When I was a kid, I had my ideas about love. Ideas - or rather fantasies - that I lazily borrowed from novels, the movie Titanic, and from friends' recollections of their own hormone-induced roller-coaster called puberty. And while my asexuality was often joked about in high school, the truth is that I already had a blueprint buried deep in my mind of the person that I hoped for.
As I got older, some of the fantasies actually came to fruition. All of a sudden, I was dating the guy who remembered what I was wearing the moment he first saw me. I was with the guy who made me the muse for his poetry. Who sent me a mailbox filled with 100 incredibly specific reasons for why he loved me. Who drove hours on a Sunday just to surprise me for an afternoon before heading back to school. Who held my face when he kissed me. Who loved to love me and let me know it.
I loved these blueprint boys. I did. But in retrospect, I think I fell deeper in love with the ideas of love than with the person themselves.
My Dad had this thing that he used to say: "I love the shit out of you."
That's it. My Dad was not what you would call a romantic and he was by no means a man of many words. But that's just the thing - he didn't need to have any more than that. He wasn't the kind of person who would hold your hand and give you constant reassurance that he loved you. You just knew that he did. Unconditionally. And so when he said that he loved the shit out of you, he meant it, and that was that.
A couple of years ago, when I was fresh from a split with one of those tragically poetic blueprint boys, I had a daydream. I was driving by myself on my commute to work, which is a common occurrence since LA is notorious for having a parking lot for a freeway and a ghost town for a carpool lane. While some people find this reality lonely, I find it relaxing and therapeutic. But for some reason, on this day, as I was driving, I looked over to the seat next to me and began to imagine someone in it.
This someone and I weren't cutely holding hands as I drove. We weren't all dressed up with somewhere to go. Hell, we weren't even talking. We were just there, together.
I'd look over and he'd be laughing to himself - probably at a stupid joke that he made in his head and was irrationally proud of but too tired to share. He'd glance over at me from time to time to check in - mostly to see if I'm still in the right lane, since we both know that I'm an atrocious driver. Not a sound would be heard aside from the steady hum of tires, but we would trust in the silence and let it wash over us, because having him there was like having a slice of home riding shotgun.
And that's when my blueprint shifted. All of a sudden, I didn't care about the boy who could write ballads in my honor and spin words like the second-coming of Nicholas Sparks. I didn't want a movie; I just wanted this someone to share this drive with me. Simple. And it wouldn't matter if we were going around the block to shamelessly pick up Taco Bell or driving across the country; I would know that, wherever we were headed, it would be an adventure.
This daydream was a game-changer for me and this someone - this Passenger - became my new hope for love. I'd be lying if I said I haven't tried to put a face to him. I have, countless times, but only one has ever seemed to come close. Close, but not close enough...
So here I am, years later, still tackling the ol' commute alone. But, for some reason, I don't feel anxious about this. I don't feel as if my self-imposed timeline is caving in on me. I don't feel lonely. I feel at peace. I feel at peace because I know that I have something to look forward to and I cannot wait for the day where I will look over to that seat and finally see that Passenger there.
And I will know, without saying a word, that he loves the shit out of me.