Yet another introductory email. Yet another schpiel documenting who he is, where he's from, what he does, what his parents do. Perfectly appropriate, sweetly worded, subtly inviting. Yet another declaration of intent suggesting that I should open my world and invite him in. It's not complicated, it's not confusing and it's clear. That's the beauty, isn't it, of agreeing to the 'assisted marriage' scheme? The scheme they've invented for girls like me, who resisted the 'arranged' path, only to realize maybe they do - at the end of the day - need some help after all.
I should appreciate it. And a part of me does. The fact that I can just 'select' whoever I want (assuming he agrees to abide by my selection) is oddly empowering. And at the end of the day, as they reiterate over and over, what is the harm in getting to know one more person? There's no pressure, they say, it's just a process at the end of which you decide one way or the other. And if this one doesn't suit you, well if you 'meet' enough people, then maybe another another one will. And so it goes on.
But here I am, looking at a new email that just arrived a couple of hours ago, wondering which carefully constructed version I should present. The schpiel is simple here too. It was nerve wracking the first time, wondering what to say, second-guessing how much to reveal, how much to show, how much to allude to to leave him wanting more. It used to be fun once upon a time but right now it just feels formulaic and boring. My heart's just not in it. And the clincher, I suppose is his line which says: 'I was wondering if you could tell me a little something about yourself if you are interested'. And I wonder to myself, am I really, at ALL interested?
He seems to be a nice guy. His intent is clear. He wants to get to know me, and if the cosmic stars align themselves in any sort of recognizeable pattern, he'll take it as a sign, and we can begin planning for the forever-and-ever together. And I owe it to myself to be interested. Interested in the uncomplicated, unemotional, perfectly practical, perfectly safe arrangement he stands for. Away from the maelstrom of emotion my life has been in the past. Away from the crazy intense uncertainty I feel right now. Away from the doubts that come with making my own decision. Away from the endless wait for something totally indefinable to 'happen' to me. Away from the guilt that is inevitable every time I dash everyone's expectations in favor of my own whims. Away from the fear of being hurt and heartbroken. Away from what I'm looking at in the face with equal desire to run towards with open arms and run away from as fast as I can.
And as I type the first few words into the empty 'reply' compose box, they go something like this: 'Hi, I'm at Columbia right now, finshing my MA in...' I realize how dismally meaningless this entire exercise feels right now. More so because right now, all I want to do is just believe, believe in you, believe in the possibility of an 'us'. Believe in everything I've always believe in, the magic of passion, the sweetness of being in love, the beautiful possibility of a future together. But I'm doing it anyway. And I wonder if this means I've finally grown up? Or because I realize how much more it will hurt when this ends, if I have let myself believe?