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"Estella"

[written to Future Sound of London - Smokin' Japanese Babe]

Not as though I haven't written about post-Anna shit enough as it is, but thoughts of the past DO come back often to someone like me who has lots of time to himself to ponder.

It's been perhaps 7/4ths years since I last saw Anna, when we spent a Christmas in both Dallas and Stockholm. Since then I haven't dated anyone, although I've tried a few times. Those worked out great. Snort.

Anna really is my Estella. You know, the lifelong unrequiting fancy of Pip in Great Expectations. I came to know her when we were both relatively young, back when we didn't have much to worry about except doing homework and having fun. Before the reality of the world begins to commandeer one's life, before work and expectations and failed potential and careers and financial security and whatnot.

Somehow I was whisked away from what had previously been an insulated, untouched life to one of fantasy and euphoria and romance and satin and fulfillment and limitlessness and roses and happiness and passion. Somehow an intelligent, confident, sweet, and as I would later find out beautiful Swedish girl took a liking to me and wouldn't let go, regardless of how ignorant I was to her signals. She taught me lots of things, listened to me likewise, opened me up to different ways of thinking and new books and music and so on. She loved me and put a lot of time into me. She spoiled me.

Four or five years later we broke up, or rather, she broke up with me, as I still loved her the same and probably still do even though I feel that when we do have long talks every once in a while that things are a lot different for each of us, as it is for any two people over time.

Now that the memories have faded (but not been forgotten) to the point where they no longer significantly affect me every time, the part of the whole relationship that remains in my thoughts these days is that, honestly, Anna made me into a man. Or more descriptively, she was the rite of passage that it took for me to find the confidence, courage, and experiences necessary for me to feel like I am a man as I do now.

I think if it was present day, and I had not been in that relationship with Anna, I would have far less confidence in my abilities. That somehow I was able to keep her in love with me, despite my failings, tells me I did something right during the whole thing.

But, you see, I'm like Pip in that I don't know how Estella really feels about me anymore. I'm not attached to her, or waiting for her, or hoping that one day she'll come back...I know that for sure. If I were to meet someone else, I'd definitely be into them. It's just that since I keep so few friends, I don't have a network of people to play with. Generally my experiences with women have been filled with interest, which is surprising to me sometimes because I'm an odd-looking guy with what would be odd tastes to most people. I'm a weird guy, I know. And I'm not just saying that out of humility. I've heard people say it about me.

Anyway, Anna still writes to me every once in a while, and I'm not really sure why. It's not as though we work in the same area, or have similar interests, or are meeting somewhere or anything. It just boggles me. She says stuff like how I'm the only one she talks to online, and I'm the only one who never is mean to her and stuff like that. And I don't really initiate contact with her often, she does it on her own accord. I guess in her mind, she really does see me as a good friend, but one she can kind of drop in on whenever she feels like it, or something.

She is like a spectre in my life. I'm slowly growing up and getting more comfortable with myself and with life, and I'll go about my business, doing whatever, and every once in a while I'll see that familiar silhouette flitter across the light in an ethereal fashion and pass along as quickly as it came. A constant reminder of the happy times I had as a young man.

One time she gave me a book to read, The Legendary Girlfriend, which was about some loser bloke in England who never got over his last girlfriend. He didn't know why they broke up, and no one ever compared afterwards. Another Estella. The kind of woman who's perfect in every way except in her love for you. Which is really the only thing that matters in the long run. The kind of woman who you had a chance encounter with but has high aspirations and wants to travel the world and not have any attachments to stop her from being an independent, powerful woman. The kind of woman who consumes a man's life.

So over time the guy keeps thinking about her and eventually tries to get her attention again but finds out she's with some guy who's obviously better than he is, and he gets all sad and finds out that some chick he's been telling all his problems to the whole time is the one he really loves, and then of course in the end the legendary girlfriend was touched by his display of affection despite her boyfriend being there and wants to get back with him, but at that point he's blah blah blah.

I'm not addicted to her. I just haven't gotten a new girlfriend to replace the thoughts with. I like her a lot, and I'm interested in what she's doing, but being nice only gets you so far. I've offered to do some nice things for her out of friendship but she won't have it. In that way it really doesn't feel like I'm part of this "friendship", because I'm really not doing anything for it. I talk to her, but I don't demand her attention. We're more like acquaintances. Or penpals.

So perhaps eventually I'll become extremely successful like Pip did and become my own man and all that shit. I'd like that. I don't feel a drive to be successful just for myself. All I'd like is to be part of life, to have access to things I'm interested in, and so on. If anything, I want to have enough money to be able to take care of people I'm close to, to be the provider and helper to people who deserve it. I don't need anything in return, I just want to do nice things for people. I want to make others happy, secure.

Right now I can't do that because I am alone, and young, trying to make a living for myself, first and foremost. Which as I said leaves me plenty of time for thinking about the past.

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