Her life was all about authenticity. She was true to herself. She practiced what she preached. It was impossible for her to lie; her face was an open book. She had to live this way or else she’d become physically ill – seriously, it had happened before. Then why did she feel like an absolute fake?
She was immersed in celebration. She was surrounded by love. There was drink and food and dancing. Arms in the air, twirling bodies wrapped in tiny strapless summer dresses or covered by dark suits with crisp shirts and pastel ties, the inevitable uncomfortable shoes. And candles – glowing, flickering from every table – what lovely light. Everything draped in white fabric – graceful, flowing. This day was about two gorgeous young people who were especially dear to her. Her eyes swept to the middle of the banquet hall. Directly in front of the dance floor they sat, their entire bodies smiled, up from their toes through their eyes all the way to the tops of their heads. She silently sent them a wish that they’d always be as happy as they were in that moment.
She was full of honor and gratitude, for this newly married couple were the first people to ask her to write – to write for their wedding. They had surprised her by enlarging the love poem and placing it in a dark wooden frame. When she’d arrived at the reception she encountered it in the entry way – displayed for all the guests to see. She’d expelled a whoop of excitement and done a little dance when it caught her eye. She was thrilled.
“See,” she said inside her head, “this is indeed a day of joy. What’s this fake feeling about?” She shook her head, smiled and muttered crazy artist under her breath. She smiled again - at herself and at the couples – mostly young, but some not so young – as they filled the dance floor. The song was slow and as it moved along they became more and more intertwined. Just like in her poem. Suddenly she knew. If she were alone she would bonk herself on the forehead. It was the poem – clearly – and it was out for the world to see. The problem was not that she has ripped open her chest down to her soul and exposed her heart to the open air. She did that all the time; she walked around this world with her heart wide open. It was that, in that poem, she declared what love is. She, the poetess on high, had proclaimed what love is and shall always be, forever more. Now she felt like as ass. And a big, fat faker! She should have put an asterisk at the end of the poem with a tiny disclaimer.
*This is what I really, really, really hope love is, however; I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about.
The few times she’d loved like that, the man involved was all in – for a while – and then suddenly, without explanation – stopped loving her. She wanted to believe (and most days she could manage that) that she simply hadn’t found her equal yet. That the different, upturned, better, brighter was out there for her. (Wherever there is. Maybe she should invest in a gps device ) But – and here’s the fake part – sometimes, when she was in her little bungalow, late at night, she sat in the dark and worried that there was something dreadfully wrong with her. Why else would they have stopped loving her? And why couldn’t they tell her why? She smiled again, not bitterly, (she gave up being bitter many years ago) looked at the swirling couples and longed – just a little. Yes, it is out there for her. Somewhere. She refuses to give up. Damn it, her poem is right, it is rare, but she will not settle for anything less. She smiles once more, this time in hopefulness, and comes out of her reflective fog.
Her twenty-something friends, her table mates, who are now ready to bust a move return. The slow dancing was over for now. Two of them grabbed her by the hands and tugged until she agreed to join them on the dance floor. She slowly shook her head one last time as they drug her out to play with them. She’s no fake – she was completely certain that the poet inside her knew exactly what she was talking about. She only had to keep her heart open and she’d stumble across there, somewhere, whatever you wanna call it. Right then, it was time to dance with her friends who loved her, no matter what – even if there was something dreadfully wrong with her - which she never really believed anyway.