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waiting for the white rose

i began writing a response to sarahís april 18 entry, then i read what i wrote and decided it probably wasnít appropriate to dump all this stuff onto her when others were being so encouraging, so instead i thought iíd leave it here.

i am going to be 31 on wednesday. i live in a different country to my family and friends, i am lonely and i am single. iíve had 3 serious boyfriends, the last one i pictured myself married to. as the numbers suggest, it has always taken a few years to find a boyfriend. i donít know why.

when i was young i was a tomboy, all the way up to my late teens. i wanted to be a boy, boys were so much cooler than girls. i always had a boy as my best friend (up until my mid 20ís when i moved to a new city and met alex, she will be my best friend to my grave). i always prided myself that my boy friends would tell me i wasnít like other girls. i always took it as a complement. then in my late teens i started to look at my friends in a different way and i wondered why none of them fancied me or talked about me like they would about the other girls. it hurt me when they asked me for advice about other girls they liked. of course i never brought that up with them because that would have been too girlie. so i always answered their questions and tried to be happy for them, they were after all my friends.

my first boyfriend ivo, was a real rough around the edges lad, the leader amongst his friends. we hated each other at first. he was always hanging around the soccer club my dad worked at on his bike surrounded by his mates. i remember one summery friday night i was walking around the club house in a white cotton dress that my mum had made me wear. ivo and his goons were out the back and he flicked his lit cigarette butt at he and it burned a hole in my dress. i was horrified that my dad would think that i had been smoking and burnt a hole in my own dress so i ran inside told my dad what happened and he came out looking for ivo. i coward behind my dad as i9 pointed the offender out and my dad had a few choice words to say to ivo. i spent the rest of the evening inside the smoky club, too scared to go outside. when i got home i showed my mum the dress and told her that that was the reason why i didnít wear dresses and that i was never going to wear a dress again. the next friday night, ivo and his mates were there again and he started yelling at me and teasing me calling me a baby for crying to my dad. i told him i wasnít a baby and i wasnít scared of him and ran up to him and started punching him. he hit me back, hard, mostly in the ribs. a couple of my friends saw what was happening and ran over to free me. i remember hurting but not wanting to give in or cry because that would be a gazillion times worse. my friends started having a go at ivo for hitting a girl, he told them all where to go and rode off. my friends of course started having a go at me for being so stupid.

i donít remember how we got together or even how we started speaking to one another. but he became my first boyfriend. i think we went out for something like six months. we talked on the phone most nights but saw each other maybe twice a week. he was the most popular boy and he was going out with me. all the boys preferred my friend gordana, she was pretty, slim, popular, sure of herself. i asked ivo once if he thought she was attractive Ďnah, sheís too girlie, not like you, you arenít like other girlsí. so maybe being me wasnít so bad. my parents made me break up with him because as my dad put it íthe apple never falls far from the treeí. i remember protesting, going behind their backs for a while but not long after breaking up. he told me i was the first girl to ever break up with him. i told him i wouldnít be the last. quite a few years later i heard that he had told his mates that i was the best girlfriend he had ever had. i saw him once after that, we talked a little, he got into a fight that night, drew blood, and i silently thanked my dad for his clichťs.

skip a few years. i finished high school, went to uni and struggled to make friends. i floated between groups of people looking to click with one of them. i never really did. i got a part time job working at one of the sporting arenas making and serving the fast food. i always worked the same booth with the same bunch of people and we became friends. we go to the pub across the road after work to have a few drinks and let the crowd disperse. i had my my click. we saw each other away from work, we hooked up during the week, called each other to arrange going out to clubs, it was a happy time. thatís how i met my next boyfriend, alex. he was great, a real friend, he made me feel special and we had a great time together. we liked the same sort of music, he was the spontaneous sort, very active, always doing something. he was the first boy i slept with, it was my 21st birthday. he lived on the other side of town. his dad and step mother were very conservative, like my folks so it was out of the question for me to stay over his place, or he stay at mine after a night out even if i slept in his sister room or he on our couch. almost every week i found myself driving home at 4am along the tulla freeway struggling to keep my eyes open. someone must have been watching over me, because i was lucky never to have fallen asleep at the wheel. he had mentioned marriage a couple of times and i just avoided the topic. we were going out for something like a year a half when i started talking about studying overseas. he didnít want me to go and when i suggested that he come with me he flat out said no. so i dropped the subject but kept researching schools and phd programs overseas. when it came out that that i was still thinking about it, he became really sooky and whigny and didnít want me to go, but he didnít want to even consider the both of us moving away, so i broke up with him. i was very upset, i thought i loved him and i thought he loved me and i couldnít understand why, if he wanted to marry me, why he couldnít move away with me.

