My Enemy

I used to tell a sad story about my love life. I was a kind of tragic hero, who sought love, who knew its value, but who was doomed by the uncaring hand fate to be denied its enduring company. Case in point: When I was seventeen I saw a girl in a play and thought, “She’s the one.” And she was. I knew this from our first date. Six months later her family moved 3,000 miles away, and she was gone, Seattle as distant as the afterlife if you’re a teenager living in Providence. For seven years I told the sad tragic story of love and fate. I had been telling it casually before, but I told it now in earnest, for life had revealed herself to me. She giveth and taketh without regard. Let the dust called humans blow about in the desert; they’re all headed to the same grave anyhow.

Until Jen and I found ourselves together again. Until I moved across the country and called her, and I was single and she was single, and wasn’t it strange that just a week before I called she had told her best friend, “I think I should date someone like this guy Bill Kenower I used to know.” Yes, how strange. And wasn’t it strange how we both agreed that it was best we had been apart seven years. Wasn’t it strange that we needed to date other people and do other things apart from one another, and wasn’t it stranger still how ready we were to be together when I made that call.

To call our time apart and eventual reuniting chance is to lose the gift that story offered me. To call life tragic, unkind, unfair and indifferent even as it arranged itself for me. I had no other words for what I was seeing. I was a character in a story, and the author loved me and sought the best for me for I was her hero, but I wanted her to hurry up and get to the end already, which she most compassionately would not.

I remain in that same story even now. I still find my author’s pacing irritatingly slow, find her obstacles and antagonists uncalled for, and yet have come to love her endings, where Time, my greatest enemy, collapses into the moment and becomes my friend again.


Write Within Yourself: An Author's Companion. "A book to keep nearby whenever your writer's spirit needs feeding." Deb Caletti.

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