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Meet Javier - Rachel Fillar

I have little to no romance in my life and it’s debilitating. I CRAVE romance. I fantasize about it during the day and dream about it at night. It’s a deep, deep void in my life that has been empty for far too long. I feel like a flower who just wants to bloom and be beautiful, but my gardener is a fucking idiot and never gives me any water or sunlight. Then, SAID gardener gets pissy with me for NOT being a beautiful blooming flower. This guy, (my gardener) used to make me feel like the only girl in the world. He seemed to be so proud to have me on his arm back in the day. It wasn’t so much about the things that he did or said, I could just FEEL it. It was palpable. The energy was there. It was a physical pull between us. I used to catch him staring at me from across the room while we were out at a party or wherever.  We would both be engaged in conversations with different people, but I would feel an urge to scan the room and I would find him zeroed in on me, while half listening to whomever was standing next to him at the time. He would give me this little smirk that would make me flush and fill my stomach with butterflies. That simple look stopped my world and burned itself onto the surface of my soul. That look told me everything that I needed to know about our relationship and where we stood.  I felt whole and safe and wanted and protected and loved and adored and special and beautiful all from those 5 seconds of eye contact made from 50 feet away. That shit was real. Those feelings were real. Life was so easy back then. 


I don’t get those looks anymore. Ever. Like NEVER EVER. I don’t get much of anything, AT ALL. Maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m not “look worthy” anymore. That was back when I was in my early 20’s. When I had my youth and glow. I stayed out late and drank cute drinks. I had fun and laughed and slept naked. Maybe all of THAT, the essence of everything that I was back then, maybe THAT is what got those looks of adoration. Maybe those looks were never for ME. Maybe when the years snuck up on us, the drinking and laughs tapered off, when I started knitting and going to bed at 8pm WITH PAJAMAS ON, maybe I wasn’t so alluring anymore. It happens, I get it. No hard feelings. But I’m low key lonely as fuck and dying inside now. It’s BAD. As in, watching The Notebook, alone (while crying) at least twice a month bad.  


Side note: I fast forward past the old people part (hard pass). I just want to watch young Noah and Allie. Can someone please make a 2-hour long movie of JUST young Noah and Allie? PLEASE? I recently found a new favorite movie to longingly cry to. It’s called The Last Letter From Your Lover, it’s on Netflix. UGH! It’s a good one. But same deal, I skip past all the parts that don’t have YOUNG Jennifer and Anthony in it. That probably says something about me. If any mental health professionals are reading this, send me a message, let me know what you think about that.  


These days, it’s going to take a whole lot more than a fucking look to make this flower bloom. Is it too much to ask that my life VAGUELY resembles a romantic movie? I’m not expecting to be whisked away to Paris or to have a candlelit, rose petal bath drawn for me every Friday night. I just want a few special moments here and there to keep me going. Maybe even once a week, can he not just make one small memory, steal a piece of time with me? (Bon Jovi, anyone?) When we’re stopped at a red light, can’t he just reach over and grab my hand? While I’m standing at the sink washing a mountain of sippy cups, can’t I get a little shoulder rub and a kiss on the top of my head? For fucks sake is it too much to ask for a mix tape to be made on my behalf? I mean, come on. Do you even TRULY love someone if you’ve NEVER made them a mix tape? (The answer to that is – NO). I’ve made him several! And when we no longer had blank CDs or a computer to burn my sick mix tapes, I bought a notebook and wrote out, BY HAND, the lyrics to maybe 8-10 songs. Emphasizing, IN DIFFERENT COLORED FINE TIPPED MARKERS, the lyrics that truly stuck out to me and made me think of him and our relationship. That shit took me for-e-ver. I poured my heart into that little notebook, and I barely got a thank you from it. I’d be shocked if he’s even looked at it since I gave it to him 8 years ago. If I can’t get a mix tape made for me, then asking him to write a country love song in my honor is definitely a no-go. (I asked, he said no.) 


Give me something! Throw me a fucking bone here! It just DOESN’T happen. NOTHING happens. Day after week after month after year passes and its all just BLAH. It’s like he doesn’t have a fucking love language. Dr. Chapman says there are 5 Love Languages; Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch. This man-boy doesn’t do ANY of them.  


