.
“Raspberry. Eww. Do you want it?”
“No. Want my coconut?”
“I guess. What’s this one?” She points at a dark round one.
“I don’t know, I haven’t tried it yet.” I take a bite. “It’s gross too.”
“If I ever get a boyfriend, he’s going to buy me expensive chocolates. And teddy bears. I want roses, too. He’s going to be so romantic.”
“Okay.” She has this idealized version of a man that doesn’t exist. She always spouts off this long fictional list of what her one-day, long-awaited boyfriend will have.
He’ll be emo.
He’ll be rich.
He’ll hate his parents, like she does.
He’ll give creamy kisses.
He’ll want to marry her right away.
He’ll take care of her.
He’ll be a little nutty.
He’ll teach her how to drive.
He’ll wear eyeliner.
He’ll listen to Green Day.
No, now he’ll listen to Fall Out Boy.
He’ll be sweet.
He’ll be romantic.
He’ll take charge.
He’ll be dark.
He’ll always text her back.
He’ll visit her at work with surprise lunches.
He’ll get her flowers to brighten her day.
He’ll pick her up from school when she gets out of class early and won’t make her wait.
He’ll want 2.5 kids.
He’ll worship capitalism.
He’ll be milky and smooth.
He’ll spoil her.
He’ll love her.
He’ll understand her every need.
He’ll be a little crunchy.
He’ll melt in her hand.
He’ll watch all of her reality T.V. shows.
He’ll tell her she’s perfect.
She wants all of these things in one person. She is unforgiving. She is unrelenting. She insists he will be hers. This mythical creature is both beautiful and horrible. No man can live up to this image. But what do I know? Whenever I doubt her monstrosity of man, this is the question I’m greeted with.
Her list grows every year. She’s 20. She’s my sister. Right now she doesn’t have him, she only has me. So we get dollar store chocolates and we watch movies and I listen and I don’t agree. I just nod my head and try another chocolate.
“This one is toffee. It’s crunchy. It’s good.”
– Amanda Riggle
She kneaded my abdomen. “How long have you been experiencing pain?” I was clay.
“A few weeks.”
She peeled off her gloves like fruit rinds, all elbows and moles.
“How often? After meals? After exercising?”
“Most mornings. I usually feel nauseous riding the bus to campus.”
Her face changed, as if she recognized the word in Hangman, gaps in its teeth. “Is there a possibility you’re pregnant?”
The exam room leaped to life, pulsing and yellow. “That I’m what?” But I didn’t want her to say it again. “No.”
“Are you sexually active?”
“Well, yes.” My heart sprinted. “But we practice safe sex.” Dirty and safe.
“Let’s do a pregnancy test. I’ll put in a lab order.” She sat in front of the computer.
I was levitating, suspended in midair.