You Are So Beautiful

They were the beautiful couple, the couple that smiled and cuddled and clearly loved each other. They were the couple that defied the beach bar odds of random hook ups, ruthless players, ex-girl- and boyfriends, and the usual drunken debauchery. In our casa, where the drama incessantly churns, this couple floated above the fray, happy in their world that only allowed the good to enter–happy in a world in which they had existed for almost a year.

“Did you hear?” I overheard someone say several nights ago. “Melissa and Carl are done. Over.”

No way, I thought. This is stupid gossip founded on nothing. I knew they had some kind of disagreement on election night, but no. Not over. Not them.

Then, last night, when my confident and positive girlfriend was feeling anything but, and she needed a girlfriend to whom to vent, she said we needed to call Melissa and invite her, too. “She’s not in a good place since she and Carl split up.”

So it was true, the golden couple was now tarnished silver.

When you hear that a couple who seemed so right has gone wrong, it makes everyone’s relationships seem at risk. You know the sentiment–if THEY can break up, then what hope do any of the rest of us have in our fledgling attempts to try on companionship and see if it fits? Because if the best of the best can fall apart, why should we bother?

Melissa fought tears as she chain smoked cigarettes I’ve never seen her smoke and gulped down an orange-someting martini. She detailed Carl’s heinous personal attacks on her psyche, how he had an uncanny way to always find an opportunity to remind her why she should doubt herself, how he reveled in his “retirement” but resented her having to work so hard and so much. A 20-year age difference between the two that had once seemed as insignificant as it was endearing, proved to be an unspoken deal breaker. Because at 35 she is in the prime of her work life and ready to start a family. At 55, he is in the afternoon of an early tropical retirement, content to walk the beach and drink at the beach bar.

Then there was the night it all fell apart. When he continually berated her, saying he “couldn’t believe” how she had voted, she left. When she was barely around the corner, he started kissing one of the girl players, and then he brought her back to his and Melissa’s apartment. After a long walk on the beach, Melissa came home to find the boyfriend about whom her mother had said “has to be the one,” in various stages of undress with the girl player.

As she spoke, I had to wonder, had they ever been a happy couple? Had they ever been right? I asked her as much.

“I don’t know,” she sighed. “I had just come out of a relationship that was so emotionally abusive, I wondered how I could ever love anyone again. And suddenly, there was this handsome older man who showered me with affection and told me over and over how beautiful I was. So beautiful.”

We were all silent then, each of us fighting tears and our own personal demons.

How easy it is to fall for the guy who gives you a fleeting feeling of worth. How easy it is to be swept along and ignore the little annoyances that will soon explode into relationship-killers. How easy when you feel beautiful.

A gentleman who knows he hurt me–devastated me–as I gave myself to him in a misguided attempt to purge the boy once and for all from my heart, has worked hard in the past week to show me how truly sorry he is, how he’ll do anything to prove to me that he is a gentleman who adores me “because you are so beautiful.” And while I believe him and sense that his apology is sincere, I can’t muster the strength to welcome him back as more than a friend, despite an unexpectedly wonderful weekend of wining and dining together far away from the beach bar bedlam. He knows this, and he says he understands this. As he reminds me, again, how beautiful I am.

To be held, loved, and told you are beautiful. For an hour. For a night. For as long as possible. Would that it was that easy. That it was enough.







9 responses to “You Are So Beautiful”

  1. expatkat Avatar

    Ohhh RG,

    How this post managed to coincide with my own current grumblings…thank you for giving me some food for thought. Is it ever right, who is he, who am I, gods, the questions that never quite go away.

  2. Deanna Avatar

    Don’t trust a man who adores you because you’re beautiful. He better adore you for what’s inside too.

  3. María José Avatar
    María José

    i think we were the beautiful couple… its so hard to answer those questions : “really?! you were perfect!!!”.
    But in fact, every relationship is sort of a secret to everybody else, right?
    and your last two lines…i want to cry now…

  4. Suz Avatar

    This, on the cusp of my own demons trying to break free, while they roar ahead on the path ahead of me setting up the road blocks. [sigh]

    I understand all of it more than I’d like to understand it.

    That, my friend, is why you are the writer.

  5. JoeInVegas Avatar

    Sorry, yes, most of us guys are bastards like that. Hope you do find one for the longer run.

  6. Kim Ayres Avatar

    I disagree with Joe. Certainly some men are bastards like that, I don’t know about most though. Perhaps the ones who aren’t bastards are more likely to be happily married.

  7. mary Avatar

    I’m with Deanna – and I tell my 2 daughters (both gorgeous; much better looking than I am) often that if the main thing a man says about you is “you’re so beautiful” – you’re doomed. Beware of men who fall for you quickly when you are good looking – its not always bad, but there needs to be much more there. Better the man who laughs at your jokes, listens to your discussion of things that interest you – BEFRIENDS you before worshiping and adoring you (that can come later!)

  8. Kris Avatar

    Geez, RG. I’m running a bit behind you in this suddenly single by choice and what do I do now gig, but this nailed me between the eyes.


  9. mindy Avatar

    As always, your posts go straight to the heart of life and are amazingly true to my own experiences somehow! Wow.