by Leah S. Casta�eda
One of the most recently released movies that have perhaps hit home(cringe!), so to speak, is the low-budget "Dream for an Insomniac" starring Ione Skye and Jennifer Aniston. The lead actor used to be a child star but unfortunately, the movies which catapulted him to fame have already slipped my mind. Try to rent a copy of this movie not because of the talent of those who starred in it but because of the dialogue. One of those lines which bore a hole in my heart was, and I quote (not verbatim, though):
"I don't want to be sixty years old and married to my second-best choice, wondering what ever happened to the one who got away." This is just one of the two great lines in that movie. I'll tell you what the other one is later. Meantime, let me concentrate on this line - the line that sends chills down your spine once you decide to spend more than five seconds thinking about it.
Have you ever wondered what it must feel like married to the one you settled on? This truly gives me great feelings of anxiety. It might be difficult to accept the word "settle" because it conjures up images of quasi-happiness and half-hearted glee. Yes, there is some sort of satisfaction and perhaps, some feeling of security that can be derived from such a partnership but I wonder, could there be anything more? To settle is to ultimately accept what is within reach, what is available, what is there. To settle is to convince one's self that the decision about to be made is inevitable, realistic, and safe. To settle is to risk not ever being truly happy because one decides to adopt the worst type of bahala na attitude on life's greatest challenges. And settling is a sorry consequence of the passage of time. Yes, time can be the balm that soothes open, painful wounds in one's heart but it can also be that dark force that manipulates one's mind into thinking and believing that the choice one has made is the best choice... the only choice. What time does, and I'm sure you'll agree, is it lodges one's mind and heart in a cage with the door partly open -- with the promise of a better life losing its appeal over the reality of the present, the convenient, and the routine. Time also pressures one into selecting a suitor or spouse because 'wala nang iba' and 'nagmamadali na ako' and there, 'puwede na rin.'
The wickedness of "settling" is not one way. It also eventually hurts the one who was chosen because in all respects, the truth will surface. You no doubt realize that you just wasted each other's time and emotions. But then again, if your spouse chose you not because he or she "settled," then forget about the win-win situation you were gunning for. Frankie (Ione Skye) delivered that line when she was deciding whether or not to do everything possible to win David Shrader's heart. David happened to be involved with someone else. He was attracted to Frankie but didn't really think it wise to split up with his girlfriend of three years on a limb. Very much unlike you and me, Frankie is very atypical of the Rules Girl. She went for David, bared her soul, and tried to convince him that he will only be happy with her. She then gave him the other great line in the movie to make him leave his girlfriend for her. Anything less than mad, passionate love is a waste of my time.
In the end, David left his girlfriend for Frankie and they lived happily ever after. Wow. Many times, in my not too colorful past, I almost gave in to the urge to tell the boy I liked what I felt for him. In all those times, I opted otherwise for fear of my mother's wrath and, of course, embarrassment in case of rejection. I am scared of losing my precious dignity and pride in case he tells me that he only sees me as a friend. I'm sure you got through these exercises in your psyche too. Sometimes, our hearts win out over our brains when our certainty over the outcome is great. I try to espouse The Rules and very rarely make the first move. More often than not, I wait for the guy to call. Now you know that I'm one of those who walk the avenues of life on a sidewalk -- never off it.
Now, I'm starting to believe otherwise. I see the beauty in sharing your feelings with the one you love - not because you expect something in return but because life cannot be lived otherwise. It is a great, big step for an otherwise conservative, 'torpe' girl like you and me but if you think about it, it's the only way to go.
Richard Paul Evans' bestseller after The Christmas Box -- The Locket --tells us the story of a woman who fell in love with a soldier when they were both very young. They shared their feelings with each other and were very happy. Eventually, he went off to war and she married somebody else, thinking he wouldn't return to her. Years passed and they lived their separate lives -- he married and had a family while the woman's husband and son eventually succumbed to illnesses and died. She decided to wait for her soldier's wife to die before she came back to him -- because she didn't think it was right to complicate his life. The wait took more than sixty years until she eventually found the announcement of his wife's death in the obituary. By this time, the woman was already 80 and could barely walk. Sadly, by the time she managed to find her soldier to tell him she loved him, he was already senile. The woman eventually died a few days after seeing her soldier and perhaps going throught the most heart-wrenching experience in her life. She was too late. The morals of the stories I have mentioned above are similar and almost connected to each other. Perhaps another book theme that we can tie into these is that line from The Bridges of Madison County -- "This kind of certainty comes but once ina lifetime."
I am of the belief that each person is given the chance to find his one true love as he goes about his life. Sometimes, the opportunity is not too obvious, especially for those who are content with their situation and therefore are not seeking "greener pastures." These times, the chance is often passed up. The luckier ones are those who are probably more clear-minded and in touch with their emotions because they can easily recognize what is staring them in the face. Whether this chance is passed up or not, I know that the feeling one gets when this chance is still within reach is one of certainty. Yes, it is also accompanied with feelings of danger, of risk, and of possible pain but compensating for this is that inexplicable "sureness," that sense of profound happiness that has never been derived anywhere else but from that one person who just happened to pass by in your tidy little life.
I've written in this space an article on The Rules and the benefits that can be reaped from patterning one's life after its teachings. I've been successful in convincing the people around me to use The Rules to theiradvantage. I know of some women who swear by The Rules because they married their man. Now I'm saying that there should be an escape clause somewhere for your own good.
Follow The Rules in your daily life but have the wisdom and the humility to recognize a gift from the heavens when it is given to you. I call true love a gift because of its rarity. It does not happen everyday. If you pass it up the first time, try not to be too arrogant to look away when it comes by the second time. You may ask me "how will I know if this is my true love?" My answer to that is this: true love is that strong, awesome feeling that scares the hell out of your but always makes you unbearably happy. It doesn't go away, no matter how much you will it to. More than anything else, you'll know in your heart when you meet him that he is the one. He doesn't become the one the same way that soulmates do not become soulmates later in life. With him, you are damn certain that you are not settling. With him, you know that you will be sixty years old and never wondering about the one that got away because he never did.
He's right there holding your hand.