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I used to think fragility was about letting a crystal glass fall to the floor and shatter, and berating myself for mourning it when I knew it was going to break anyway.

It was more about pushing the hero off the pedestal, making demands that time wouldn’t allow him to meet,

showing more of myself than I was ready to tell.

It meant saying I love you to someone who didn’t have the time of day for me, because I couldn’t be less than honest, I couldn’t do less than strive, no matter how hopeless the situation.

It meant letting someone let you down over and over again, until the Sevres plate was chipped beyond all recognition and had to be thrown out.

It was about leaving silk out in the rain and knowing you’d have to throw it out, but not being willing to take it out of the elements since that was where it was left, where you wanted to put it.

It was more about putting myself in the way of disappointment, and hopeless, Candide faith that wasn’t worth a damn. It was about letting life let you down, letting people let you down, opening yourself up to be eaten alive, diving in knowing you were going to drown.

There was a certain self abnegating, Rainbow fish quality to it. LIke the giving tree left as a stump, it seemed like love, even though it just left me as a stump.

It came somehow out of the feeling that my feelings weren’t really worth much, and a resignation, a fatalism that any slipper than that wasn’t a perfect fit was futile- even if the perfect one was made of glass and even after searching every cellar and table, there was no Cinderella to found.

And no one but you had seen Cinderella at the ball, but if you squinted just so, there was a prince instead of a toad.

And you just kept on kissing him, only to find he’d given you warts!

And the same thing happened, when you ate the magic apple and fell into a deathlike stupor,

And history repeated itself again and again until finally, you kissed the wolf in Grandma’s clothing and he ate you whole.

Then finally, by the grace of God, the whale spit you out on the shores of Ninevah and I stopped mixing metaphors.

And finally, you began to understand. It took some locust eating in the desert and some more imagery from the accursed city where you fasted and prayed, but it happened.

one day, you found that the tree that had been sheltering you had become a friend. ANd the tree had a soul, and even eyes and ears and lips.

The tree was not a feature of the landscape, but he might as well have been since you decided he wasn’t Prince Charming.  His skin was mere bark to you, his shade just a moment of respite.

Until the tree, or rather the man, earned your trust.  It took a while, but then all of a sudden, your body began to recognize him. Your skin felt it first- not bark, not plastic, not stone- not a statue, not an idol, not a carven image, but a real man.

But he didn’t look like Prince Charming, and he wasn’t treating you like a princess either, so you continued not paying too much attention to him- or he to you, honestly- and you just enjoyed his shade from time to time.

It was companionable, much as it was disconcerting for you both to look each other in the eyes.

Then one day the message finally traveled to your head- This is a real boy! And your mind had plans for him.

What role could he play? WHat mask should he wear? How can he be seamlessly integrated into the soap opera of your life?

Which of the 12 storylines in the world is this, and how can we edit the story so, “it had to be you?” and by what means can we catch him, uproot him, and plant him in our garden? No better, how can we take off a branch in the briefest of spring flowers, and make it stay as a flower forever, under glass, unchanging, un growing, un dying.

And how could you bare your heart to him in a way that would make him give up his? How could you use your honesty to manipulate him? How could you make sure you got the happy ending, finally, and make sense of all those past wrongs and hurts and mostof all, your own mistakes?  How could you keep the story going, so you never had to settle, so you were always the victim, if only ofyour own desire, how could you kep the dream of riding off into the sunset alive?

Finally, it became clear, listening to all that nonsense.

You said, “I don’t want to turn someone into a prop in my fantasy.”

You said, “I want to find someone to love who will become my fantasy, and my reality.”

You said, “I want someone who feeds my imagination, but I want to let go of my illusions and delusion.”

And at that moment, it was a new story.

You turned to another chaper, where the plot was as yet uncharted, the end unwritten.

This was a story you couldn’t quite predict, and you wrote it with care.

First, you stopped thinking of him as a tree, or Mr Prince CHarming. ANd you noticed how over time, you liked him more.

Second, instead of telling this being that you loved him, you waited. And you decided to get to know him.

Third, you were patient, and you didn’t try to force an opening when there was none. You stopped playing tennis without a partner. You were interested but not obsessed.

and Fourth, you let him go, when life was calling him elsewhere. (He wasn’t a tree after all.)

Knowing that he didn’t have to be Prince Charming, knowing that you didn’t have to control the end, and most of all, that you could wait to see what happens, that was your Valentine’s Day present to yourself.

ANd just knowing that it will all be ok, regardless of how it turns out, was monomental.

Now you are fragile, in love with your garden, with your puppy, and not with your reflection in the funhouse mirror.

Now you are building something,and letting all roads lead to Rome which wasn’t built in a day after all.

Now, you are letting things go, simply because they are too heavy. ANd that includes the checklist an dall your far too heavy expectations and that narrow box you wanted to put him in.

Now you are letting things go, letting your old self go, your old patterns and habits.

And ou are makign some space to, when the time comes, let someone in.

And until then, you are just happy.

And after, whatever may happen, you are just happy.

Because love is not te crystal glass or the diamond ring. It is the light hat makes them shine and cast rainbows on the wall, and it is yours, from deep within.

The end.