Single Again, “If Only”

By Kenneth Stepp

Have you ever wondered what your life would be like, “if only”? If only they changed their mind, if only they lived closer, if only whatever roadblock blocked them from us was removed, etc? My failed romantic endeavors always end with an, if only. I believe it’s the same for all of us. If onlys plague us all. They burrow into the emotional parts of our heart and see how much mischief they can cause. And since they are part of our psychological being, they know us well enough to mess with every part of us with a memory from days gone by. What are these vile things? If onlys could be a part of us that teaches us what to learn when we fail. They bring me sadness. But they also make me sad most of the time…

“If only…the saddest words in the English language.”

― Kristan Higgins

My loves over the last five years are either a mystery, a puzzle, or a conundrum. The mystery was the very first girl I met after becoming single again. I call her my rebound relationship. A mystery to this day. After our breakup, hurt, damaged, I began writing. As you can see… I am still writing. I hadn’t yet learned about the rule of the rebound. That when coming out of a very long relationship that had become dead, dry, and difficult. When meeting someone attentive, loving, and they want to be with you all the time. That it is intense. And I hadn’t had intense in decades. In this case, I fell hard and I fell completely. When we split I remember thinking. That was intense, but I’ll get over it. I had no idea it was real love. Time showed me it was. Only time can do that. My if only. If only she could have seen how real love could have changed her life. If only. Mostly because I believe she’d never had unconditional love from a man. Maybe she didn’t understand how rare it was. Again. If only…

“We could have been the greatest love story ever told.

If only you’d stayed in character.”

― Joseph Gordon-Levitt

So this is a snapshot of my journey to find my forever love. The one I will spend my life with. What I mean by spending my life is different than most think. In the bank of me, all I have in my account is my life. All of it. Every second between now and my passing. Everything of any value I may have now or in the future. I take out of the bank and deposit it in her being bank, all of me, so to speak. Handing over anything I am or will be to another to take and do with as she wishes. Risking all of me, for life with her. I call her, “Her”, since I don’t know her name. I know her though. I know her well. She’s a gem. A person of great value. Intellect, a kind heart, a curious mind, a lover of art and history. I do know her. I hope with us, the if onlys end. That with us, adventures begin and never stop. That upon our joining lives we can see things we’ve never seen, and know what life suppose to taste like. I know life will have challenges. A life without challenges isn’t a very exciting life at all. Sometimes a great adventure is simply surviving beside one another. Is just surviving an adventure? I think it can be. Love is always a journey. Surviving it can be too.

I’m in a place where hope has diminished a rare thing, visions of what life with her are cloudy at best, and if onlys are pretty much what I’m left with. If only someone would see who I really am, if only real unconditional, totally accepting love really wins in the end, if only the fairytale still happens, if only I’d hear those special words… I love you, I miss you, and you are enough. If only…

 “We are past the end of things now, but I don’t want to leave.”

― Richard Ford

If you are ever lucky enough to have someone love you unconditionally, keep them. Treasure them. Love finds so few. Love is so selective. And real love is not mathematical probable at all. If you find it. Make it your number one priority or it will fade away. Once gone, impossible to find again. And there will come a day when regret will be your companion instead of the partner your heart desired most. Regrets are worse that if onlys.

“A dream so vibrant,
A dream so blissful;
I hold it close to my heart.
In anxious nights,
And days of hope;
These years have passed solely.
One day the dream to turn true- If only!” 
― Somya Kedia