Warning: I try not to write about anything too personal here, but this is going to be more personal than most. I really hope that I don’t come off sounding like a moody drama queen, but it may be unavoidable.
A couple of years ago, I read a wonderful book by Lisa Tucker called The Song Reader. It’s about a woman who analyzes what’s going on in people’s lives based on the songs they listen to or that have been stuck in their heads, especially specific lines that stick out for them. Sometimes a song is a manifestation of your subconscious.
I won’t say too much more about the book, but it’s amazing how true it is. On my coworker’s last day of work, she said she had “Goodbye to You” by Michelle Branch, a song she doesn’t even like, stuck in her head. When I was going through a difficult time awhile ago, the song I kept listening to on repeat was Beth Hart’s “Leave the Light On,” which might have been my way of telling myself not to give up.
And then there’s the song that’s been stuck in my head lately: “The Story” by Brandi Carlile. And this is the line I can’t get rid of: “But these stories don’t mean anything if you’ve got no one to tell them to.”
In the context of the song, it’s a happy line—the next one is “It’s true, I was made for you.” But my subconscious never gets there.
Here’s a story I wish I had someone to tell. Last Friday, after getting out of work early for a summer Friday, I didn’t know what to do. Then I thought, why don’t I go walk along the beach in South Boston? I’ve never been there, and it might be a cool place to explore. So, by myself, I took the bus, and to get to the beach, I had to walk across a field. On the other side of the field was a man with a dog, which he had taken off the leash. It was a fairly small dog, and I’m not sure what kind—probably mixed breed. But anyway, the dog saw me walking across the field, ran over to me, jumped on me, and slightly bit me. (Before you worry, it was a superficial wound, and I’ve since gone to the doctor, gotten a tetanus shot, and put on a rabies vaccine, so I’m fine.) The dog’s owner was apologizing and saying that the dog never does this. I was too in shock to ask for the owner’s name and phone number, which I probably should have done.
But then, when I did get over the shock, I just thought, No one is here. I just got bitten by a dog, and no one is here.
This happened after a few weeks of me feeling increasingly lonely. There are times when it hits me that I’ve been single my entire life, and this is one of those times. I mean, forget having someone to grow old with, have kids with, celebrate Valentine’s Day with, split the cost of a one-bedroom apartment with (seriously, I found myself wanting to be in a relationship for that specific reason while I was looking for a new apartment), etc. Sometimes, I just want to be in a relationship for the companionship. It would be really nice to have someone to whom I mattered enough that I could just call him and say, “Hey! Some random dog just bit me!” Or someone who would make the time to go to the beach with me. Or, for that matter, go to Restaurant Week or a bar I’ve been meaning to try or the BC-Notre Dame game with me. And someone whom I’d accompany to whatever he wanted to do, and whom I’d listen to if he called me after getting bitten by a dog. Someone who would always be there for me, whether I want to go out and do something fun or stay in and watch Friends reruns, whether I want to share a funny story or vent about the annoying people on the T.
It’s not that I don’t have friends—I do—but they all have their own lives, and I can’t bother them with all the good and bad things going on with me. I think one problem I have, and one that I’ve struggled with in the past, is that I don’t feel that I’m necessary in many people’s lives. I mean, there are certainly people who like me, but not too many who would notice my absence and say, “Wow, too bad Katie’s not here!” And when you’re in your twenties, so many people’s lives are in flux—people are moving away, changing jobs, going back to school—that it’s nice to have a constant presence in your life, someone you can depend on to care about you. I really just want someone who makes me feel necessary—not in a needy, codependent way, and not in a cheesy, Jerry Maguire, “You complete me,” way, but in a way that makes me feel confident that he’ll always enjoy my company, always listen to what I have to say, and know that I’ll always feel the same way about him.
Like I said, I don’t want to come off sounding whiny and dramatic, because realistically, I don’t think I’m doomed to a lifetime of singlehood. I’m only twenty-four, and plenty of people my age are still single. And it’s not like I hate being alone—I’ve always been good at enjoying the pleasure of my own company. But there was something I saw on the T last week that made me pause: a girl and a guy who I think were BU students and who were cute in the way of couples who are friends as well as romantic partners. They were affectionate, but not in a really obvious, disgusting way, and they were having a good time making fun of each other as they talked. At one point, the guy started telling the girl something, and she said, “I’m sorry—but you’ve already told me this story about ten times, and it’s not that interesting.” Then they both laughed, and kissed a little bit. I loved that they were comfortable enough with each other that they could say that.
That’s what I want. At the end of the day, I think that’s what most of us want—someone whom we can tell our stories to. Even if he’s already heard them ten times and they’re not that interesting.