It’s 10:30 AM on a Sunday. The sun has been up for hours but I’m still in bed with my laptop. I hear laughter and my daughter runs in the the bedroom to show me a drawing she’s made. It’s a week from her 4th birthday and she’s been drawing all the things she wants as birthday gifts. This one is a giraffe. I smile and remember that the night before, she and her dad had stayed up watching old Eddie Izzard standup – including the bit about giraffes.
I close my laptop and scoop her onto the bed with me. She’s the mirror image of me at that age, and I think about my mom for a second before asking my daughter where the giraffe is going to live. As she explains I hear her dad come in from the yard and call for the cats to follow.
“You know, this sounds like a dad problem. Let’s ask him if he knows where the giraffe can live.” I give her a kiss and wrangle her off the bed. She takes off like a shot down the hall, her giraffe drawing flapping in her hand.
Or that’s what I thought this was going to be. Ginny in the Berenstein timeline is probably living in some sort of live-action aesthetic Tumblr post of a life.
There was only one thing that was constant when I imagined my future. It was a partner, and it was a family. The rest were just details that would fill themselves in.
I didn’t factor in the idea that I would be alone. That idea was ludicrous. I had no family, and I needed one. I had no delusions about being rich, famous, or otherwise extraordinary. None of that mattered.
But never in my wildest, childish dreams did I think I’d be alone now. Of course, I also didn’t factor in my numerous debilitating health issues or the fact that humanity is just generally awful. I didn’t think I had to. Because I wasn’t supposed to be going through this alone. This was supposed to be a love story.
My life wasn’t supposed to be a dystopian nightmare where I’m an orphan losing the use of my right leg while I survive by posting modeling photos and my only companions are two cats. Because, listen – that is literally what is happening right now and it’s almost funny how sad it is.
I struggled at first to not start the day resentful of reality. You can’t wake up every morning and think “this is supposed to be different” when it’s something so completely out of your control in that way. It is what it is. This is what happened. I let go of the notion that anything is “supposed to” be.
I’m not sad about it anymore. When I break it down, what my life was “supposed to” be is safe. And safety doesn’t need to come from other people. There are other avenues to safe. And there are other versions of love. I don’t need a love story, but I do want a good story.