drumroll, please

There's this incredibly romantic episode in season one of How I Met Your Mother, my favorite TV show, called "Drumroll, Please." Here's a rundown for those not in the know: Ted, the protagonist of the show, attends the wedding of an old friend. There, he meets a girl who catches his interest. When he approaches her, the interest is clearly mutual. However, she proposes that the two of them attempt to achieve the ultimate one-night stand - all the romance without the awkwardness of the morning after. The rules are no last names, no kissing, and no goodbyes. That way, in the years to come, both she, first given the alias Buttercup but later revealed as Victoria, and Ted will have an untarnished memory of an incredibly romantic night that neither or them will forget. Sounds good enough. They spend the evening doing fun and spontaneous things, like stealing the bride's bouquet, tap dancing to piano music in an adjacent reception hall, doing cartwheels down the hallways. At one point, Ted asks Victoria if he can kiss her. She declines, saying that kissing would shatter the illusion of idyllic romance because Ted may end up being a bad kisser, thereby ruining the perfect evening. So Victoria suggests that they do a lead up to a kiss, the moment of anticipation right before the lips meet. A drumroll, if you will. Ted reluctantly agrees, and both admit the moment is exhilarating. At the end of the night, Ted confesses that while the evening was indeed perfect, it will end unhappily as he watches Victoria walk out the door. She smiles at him, asks him to close his eyes and count to five, and tearfully walks away in the brief moment that she is hidden from him, to help him preserve a perfect memory of her.

I first watched this episode about three or four years ago, when I first discovered How I Met Your Mother. I have since watched it multiple times, and every time, I am simultaneously entranced and frustrated. What an interesting concept, to have an unadulterated evening of bliss with someone you are clearly enamored with. But how frustrating to think that moments like that can't last forever. Of course, in the course of the season, Ted tracks Victoria down and they get involved in a short but sweet relationship, eventually terminating because of long distance.

Now that's the stuff that romance is made of. But come on, who does that really happen to? No one, right?

Wrong, friends. So very wrong. I know this because... Well, I just met my Buttercup.

Truth be told, when I first got on this ship a little over a month ago, romance was the last thing on my mind. First of all, I had a job to do, a job which I've been waiting a lifetime for. Second of all, and just as important, I had some money to make. And I didn't want to engage in anything that might be detrimental in achieving either of those goals. I also understood and accepted the reality of my situation; I'd be here for six months, during which time people would come and go, and it wasn't a good scenario for starting a lasting and meaningful relationship. I was ready to have non-committal fun, in whatever form it took. But then I met Buttercup.

The funny thing was, I already had someone else in mind for myself. Someone whom I'd been secretly waiting for and hoping that he was also secretly waiting for me. I never really gave him much of a thought previously, mostly because I was never in the right place at the right time, but recently, new possibilities opened up. And I was holding out for those. Maybe I still am, I don't know. But the truth is, I'm here, he's there, and there's a whole lot of time and distance between us at the moment. Then Buttercup walked into my life. Or rather, I came on board his. He took me by surprise, mostly because there were so many things about him that didn't fit my usual bill: he's younger than I am (I'll admit that I'm an agist and have historically refused to date anyone younger than me), he's not really my type (you know, I've got the Miss Saigon syndrome - Asian girl falls for the clean cut, all-American white boy), he doesn't have the type of career I prefer (I dated a guy years ago who does the exact same thing that Buttercup does, and it blew up in my face, so I've sworn off those kinds of guys since then). There are a lot of other complications to throw in the mix as well. In a nutshell, he's not right for me. But geez Louise, I think he's the bee's knees. Everything about him, from his looks to his laugh to his charming personality, has me doe-eyed and star struck. He really does it for me.

We spent one incredible month together, the last week of which sent me reeling back into youthful nostalgia as we spent nights walking along the beach, dancing under the stars, and kissing on balconies. But last weekend, he was transferred to another ship, where he is finishing out the remainder of his contract. As expected, I am heartbroken, and not a day has yet passed that I haven't cried like a teenage girl who just broke up with her high school sweetheart. We are trying to maintain contact, but living on the seas makes communication difficult. The odds are not in our favor, and I honestly wonder whether I'll ever see this incredible man again.

Here's the thing that I find most interesting about the situation. Those that are closest to me can attest that I am a closed person. Very rarely do I let my emotional guard down, and of the few times that I do, about 0.01% of those are for romantic endeavors. So why him? Why was he the one that I let myself open up to? Maybe it's because I was so physically attracted to him. Maybe it's because he is so genuinely sweet, and I felt that I had found a kindred spirit. I think, though, what it boils down to is that I know things here are temporary, so I want to make the most of it. Buttercup and I had a clear expiration date, and I wanted to relish every moment I had with him, even if it meant becoming vulnerable. And for the first time in a very long time, my feelings were reciprocated. Being open to him opened me up to happiness, no matter how short-lived it may be. I learned that I want more of this in my life and that the risk is clearly worth the reward. I just have to let myself fall once in a while.

I know that reality is gaining on the fantasy life Buttercup and I managed to piece together. Regardless of the outcome, I will cherish the time we had together. We had one hell of a drumroll.

1 comment:

The Newsgirl said...

sigh, you're one hell of a writer, Gina!