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  • Writer's pictureelise

Chapter 23 - Just as I was getting to the good part...

As I walked down the jetway rolling my carryon I turned around a few times to see if I could catch one last glimpse of him. I could not. He had to hurry back to his gate as they were almost finished boarding.

I boarded the plane and got situated in my very comfortable and spoiled 2nd row seat. As I was organizing myself, and untwisting my headphone cord I admittedly fantasized about the idea of him running down the jetway, on to the plane, whisking me out of my seat and taking me home to Miami where we would jump on his boat, drink fresh coconut water with a splash of rum, listen to Camila Cabello, watch the sun set over the ocean and live out our love story.

Just as I was getting to the good part in my head I heard, Elise…? I shake my head a bit to snap out of it and look up, embarrassed that my eyes are red and slightly puffy. I pray it’s not someone who recognizes me from TV, because that would be super embarrassing…it’s not. It’s my co-worker. He says, ‘Hey, what the heck were you doing in Chicago?’ ‘ Ha, long story. Vacation of sorts,’ I say. ‘Nice,’ he says. ‘See ya at work tomorrow.’ I smile. I wish I were still in my fantasy.

Have you ever come home from a fabulous day with friends, or a great day at work, or after accomplishing a big goal? You’re on a high, you feel like you’re flying, you’re untouchable. You get home, open the door and reality smacks you in the face; you realize you have no one with whom to share that good news. This has happened to me more times than I can count in life. When you’re single long enough or in a relationship that makes you feel like you’re single, this can happen all too often.

I’ll never forget the day I booked my first movie role. I began acting at 13, moved to Los Angeles at 23, and after five years and hundreds of auditions, I got the news I’d been waiting for. I soaked in the words, ‘you . got . the . part.’ A bright white light of elation and excitement traveled through my body beginning at my feet and shot up into my heart which filled me with radiant joy, a deep sense of accomplishment and touch of relief that I was, in fact, on the right path. I took a beat, inhaled deeply, looked around at my empty apartment, caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and cried. So much joy, so much hard work finally recognized, and the start of so much introspection. It was one of the first times I realized that no matter what I was experiencing in life, it was sweeter when experienced with others.

I began to question a lot of things. The elation of booking the job, or getting the raise, or accomplishing my goal was amazing; it was a high, but it was temporary. What could I learn from this? How could I have a more balanced approach? Could I keep accomplishing my life goals and simultaneously have a meaningful relationship? Could they potentially even enhance each other? And most pressing of all, if it was possible, when could I have this?

This isn’t a pity party. I very much enjoy(ed) my single life. One of the reasons I was able to move to Los Angeles, then work on a cruise ship, then move cross country for my TV job is because I was single. I didn’t have to consider someone else’s career, hopes, dreams, and feelings. I was able to laser focus on my own dreams. In addition, I believe, being single for so many years is also what allowed me to nurture my friendships to the deep level I have, and is in part responsible for allowing me to find my truth and become unapologetically comfortable in my own skin. These are most likely products of spending so much time alone, with my own company and my own thoughts. I do not regret this precious time for learning and self-discovery. It’s made me the woman I am today and it's made me abundantly grateful for the family and friend relationships I have.

I catch a Lyft home from the airport, the driver is playing Latin music…you have to be kidding me, I think to myself, I’ve literally never heard Latin music in Philly. Maybe I've just never noticed it...I really don't know, but it seemed auspicious to me.

While I was in Chicago, Milo, my yorkie, was having the time of his life with his man-crush, babysitter, Michael, and Michael's dog, Princeton. When Milo and Princeton get together they rough house and play non-stop only pausing long enough to enjoy a homemade dog treat baked by Michael, which leads me to think that he had the best long weekend of his life and is also sufficiently worn out after his summer camp/vacay rendezvous.

I search around for my keys and get frustrated when I can’t find them, only to realize they are in my hand. I open the door to my apartment and boom, that gut-punching reality and lonely familiarity sets in. I realize that my home which I love, and have filled with plants, good vibes, positive energy, and the cutest yorkie on the planet, feels lonely, empty and distant from my earlier high. Thank goodness for Milo. He musters up some leftover energy from his vacay and comes bounding to the door to greet me and we reunite after four days apart. I know he’s had fun. Does he wonder what I’ve been up to? I bend down to scratch his ear and tell him how much I love him and how much I’ve missed him.

I know it doesn’t make sense, but I can’t help but think…wouldn’t it be amazing if I opened the door and the most beautiful man in the world was inside holding Milo? The idea ran through my head and it felt right.

I roll my suitcase in and leave it by the front door. I grab a glass of water, take a seat on the couch and look around. I love my place. It’s so me. It’s clean and modern. It’s girlie and pretty. It took me three years to finish decorating it. I took my time, and because of that, I love every piece in there. I’m comfortable there and I’m proud of the life I’ve created for myself. Although I’m happy to be home, I can’t help but notice that the space I normally love because it’s quiet was too quiet, the space I normally love because it’s calm was too calm and the space I normally love because everything is in it’s place, almost looked too perfect.

I just had the first date of a lifetime and conversely, quite possibly one of the deepest realizations of my lifetime. Life is beautiful as is, and perhaps an even more beautiful version exists when shared with the right person. Had I just had a taste of the latter? Milo and I cuddle and I tell him that I met someone very special.

Ding - The most beautiful man texts. It’s a screenshot. What is it? I take a closer look - OMG, he just sent me a screenshot from the background check company. They are STILL emailing him that he has three background check views from an anonymous source in Philadelphia. Come on!!! That was SO last week!

I text back, ‘I’m so glad you checked out to be perfect.’

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