"he's a perfectly good boyfriend," cath would say.
"he's an end table," wren would answer.
"he's always there for me."
"... to set magazines on" (p. 35).
i just got out of a relationship with a dude who'd proven to be quite the dick. worse than a coffee table. he was more like the cockroach droppings hiding underneath the coffee table. and i'm really conflicted about having dated such a douchebag. on the one hand, i was kind enough to give a guy the benefit of the doubt; on the other, i'd opened myself up to some truly scathing remarks and given much more than i should have to someone who was so clearly undeserving of the good. and i can't stress enough how important it is to cut ties when those ties could potentially, figuratively (or literally, depending on the douchebag), strangle you. if you find yourself entangled with someone who claims to love you but can't fathom the true concept of love, i urge you to find enough courage and strength in yourself to love you enough to get out of that relationship. there are people who can help if you need it. there are places to go. get rid of the coffee table. find yourself a cozy blanket instead.
"i don't want to go out with jell-o instant pudding," georgie said.
"i would marry jell-o instant pudding."
georgie rolled her eyes. "i want to go out with mikey."
"i thought you wanted to go out with jay anselmo."
"jay anselmo is mikey," georgie explained. "he's the guy in the life cereal commercial who hates everything. if mikey likes you, you know you're good. if mikey likes you, it means something" (p. 136).
so i am forty-two years old. there's a quote i like from the film miss pettigrew lives for a day (and i know, i'm mixing my media, but the sentiment works really well with what i've got to say next). i am not an expert on love. i am an expert on the lack of love, and that is a fate from which i wish more fervently to save you. i didn't go on my first date until i was twenty-three. i didn't fall in love until i was twenty-eight. no relationship of mine has lasted longer than a year. and i've dated men in whom i've had little interest because i'd told myself that my oh-so-romantic heart, starving for attention and affection, needed to wake up and realize that love doesn't work quite like in the stories i've seen and read. and so i settle. i make myself try to make something work when i have no interest in the thing, when my gut's telling me not to give up on myself so easily because i can do better, i deserve better. i tell myself to settle when i'd rather go out with mikey.
and then i remember that those stories i've read and seen... i have seen honest examples of them... in my parents', family's and friends' stories. and those are golden.
so yeah. i'm sitting here alone at baker's street, in a booth designed to seat four comfortably. and i'm loving the sounds of all the camaraderie around me. and i've friends, newly married, who will meet me here shortly for drinks. and i'll be the awkward, odd chick sitting by herself. i'll be the third wheel. and yeah, sometimes that sucks.
but so does dating jello pudding.
eleanor and park
when eleanor was a little girl, she'd thought her mom looked like a queen... all her bones seemed more purposeful than other people's. like they weren't just there to hold her up; they were there to make a point...
eleanor looked a lot like her.
but not enough.
eleanor looked like her mother through a fish tank. rounder and softer. slurred. where her mother was statuesque, eleanor was heavy. where her mother was finely drawn, eleanor was smudged (p. 18).
that must be eleanor's mom, park thought, she looked just like her. but sharper and with more shadows. like eleanor, but taller. like eleanor, but tired. like eleanor, after the fall (p. 188).
people always say i look like my mother. i don't see it. my mother was the band queen in high school. she was in a sorority in college. and her face is always, always smiling, her eyes so wide and curious. i wasn't anything in high school. in college, when i'd told girls in the same sorority as my mother that she was in that same one, they'd said things like, "your mother," like there's no way that could possibly be. and my face is always serious, my eyes slits of skepticism and self-defense. maybe if i opened them a little more...