When the Romance Gets Up and Leaves

In almost every love story, there’s a moment when the magic gets up and leaves. Suddenly, all that’s left are shopping lists, laundry, and cutting onions for yet another weeknight dinner. Last week, you were crying over the impossible beauty of his mouth, and this week, you’re crying over a chopping knife and some vegetables. You transpose your boredom onto a list of petty grievances because at least that gives your feelings an outlet. If he’d just stop leaving the milk out and start putting the lid back on the toothpaste, you’d stop feeling so fucking unhappy all the time.

I once fell out of love with a beautiful man. D was bright, creative, and honourable. He treated me as though I was as precious as starlight. Then one day our technicolour romance turned into greyscale:

Shopping lists.
Cutting onions.

Our relationship was perfect, but I felt perpetually dissatisfied.


Last month, I went on a massive hunt for a bunch of keys I’d last used two years ago. I emptied my cupboards, climbed on chairs, and reorganised my drawers. Three days of hunting later, I unlocked my back door as I did every day, and realised my lost keys had been on that key chain all along. Sometimes, the thing you’re looking for is right in front of you–like Dorothy’s shoes, the tin man’s heart, and that amazing man with the indigo eyes.

I threw D away one dissatisfaction at a time. I forgot there was a fairy tale romance right in front of me and started hunting for magic everywhere else. Ingratitude and blindness are essentially the same things, and so every morning I woke up to a fairy-tale garden and complained about the one tiny weed growing in the corner.

Can you see it? Look harder. I swear you’ll find more imperfections if you look carefully enough.

Love is not a feeling, but an action. Emotions are fleeting. If we all lived by them, nobody would have sent a rover to Mars or mapped the human gene because they would have quit the moment the thrill fizzled away.

A few weeks after I left D, I was raped. Before then, life had been comparatively easy for me, but then I found out what it was like to have nothing. That’s how I discovered my tin man’s heart. I learned how lucky I’d been to do laundry and make shopping lists with a man as precious as him.

There are no bread-and-butter moments, only treasures, but they’re right in front of us, so we rarely see them. Instead, we cut onions. We complain that the milk’s been left out. We create perpetual unhappiness, never noticing how incredibly privileged we are that it’s him who left the lid off the toothpaste. How grey would life be if a lesser man was forgetting things like that?

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