Why you should care
Because who hasn’t felt a little bit shattered?
The writer has authored six books and lives in Hayward, California.
There are many of us: We seem to have it all together, nice place to stay and money in the bank. You can’t see it, and we’re afraid to admit our affliction, but we’re broken.
We desperately want more. We are aging, quickly, and still hoping for love. We find each other online, and end up on dates with one another.
I am 53, been married, yet I want to meet someone again, but not just anyone, the right one. It is a familiar refrain.
Love means finding someone with a spare part, the precise one we are missing.
One night, I went to meet a woman from one of the online dating services. I knocked on her door, jittery like before I ever grew peach fuzz. I was hoping her face would match the beautiful voice I’d been hearing for over three weeks. She was gorgeous, breathtaking, molded by perfection, dipped in a bowl full of candy. I was on my best behavior for the rest of the night, from the magnificent restaurant where we ate, to the sports bar where we strolled afterward to catch the game. That dark bar was where she whispered in my ear, “Hey, let’s finish the game at my place.”
A stop for wine, and we were at her place; she began lighting candles, turned on the TV and then things shifted. I got up to go to the bathroom, and when I emerged, I saw her brokenness emerge. Her beautiful eyes, shedding tears. I had never seen joy snatched from a person so quickly. This was a different woman in front of me. She accused me of having only one thing on my mind. I won’t repeat all she said, but it amounted to a fury I sympathized with. Yet I knew her anger did not belong on my shoulders. Had the last man before me left her in that broken state? I could not know, but I refused to judge her as many had judged me.
I, too, am broken, filled with emotional rubble. All of us together are like a junkyard, all piled together; one of us missing a carburetor, the other missing an engine, another a steering wheel. Love, for us, means finding someone with a spare part, the precise one we are missing. And where could you possibly find that? Could we dare to dream we are so lucky? I’ve found online dating to be so many of the broken hordes’ drug of choice. We become addicted to the unknown, aroused by other damaged people. The Internet gives us freedom: We can become anyone we want to be. We can get our revenge not on those who hurt us but on innocent people.
I wasn’t always like this, so hungry for love. When I was a young man, I left women like it was my job. But by the time I was in my early 40s, things began to slow down a bit. Hollow late nights had taken their toll on me. I wanted more. When I met that woman that night, I hoped she could be my more and I hers. But I never saw that woman again. Not her mask. Not her real self. I wasn’t her missing piece. I am waiting for someone in search of a man with the right broken parts.