When You Discover You’re Not Each Other’s Person


So you’re not your person’s person. The weight of the world presses in around you so hard you want to scream. Every person’s person is their person, or something like that, you think to yourself in a blind haze of pain as you creep around in a bathrobe wondering, why me?

Your mind will float back over the magical time when it all began.
This will feel like a punishment for something you didn’t do, but it will happen anyway. The first flurry of butterflies in your stomach, a tremble of panic when you didn’t know what to say. Is there something on your face? Does your hair look okay? Astonishingly to you, your date doesn’t care about any of this, and the two of you float off into a blissful romance you thought only existed in retellings about Roman Gods.

You two seem perfectly matched. Flaws are accepted and scuffles are quickly patched. You agree on everything, and slowly, or maybe quickly, you get comfortable. You don’t even look at them as your other half, but a person, your person. They have become your person and you believe you are theirs because if you weren’t, why would you be spending two hours getting ready for a date if you weren’t so inspired to do so by the right person?

But it isn’t right, and you learn this when they leave. You fell it fully when you miss their goodbye speech; you can’t hear it over the sound of your own heart pounding in your ears and the feeling of your voice catching in your throat. You catch bits of it.

“Not you…Isn’t working…Goodbye.”

Willing yourself not to cry, maybe you nod. Either way, you convince yourself in that moment they would see they were wrong. Now, however, as the weeks have passed, you have accepted they were your person, and you were not there’s. You have wondered either out with friends, or sitting alone on the floor of your room what the point of human emotion is if it is only to end in pain. Pain has made you a philosopher. So has whiskey. You decide never to do it again.

But, like everybody else, you do. We all do. Naturally, skepticism has curled around your heart like an armadillo hide, and you convince yourself it is just for fun. You relish having somebody in your life like this, but you don’t believe either of you belong to the other; that idea has faded.

Then one horrible night you will have an emergency. You will not think about your heart or the pain as you call them instinctively. The armadillo hide around your feelings will recoil as they appear. The relief you feel may be surprising, and you will wrap yourself in it, and this person. They will become your new protection.

After the chaos ends, reflection will set in and you will remember the person before. No, you were not their person, but they were not yours either. That was frivolous, careless. This person sitting across from you at the breakfast table, helping you pay bills, feeding the dog while you take out the trash, telling you how nice you look before you’ve brushed your hair, is actually your person. This is what a person does, and who a person is.