To Heck & Back Again!

“Never mind, I’ll find someone like you. I wish nothing but the best for you.”


Disclaimer: The following story is fictional and does not depict any actual person or event. ——Borrowed for the TV Series Law & Order but equally applicable to this text.

The last time this happened, it was 2011. The most recognized song on the radio was Adele’s “Someone Like You.” When it happened, it seemed so appropriate for me to walk away from the emotional train wreck that ended my tenuous courtship of yet another unattainable woman with Adele’s attitude of, “Never mind. I’ll find someone like you.” Back then, it was suitable to think this way. The unattainable woman, although marvelously attractive, was nothing special emotionally. We rarely shared anything of depth. She was a prototypical party girl. And for me, being the prototypical “nice guy,” she was the perfect poison. In fairness, it would have been easy to find “someone like her,” if torture had indeed been what I was looking for.

But now in 2019, it’s eight years later. I’m eight years older. And although I find myself standing in the still burning embers of yet another brilliant romantic disaster, things aren’t quite the same. While I should walk away with an equally resolved attitude of “it’s over” as Adele vocalizes in her smash hit, I realize the “I’ll find someone like you” part need not apply this time. The truth is, there is no one like her.

For the purposes of this story, let’s just call her “Heck,” because she’s one “heck” of a girl. And before you start with the “Plenty of fish in the sea” nonsense, let me just say that I’ve been all over the world–from Europe to Asia & all over the US. And while I haven’t seen the whole world, but I’ve seen enough of it. And in the years I’ve lived, I’ve witnessed so much change from the places I’ve lived to the people I’ve confided in to the jobs I’ve held that it seems as though I’ve lived multiple lifetimes already. And if I were to combine the best qualities of every love interest I’ve ever witnessed in that myriad of life experience, I could possibly start to paint you a picture of what Heck meant to me. I have a cousin who once fancied himself something of a ghetto Aristotle & he once stated to me that every man needed three women in his life because no one woman could possibly possess all the qualities that one great man would need. Well, the first clue that this was flawed logic should have been: Who said I’m a great man? The second should’ve been . . . well, never mind. It’s just all wrong. But for a moment, I thought he had been right all along. I thought I had all the diverse qualities of three separate lovers just like my cousin said–all contained in the same woman. That’s what Heck meant to me. I like to call her Heck because every time I looked in her eyes, I was both mesmerized by the promise of Heaven & stricken with the threat of Heck. It’s like the saying that every rose has its thorn. It’s God’s way of balancing things out; if something should be permitted to exist of such beauty, it would have to be accompanied by the threat of extreme pain. I only managed a hint of the paradise but endured the full experience of the hell—or, uh—heck.

“Regrets and mistakes their memories made; who would have known how bittersweet this would taste?”

This wasn’t a mistake. I don’t feel silly for having fallen for her. The truth is, I’ve tripped over myself numerous times for girls who didn’t deserve a fraction of the credit I gave them. But with Heck, even while lost in the bitterness of another romantic failure, I recognize that she is truly worth all the hype. I know I’m all bent out of shape over this, but at least she is worth all the fuss.

It’s a tough pill to swallow when we wake up & recognize that we’re not as attractive or as memorable or as special as we thought we were. But it’s something that most of us probably have to confront some time. I know the problem is not her but me. I’m not even happy with the man I am right now. “Never mind, I’ll find someone like you”? No. It’s more like, “Never mind. I’ll find a better version of me first.” Plenty of fish in the sea? Maybe. But there’s only one me; so I’m going to start there.

Heck is one heck of a lady. And because of her, today I promised myself to do everything in my power to become one heck of a man.







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