Once every three months or so my husband MIGHT tell me that I look pretty, in like a really low voice, no eye contact kind of a way. Once a year I get a bouquet of flowers, usually on Valentine’s Day, when he picks out THREE OF THE EXACT SAME BOUQUETS. (One for me, one for his mother and one for my mother.) It’s sweet. It is. I deeply appreciate a guy who shows love and respect to the women in his life, but come on man, we all get THE SAME BOUQUETS? Shouldn’t mine be different? Just a little? Maybe bigger? Slightly more special in some way? It feels icky to be receiving the same kind of flowers that you just gave to our moms bro. So that yearly bouquet is kind of cringe worthy in a sense.  


Date nights are few and far between and only come about when he notices that I’m screaming/crying more than usual, and he can see that I’m contemplating burning the house to the ground with everyone and everything trapped inside of it. How do our date nights get planned? Does my husband call a sitter, make all the arrangements and tell me to be ready by 5? Fuck no. Instead, as he’s walking out the door, he turns around and says something like “If you want to like, go out to dinner or something, call your mom and see if she can babysit. Text me. Let me know. I gotta go.” As he’s saying this, there’s a 90% chance that I’m on my hands and knees, cleaning up some kind of a mess that I DID NOT MAKE, one child is screaming for me from the next room, the other is sitting on the toilet waiting for me to wipe his ass, I have no pants on and I haven’t showered in 3 days. Yea, thanks, I’ll get right on that. Just one more fucking thing for me to do today. Plan a fucking date night FOR MYSELF.  


Not only is there no romance, there’s no intimacy either. (I’m not talking about sex. There’s some sex. It’s whatever.) I’m talking about connection, closeness, a bond, a fucking RELATIONSHIP. The last time he held my hand was 5 months ago. I specifically remember it because it happens so rarely that when it DID happen, my heart skipped a beat, and I got all sweaty. We were walking down to the Lake as a family. We were crossing the street and he reached out and held my hand. It lasted less than one minute. That was FIVE MONTHS AGO. I can’t remember the last time we kissed more than a “goodbye peck.”  


Side note: I drink coffee all day and don’t brush my teeth until bedtime so maybe that one’s on me. I might be offensive.  


But even during sex, there’s NO kissing! It’s weird. Isn’t that weird? I will get a hug every now and then, which is nice, I guess, but I’m 5’0”, he’s 6’2” and it’s painful to have a long embrace with each other. My back is bent in the wrong direction, my face is smashed into his rib cage, he’s in a small squat and his bad knee is probably aching. And it always seems to happen right when I’m about to pull something out of the oven, so the entire time it’s happening, I’m thinking “Are we done? I’m sure it’s burning. I think I can smell it burning. How long is this going to take? My neck is killing me.”  


Side note: I am truly jealous of couples that are close to the same height as each other. Their hugs look SO GOOD! I wonder what that’s like because it LOOKS amazing! Everything matches up just right, their heads are resting on each other’s shoulders, chests pressed together, arms are wrapped around each other. UGH. That must feel so satisfying. So warm and cozy, like a hug should be. My arms are wrapped about his waist and since he’s hunched over, his hands are usually on my ass, it’s just a mess. If I wanted to experience a perfectly matched hug, my partner would have to be about 12 years old, still stumpy, I’m talking pre-puberty height.  


No good hugs, no kisses, no hand holding, no mix tapes or songs written for me. What DO I get? Well for one, my flaws are pointed out to me on a regular basis, WITH EASE. He has no problem saying shit like “Archer, your hair is thin, like your mom’s.” “Is that a pimple?” “There’s a stain on your shirt.” “Is THAT what you’re wearing?” “Are you going to shower today?” I’m sure, in his opinion, he’s not pointing out “flaws”. I know he’s not trying to be mean, he’s just THAT dense. 


We’re caught in a vicious cycle of him not wanting to compliment me because I don’t swoon after he says it, and me NOT swooning because the quarterly compliment comes after 50+ negative comments that I can still hear echoing deep within my ears. I’ve given up on the expectation of hearing him tell me that I look nice because it hurts too much when it doesn’t happen. When I get ready to go out, it feels like an actual Cinderella/Fairy Godmother situation type of shit that’s happening. I go from messy bun, no makeup, dirty-legging-wearing-scullery-maid to a slightly less messy bun, mascara donning, sundress wearing princess. TO ME, the change is so dramatic, so obvious, it’s hard NOT to comment on it. But still, nothing is said. So, it's whatever now.  


Side note: I do get cat-called every now and then, when I’m driving in my car by myself, singing WAP at the top of my lungs, waving my hands around and doing what looks like gang signs. That will have to do for now. I’ll take whatever I can get at this point.  


