Two women, awake when they shouldn’t be but unable to sleep, start to talk to each other.
Why are relationships so important to us?, the first asks, biting her lip. She is worried, sad about something, but doesn’t say what. They shouldn’t be.
The second shrugs. God knows. We should only depend on ourselves. Then adds ruefully, I used to believe that.
The two pause in their conversation, mulling over this strange phenomenon. The second breaks the silence, asking a question that she has pondered over for years:
I often wonder why love can make and break lives. Why we spend our whole lives in a search for someone to share it with.
Her friend doesn’t answer directly at first: Good question. I didn’t ask those questions when I was your age. I think it’s good that you are.
She hesitates before saying, I spent so much of my life looking for someone to love… and someone to love me. What a waste.
The other feels a stab of warm comradeship towards the woman. Heartbreak is universal, she thinks to herself, and even at her age, she can relate. Still, she doesn’t say anything, but counters with a strange sort of defiance, almost angry although she doesn’t really know why. And why just one? Why have we picked such an impossible number anyway? The stats are off. The chances are slim to none.
She blows out, suddenly irritated, as she stares at her computer screen, waiting for a reply.
It pops up, giving her an answer she can understand but doesn’t want to accept: Yes absolutely. We are all so innately insecure. That’s why the number one, I think.
Although she knows she is, the other has always hated thinking of herself as insecure. Insecurity suggests weakness and while she has a lot of sympathy for the weak, she does not like to count herself as one of them. She types rapidly, still fuelled by that same aimless rage. I know. It frustrates me. All these man-made “rules” we have made for ourselves. We’ve set ourselves up to fail.
Her online companion sighs, suddenly tired. I’ve always had problems with the concept of karma, she returns darkly. But we’ll talk about that another day.
She parts with one last piece of advice to her younger new friend. Gypsy, I think too many things in our lives happen randomly. We need to accept that.
They say their goodbyes and Gypsy settles back in bed, running this enigmatic statement in her head, trying to figure out its meaning. The conversation has cooled the anger she had been struggling with earlier, but although calmer, she feels as confused as ever.
Rail as she might against the bad judgement of society, which gears its children towards marriage she can’t deny that she wants that too. Not marriage per se, but that one life that will share hers. She suddenly remembers a line she heard in one of the (many) TV shows she would spend endless hours watching when she wanted to avoid thinking about something important – which was often. She can’t recall the name of the show or who said it but it answered the question she’d sent out into the void of cyberspace just a few minutes earlier: Why do we spend our whole lives in a search for someone to share it with?
The answer was this: because, in the end, we needed witnesses to our lives. Someone who, when we were gone, would testify that we lived, that we mattered. That we were everything – at least to one person.
She likes that thought and hopes someday to find that witness to her a life so that she could be a witness to theirs.
No rush, though. Who knows how long that search could take, or if it will ever end in success? Still, on the way, she knows it will lead her to people and relationships that could shape, thrill, devastate, and resuscitate her. She knows her journey has already begun – it began at 17 with someone who still influences her life everyday although they are not together. Even now, 7 years in, she feels the excitement and potential energy of that search, sustaining her and pushing her forward towards the possibility of something old, but also new.
She switches off the last light in her room, pulls the sheets up around her and closes her laptop, shutting off its dull illumination of her surroundings. There, in the dark, she waits for sleep, and her search continues.