Red Strings

At 19, you wonder if there is someone out there tied to you at the end of a red string.

No, scratch that. At 19, you wonder if your red string really exists at all. You’ve never really given much thought to it until now when you find yourself in an unexpected break, with so much time in your hands and nothing much to do except sleep, read, watch, eat. And live on a daily basis.

It’s just a myth, you tell yourself. This red string of fate connecting you to the one destined to be the other half of you.

And when you’re 19 and alone, you think this is beautiful. You think this myth has been designed to comfort your loneliness, your singularity in a world that values pairs.

A few years ago this wasn’t a problem: you were younger, more innocent, more romantic. You believed in soul mates with a certain detachment, thinking that you still had time to find that one anyway. But then the world spun its course and you found yourself older, your idealism now shedding like deciduous teeth. More realistic, but also more cynical.

And you frown at this: why does this world have to beat the beautiful things you believe in? To make you stronger, tougher? A little less emotional and a lot more rational?

Now some people around you are telling you to get out more, because at this rate, you will end up alone for the rest of your life. Because being cooped up in your room, no matter how happy this makes you, will not get you a husband. Some of your relatives are even wondering why, at 19, you still don’t have a boyfriend.

You cringe and ask why. In this day and age, you are dumbfounded by this existing expectation, this need, for women to secure husbands. As if that’s the ultimate goal every woman can ever hope to achieve: being married. You are happy being alone, thanks very much. As a woman of 19, you have goals, too; dreams which you would pursue first. (Like graduate from college and earn a career you would always love to do, build a house and fill it with books and dogs, travel around the world.)

Oh, but you’re 19 and your biological clock is ticking away.

At the back of your mind, even though you are reluctant to admit it, you are considering this, too.

Because you realize that you find happiness in your solitude; you revel in your aloneness. Maybe too much. You excel at being on your own so much that you fear you no longer know what it’s like to actually be in a relationship with someone else. You pause, considering your (very short) track record. You probably don’t know what it’s actually like at all.

What if you love yourself too much now? A few years back and you probably couldn’t imagine such a thing. Back then you loved people far too much and gave little thought to yourself. Would there be space left in you for anything else, let alone an actual person?

Ah, but that is the magic, the power, the wisdom of love. Everything else takes a backseat. You find yourself wanting that one person’s happiness above all; wanting his security and well-being, his gentle brown eyes and liquid laughter, his strong hands and awkward gait.

Maybe right now you are content to sit in your room and be alone, but you know that when the time comes, you’ll be looking for that person, too.

There’s enough romance left in you because, no matter how compelling, the cynicism cannot take all of it away.

At 19, you are closer to believing the narrator in (500) Days of Summer when he says “Coincidence, that’s all anything ever is” than you’ve ever been in your life.

Fate is captivating with its promise of having someone out there for you, but when you stumble and fall in the daily grind of life, you get carried away by the randomness, the entropy of it all, and you start shaking off the notions of soul mates and people meant for each other.

At 19, you are almost sure you are disillusioned.

But a small part of you would like to believe that you’re wrong, that there is someone out there for you, because no matter how much well-adjusted you are at being alone, it makes you feel all warm inside at the thought of someone so special that he’d make you want to give up all your time alone to be with him instead. Someone who would understand you and embrace you with your flaws; someone you would want to take care of always; someone you would want to spend the rest of your life with.

When that someone comes into your life, it wouldn’t be a grand entrance. No confetti or fireworks. He would just slip in and you’d realize he’s breaking your defenses, naturally, instinctively―like he was made to do it all along. It wouldn’t be flowers and chocolates; instead, it would be notes tucked in that paperback you’re reading and coffee because he knows how much you need it at the end of a long day. It would be long walks, talks, and stray hair tucked behind ears. It would be tears and laughter, fights and reconciliations, and eyes meeting at a glance and understanding. You would marvel at how snugly you fit into each other’s lives, at how natural everything is between the two of you. Although sometimes complicated, you would marvel at the wonderful simplicity of being together.

You sigh. A girl of 19 can always dream―but meanwhile you’re keeping that small, believing part of you alive.


Here’s a little something in advance for the Valentine’s at the end of this week.

You are loved.


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