A really talented artist died today. I didn’t know Carlos Batts well, but he and his wife, April Flores, were so in love and just exuded so much sweetness, that I’ve been sad all day thinking about him and about her.
I’ve been single for a long time, but watching the two of them together reminded me of how love can–and should–be. It was love at first sight, or as April says, lust at first sight. They had been married for ten years, during which not only did they sustain a functional relationship, but they also worked together, producing a lot of beautiful work. To keep a relationship functional is hard enough, but to love and work with your partner is a lot, and they managed it with grace and style.
So despite the fact that I have no regrets, and that I’m much happier being single than compromising just to change my relationship status, in honor of the love they charged, I’m going to indulge a maudlin moment and list the things that I miss about being in a relationship, those very specific things I ache for, and which no amount of sassy singlehood can replace.
1. Holding hands in that way that feels effortless, accidental, and familiar.
2. Waking up next to someone whose body feels as known to you as the bed you sleep on.
3. The feeling of safety you get when someone wraps their arms around you and just holds on.
4. When going to bed becomes an event, not just an anticlimactic decision to turn off the lights.
5. Always having a date to the movies.
6. Always having someone with whom to share trips to the grocery store.
7. Having someone to call in a crisis, or even just to talk to while you’re waiting for a tow truck or a jump start.
8. Someone to be there when you’re sick, perhaps to bring you food or share the bad tv.
9. A person who makes romantic weekends a thing worth doing.
10. Knowing whom to write in as your emergency contact.
These are the things I miss.
What about you?
I agree completely! Great blog.
I was so shocked and saddened to hear about Carlos. The two of them were beautiful together…and always will be. My heart goes out to April and everyone who knew and loved Carlos and his work, and there were many.
I’m very much enjoying your blog, Dahlia. To answer your question, I haven’t been single very long and the things I miss most about being in a relationship are very raw and in my face (or not):
10. The ease of being alone together… both of us in the same room, reading or writing… in each other’s presence yet as comfortable as being alone.
9. The excitement of sharing. I loved how happy it made us as we shared books, movies, poems, food, etc. with each other.
8. Discovery. Finding a new mutual joy, like that amazing sushi place in West LA that I’ll probably never be able to go to again. Or that awesome Lodi Zin that I can’t bear to drink alone.
7. Tiny intimacies. Washing her hair, shaving her legs, giving her a pedicure.
6. Discussing the news together and making sense (or not) of the world around us.
5. Holding hands, our fingers interlaced while walking, driving, at a show, on the sofa, in bed…
4. Texts. Sometimes just to say “hi” or “good morning” or “goodnight” when we were apart. Sometimes a pic of what’s going on. Sometimes a daring pic that made me smile and ache for her all the more.
3. Having her play music… smiling when she played songs I knew and songs I didn’t but that she knew I would love.
2. Picking her up, feeling my strength in my ability to hold her and carry her.
1. Love. The act, the word in my ear, the feeling.
awwww…so well said! thank you so much for writing.
I knew them too, not well — but you didn’t have to know them well to know what kind of love they had. I have that kind of marriage, and I can’t imagine how April is coping. My heart aches for her.
I’ll add a few more more:
1) Resting securely in the confidence that no matter what, good or bad, comes your way, you have a partner to share it with.
2) The eyes that light up just for you, across the room.
3) Knowing exactly what it is he sees in you, and you see in him, and that you are both better people because you share life together.
4) The smell of coffee he makes every morning, for the two of you.
Lovely blog…my best wishes go out to April. Carlos was a very dear old friend, who I already missed before his passing…
That’s a great list!
For myself, I miss the simple and fun things most:
1. Sneaking out of bed without waking her up to put on coffee and make breakfast or waking up to the smell of coffee and breakfast because she beat me to it.
2. Holding hands under the table, like it’s some big secret even though everyone else at the table knows.
3 Doing purse patrol while she goes to the restroom or the bar.
4 Sitting on the same couch, but doing separate things because we still want to be near each other.
5. Making each other laugh when we really feel like crying.
6. Helping with excuses to get out of awkward family dinners.
7. That knowing look we share between us just before we make a pact to both call in sick to work and do something fun instead.
8. Laughing during sex because we just got busted by the dog.
9. Someone to go into a thrift store with where we spend most of the time presenting each other with horrible outfits, ugly nick-knacks and creepy dolls.
10. “Saving water” and “helping the environment” by sharing a shower.
11. Experiencing a new place and then talking about how amazing it was or laughing at how bad it was on the way home.
12. Just plain making out.
13 Showing up late somewhere because we had sex just when we finished getting ready to go the first time and then having a giggle when we tell people the excuse we made up on the ride there.
I also second the emergency contact thing. When I have to list the relationship for mine as friend I wonder if they think I mean “Friend” friend or just a person that has the burden of checking up on me to make sure I’m not dead.
I LOVE this list! And I can totally relate to more than a few of them.