i didnít go and study overseas, just interstate. this caused a rift in the family. my dad was not happy with me at all. how could i be leaving the home when everything i had or needed was there. i knew that i had to move away from home, if i didnít i would have met another boy, married him and stayed where i was forever, and there were things that i wanted to see and do before i settled down. so i moved away and my dad has never really forgiven me for that.

so began a period of self discovery. up until that point i was acting how i thought people wanted me to act, but now in Hobart, no one knew me and i could be me from the very beginning. i met alex, whose been my best friend since and jim whom i fell truly, deeply and passionately in love with. it was exactly what i thought it was supposed to feel like. he was a few years older than me, but in terms of life experience i was in nappies compared to him. he was cool, funny, witty, so smart, looked up to by friends and professors, he thought deep thoughts, he was artistic, creative, a talented guitar player and i couldnít believe that he was my boyfriend. we were the Ďití couple. i had to be cool because jim was going out with me. i was actually envied by a couple of girls. all of these new feelings and experiences for me. he loved who i was. he loved that i would get up and dance to the commercial breaks while we were all watching television, he loved that i would cook a proper meal for us at 2am after we got home from being out. he loved that i would buy chocolate covered licorice and leave them at his place for him to have, he loved that i would go and watch a soccer game by myself, he loved that i played soccer, he loved that i felt i didnít have to wait up for him on sunday nights when he got back from dinner with his folks, he loved that i wasnít a girlie girl, but still a girl equally comfortable in a dress as i was in my track pants. i thought i found my soul mate. he got a job in the netherlands but delayed his moving first by one month, then a second, then a third and after six months he had to go. i never asked him to put off going, he just did. the day he left i came back from the airport and cried, and cried and cried. we had talked about breaking up before he left, but in our naivety we didnít. who knew how often we would get to see one another, but we would call each other weekly, email daily, scrimp and save our holidays and money to see each other. people looked at me with pity and thought i was foolish, but i was in love and didnít want to give him up. a few months after jim had moved to the netherlands, i had the opportunity of going over and visiting him for 4 weeks. when i showed up at the airport, and he wasnít there i knew things werenít the same. he arrived late, then as we sat holding each other in silence he fell asleep. a few days before i was to return home i asked him to break up with me now, face to face if that is what he was thinking rather than in a couple of weeks over the phone. he assured me that he didnít want to break up. i still i couldnít shake the feeling that that was the end. a couple of weeks later i did get that phone call. i didnít leave my bedroom for a whole week. got my flat mate to make excuses for me at work and to my friends. i knew exactly what it felt like to have a broken heart. it literally felt broken. i felt empty. i felt stupid. i should have followed my instincts and broken it off with him, when i felt that things had changed. at first i avoided going out because people would ask me how i was feeling/doing and i didnít want to cry because that was my first reaction. then i lost all motivation at work and just went out, every night. i told people i was fine when they asked me how i was doing and then made a funny comment, making everyone laugh, but each night i would go home and cry. your usually broken heart scenario.

that was in my mid 20ís. it wasnít until a couple of years ago that i really felt i was over him. i went back to visit hobart and my friends there and we met up for lunch. i looked him in the eyes and didnít feel longing, didnít feel wanting nor regret, i didnít feel anything. it was refreshing. since jim iíve had a couple of flings, nothing serious and all while i was still getting over him. it has been about 5 or 6 years since i have had a boyfriend. i am again living in another city, this time overseas. i have traveled and visited many countries, i have studied long and hard. i have started from scratch too many times. i want to settle down, to find someone i am compatible with, i want to fall in love again, i want to have a family. my mum used to say that i will find someone, but now she says it will be ok if i donít. that makes me sad. i donít want to feel like a failure if i donít have those things but i canít help feeling anything but. i am very far away from my family and friends. i am very lonely, my work isnít going very well. i am turning 31 on wednesday and i have no romantic prospects. i am single and not carefree.