The other night, I had a dream fit for a Disney film! My vision told the story of a petite, slightly awkward princess living in an enchanted land. Each day, a Wonderful man would stand at the foot of her palace gate and call upon her. He showered her with lovely gifts and charming compliments, until one day the young princess was coaxed from her castle. From that day forward, the two took long walks along the water and talked of beautiful things.
One day, the Wonderful man boldly invited the young princess to his garden.
“It’s beautiful,” he bragged, “a garden fit for a Queen!”
But the shy princess declined, insisting it was much too soon to see his land. The next day the Wonderful man tried again.
“Please princess,” he implored. “The fruit is so beautiful and the flowers, so fragrant. I know you will love it.”
But the princess simply shook her head saying “In time dear sir, in time.”
Upon the Wonderful man’s third invitation, the princess could sense a desperation in his voice. “Please!” he asked again. “You have many royal things to do my beauty, but my heart will soar if only you’d take a peek.” Finally, she agreed.
They walked and walked until they reached his garden wall.
“Close your eyes” whispered the Wonderful man as he led her by the hand.
Ten steps later, he allowed her to view his craftsmanship. She slowly opened her eyes, anticipating a breathtaking site. But much to the princess’ horror, the Wonderful man’s garden was not at all how he described! It was overgrown and unkempt; displeasing to the senses and generally frightening. When he tried to draw her near, the princess simply turned and ran.
In a cold sweat, I woke up. What did this dream mean? I immediately scoured the memory of my last date with Mr. Wonderful for clues.
It’s true---our rhythm was different. There was something off, something strange: Redundant conversation, small talk about the weather; and multiple PDA attempts to fill the gaps in conversation. It was odd and slightly discouraging, but I clung to the hope that it was just a fluke. So, chalking it up to nerves, I agreed to a post-dinner stroll.
When the situation still proved to be…hairy…I decided I had to say something.
“You told your mother you met someone special?” I asked, attempting to clarify what I’d just heard.
“Well I have!” he said, smiling.
“Okay… I have to get something off my chest” I began, gazing into his big, worried eyes. “Look, I like you. We have a lot in common and you seem really sweet. The thing is…I’ve been through some change this year, and I really need to trim this back... you know… take things a little slower.”
“Oh.” He replied.
Fully recovered from her coma, Nice Alex arose to whack me repeatedly over the head with a rolled up newspaper. "All this poor boy did was like you and now you’re criticizing his pace?!" She cried. But I could only think of Carrie Bradshaw as she told Aiden (the most perfect man ever written) that he was suffocating her with his eagerness and certainty. Rationally, Aiden was everything Carrie wanted and needed, yet emotionally, she sensed it simply wasn’t right.
Now---it’s easy to rationalize when you have a team of writers sitting around a table, concocting your Mr. Big; but like Carrie, I struggle with the question: How do you know when it’s right? Is commonality and comfort a sign of compatibility, or is it a sign that your counterpart isn’t challenging you enough? Is fear an indication that it’s not working---or is it the past coming to scare you away from something real?
I’ve not yet decided how I’ll handle Mr. Wonderful, as I don't believe he is truly capable of taking a step back at this point... but the question is daunting: Did the petite, awkward princess run because she was afraid of her past---or because she saw too much too soon?