The One That Got Away

March 12, 2005 at 2:36 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Too many stories have been told about the longing and the regret we associate with the things that slip us by. In relationships, this takes the form of the “what if”s we sometimes toy with inside our heads. There are people out there who talk about the one that got away, that one we never noticed while he slipped through the cracks and out of sight.

The drama often centers around that person, the one who never saw what he had until he’d finally lost it. After all, he’s the one who screwed up, the one who couldn’t commit, or couldn’t say out loud how he felt, or couldn’t see himself with the one that got away, or was just too damn proud to put one foot forward. He’s the one who has to live with the bad decision he’s made. He’s the one doomed to reminisce about the one that got away. It makes for such potent writing, doesn’t it?

But here’s the thing that gets me thinking — what about the one that got away? How come nobody pays him enough attention? Just because he’s out of the eksena doesn’t invalidate his presence, right?

He’s the one who sent out the signals. He’s the one who was there when he wanted to shut out everything and everyone around him. He’s the one who was there when he needed to sound off, he was there when he wanted silence and presence at the same time. He was there when he wasn’t what he wanted because he was what he had.

The one that got away is the person our friends always tell us would have been our perfect match. And it’s just too bad because we do not hookup with lovers so our friends can sleep with them. He’s the one we just couldn’t see falling in love with, or maybe we did fall in love with him, but always made us feel like something else was lacking, an intangible absence that did not make us want to pursuit the relationship.

But what happens after he leaves? Maybe he doesn’t leave in the sense that he hies off to the US or some other place. Maybe he’s still around, maybe just around the next corner, but by getting away, we take it to mean that he’s just stopped being available, ceased building his world around him as if he was at the center of his life.

In short, the one that got away is the one that moved on. By saying that we do not necessarily mean he’s in a better place. He may also be longing to go back, to want to be there,to even hint at amends, or another shot at things.

Maybe he’s just lingering, whether what did or did not happen could have been different given even the tiniest change in details, or would the consequence still be the same and he will still be some place else, and not in his bed holding him?

We usually dwell on the one living with the regret because his dillema is the stuff tragedies are made of. But I get to thinking that the one that got away could probably be living in his own box of unresolved questions as well.

Maybe the one that got away is still looking for himself out there. Maybe he’s holding out for what life has in store for him. Maybe he is happy, maybe he is not. But just as he wanted what did not want him back, or in the words of Savage Garden, “(gave up his) love to a world that didn’t want it anyway”, so should we disabuse ourselves of the thought that the one who got away = the one who got off easy.

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