Two

“You could have caught that” I thought as I watched a middle-aged woman miss a frisbee that her friend had thrown to her. That’s me though, isn’t it? Critical, to the bitter end. Critical of myself, of others, of everything. Forever chasing a utopia that will never exist.

I’ve come to the point in my life where I am rarely satisfied, and that’s a troubling realization. My mom always preached about contentment, and how my father didn’t have it. I think I might have inherited that from him.

But what is life without goals? If we aren’t striving to get better, then what is the point of existence?

As usual, my high school biology teacher’s definition of the meaning of life comes to mind: “To reproduce and pass on your genes. That is the purpose of life. Nothing more, nothing less.”

I agree with her. It’s hard to force human life into that mold because we are self-aware, sentient beings. But it is true nonetheless.

I certainly want to pass on my genes, but I want to do so with the understanding that the other half of my offspring’s genes are good too. That requires a worthy partner. Not the easiest to find.

I’ve never been easy to please. I’ve always been picky. I have the image of the perfect partner for me in my mind.

I want to take a moment here to say that I’m heterosexual, so my perfect partner is a woman. There’s nothing wrong with that, and there’s nothing wrong with any alternative to that. This is 2016 and that’s the truth. I’m sick of hearing people get blasted for being straight and saying that’s the right way to be. That is the right way to be, for them. There’s nothing wrong with being straight, Jesus Christ. There’s also nothing wrong with being gay.

I see the “image” of my perfect woman in my mind now. I used to think that she was a brunette, but now her hair color is undefined. I guess priorities change over time. She’s short, like 5’5″ or below. She’s not overweight, but not skinny. She has a woman’s shape, a good curve.

She’s smart. I don’t want to have to explain everything.

She has a laugh that is so beautiful that it makes you want to cry because no other emotional reaction makes sense.

She’s sarcastic.

She wants a career, but wants me to have the primary income.

These are some of the traits of my perfect partner. These things may reveal certain things about me. Like the fact that I believe in traditional gender roles or that I was raised with and continue to support southern values. I embrace these parts of me. It’s who I am.

The problem is that I’ve yet to find this elusive woman, and I may never find her. I thought I had found her with Kayla, but there were so many things that just didn’t work. I’m sure I’ll get into those at some point. I may never find her.

If this girl does not exist, I’ll eventually have to settle. That, or be single forever and not fulfill the purpose of life.

I’m horrible at settling. I crave success. I feed off of it. And, right or wrong, I savor that moment where people look at you and wish they had what you have. I’m materialistic, and it baffles me that some people are content to live in a shack of a house and drive a 25 year old car. I guess in a way, I’m a fundamental American.

I want that dream. That white picket fence. Those 2.5 children. That golden retriever. Actually fuck that, make it a pit bull.

I’m determined to have that trophy life. I’m a headstrong man, and I won’t stop until it’s mine.

One

As I sat on the beach watching the waves roll in, I remembered a conversation that Kayla and I had had several months ago. I said “One day, after I’ve been practicing awhile, I’d like to have a lake house and a boat.” She replied with “I’d rather have a beach house.”

This was typical of her. Taking something I said and half-agreeing that it was a good idea, only with her little improvements. It was like nothing I ever did or said was quite good enough. There was always something that could be a little (or a lot in some cases) better. This took a toll on my ego over time. I wondered just what parts of me she was even attracted to anymore. What parts of me didn’t need fixing? It as ridiculous, and it’s what eventually caused me to up and quit the relationship one day. It was out of nowhere to her, she thought we were in a happy and loving marriage. But to me, it was a long time coming. There was a popular country song on the radio that started off with a line that said something like “I knew, I knew, I knew. Knew this day would come.” That’s basically how I felt.

But god damn if I wasn’t in love with that girl. Still am. Always will be. It’s one of my fears actually. That I’ll never love anyone again like I loved her. That I’ll never love a woman or children as much as her. Maybe I shouldn’t ever re-marry. Maybe I shouldn’t have kids. Or maybe I can just fake my way through it like I do so many other things. I’m young. I should still have these opportunities.

Like any strong love, it was impossible for her to fully requite. There was just no way for her to love me the way that I loved her, especially after her brother died.

A pang of guilt hit me as I realized that I loved her more than I had ever loved my mother. But then, I don’t know if any child can fully return their mother’s love.

My thoughts were interrupted as I looked up and saw the same green and gold helicopter passing overhead, for the fourth time. Always left to right, essentially northeast to southwest. I guess it was some kind of beach patrol that made circles. Seeing it brought to mind the linear nature of life.

Everything basically moves in one direction. You’re born, you’re here awhile, then you die. The “awhile” is totally variable, and whoever claims to know how to extend that “while” is full of it.

I looked at the book in my hands and thought about reading another chapter. I drained my beer and opened another instead. Last one.

I looked over at the girl sunbathing on her stomach next to me. Great body. Nice ass. But her boyfriend (I guess that’s what he was, maybe husband. I don’t know, I never looked at their hands.) was a pretty good looking dude himself so I just stole glances every now and then.

I was vaguely jealous, but mainly I was happy for him. “Good for you,” I thought. “You’ve got a great looking woman there. I hope it works out for you.”

Does that mean I’m getting old? Where I don’t really covet other men’s girlfriends anymore, but instead admire them and cheer for them to succeed?

I silently hoped that I would find a woman of that caliber one day as I looked at my watch. 6:37. I resigned myself to go back to the room at 7. To go back to “hang out” with the people that I hated to be around.

I took a long drink of beer and again told myself that I wouldn’t turn into an alcoholic. I guess we’ll see.

I looked down at my book. The book about my profession. The book that I had already learned so much from. I opened it. Chapter 41. 41 of 67. Maybe I had gone through 41 trials and I only had 26 left.

I could handle that. I smiled as I started to read. “Today wasn’t going to be a good day.” Ironic.