Do you know what he said to me the other day? This guy ACTUALLY said to me “It never occurred to me that I would have to continue TRYING after we got married. Like, we got married, I did it, done.” So, I guess that explains everything! It all makes perfect sense now. This motherfucker legit thought that after the wedding, he would have to exert ZERO EFFORT. And that’s pretty much what he has done.  


So here I am. Left, abandoned. Head hanging low as my petals are barely hanging on.  


So, who the fuck is Javier? I don’t know. A figment of my imagination? A real, living, breathing person who is out there waiting for me somewhere? A lover from a past life that has embedded himself deep into my subconscious mind and won’t let go? I have no idea. Either way, he’s a small fire that lives and burns inside of me. A desperate wish. His name is Javier because he’s foreign. Nothing good, nothing true, nothing deep and pure and magical is ever from America. America is quick, shallow and cheap. Not Javier. He’s from France. Maybe Italy. Maybe Spain. He’s 100% pure breed foreign, 20 generations of family living in the same small village, the same dirt, for as long as they can remember.  I have no idea how old he is. 30? 45? It doesn’t matter. Age is just a number and he stopped keeping track a long time ago. Javier is slow and deliberate. Always cool, calm and collected, no matter the situation. He is always present, always in the moment.  He’s not distracted by things like electronics. He doesn’t scroll through Twitter for 45 minutes, staring like a zombie, melting his brain. He doesn’t watch organized sporting events. In fact, he doesn’t even own a television. He thinks REAL life, the world around him, is far more beautiful, far more interesting than anything you could possibly show him through a screen. Javier looks you in the eye every time you talk, regardless of what you are saying. He listens so deeply that after having one conversation with him, you realize that no one in your entire life has ever truly listened to you before. Never truly seen you as Javier has seen you.  


Javier doesn’t talk much. He doesn’t gossip. He has no idea who celebrities are,  and doesn’t waste his time and energy on superficial nonsense that the rest of the world seems to be obsessed with. When he does speak, his words move mountains. They are profound and life changing. You are humbled and in awe of his way of thinking and thank God that he is in your life to remind you of what is truly important. He loves reading. His favorite place in the entire world is on his couch, with a book, under a heavy wool blanket that his grandmother knitted for him just before she passed, in front a fire, sipping on a glass of red wine. We could spend all night there, just reading. Neither of us saying a word. Listening to the crackling of the fire and the turning of pages. Both of us engulfed in completely different worlds, but my head on his lap and his hand on my knee keeps us connected here on planet Earth together. Are you with me? Are you there? Can you see it too? 


His house is OLD. Cobblestone walls on the outside, huge wooden beams on the ceilings. Bricks for floors. Plaster crumbling here and there, showing GENUINE age and character, the kind that Americans fake in their own homes overseas. They WISH their homes looked like Javier’s. He only owns the basic necessities. A couch, a bed, a small bath. A huge sturdy wood table (that he built with his own hands – obviously). This is where we sit and enjoy the delicious meals that he cooks. Yup, HE COOKS. He effortlessly whips up unbelievably fresh, simple, yet elegant meals. I watch him as he makes his way around the kitchen, he offers me tastes, samplings. “What does it need my darling?” he asks me. “Do you like it?” he inquires. I sip wine while sitting on his cool, tiled kitchen counter. My legs dangling, kicking my bare feet back and forth, deeply breathing in the intoxicating smell of the fresh herbs he’s using in tonight’s meal. Dessert is a platter of fresh orange slices with thick chunks of dark chocolate, that were broken apart by hand. After dessert he turns up the radio, asks for my hand and we dance to the most beautiful orchestral music your ears have ever heard. The melody fills our heads, our hearts, our home and is carried away by the warm breeze, up and out the open windows, into the clear night sky.   


I know nothing of his past lovers. He doesn’t make big plans for the future. The only thing that matters is NOW. THIS moment. When you are with Javier, you exist. You are. You just BE. There’s no stress at all. He walks slowly, never in a rush. His presence is heavy, his gravity pulls you in. You can’t help it. When you’re with Javier, the rest of the world melts away behind you. It’s always about you. Never about himself. Truly altruistic, to his core. He stares at you in wonder and amazement. Slowly reaches up to tuck a loose lock of hair back behind your ear.  He lives to please you. With cups of tea, unprompted foot massages and don’t get me started with his bedroom manner. You didn’t know it was possible to connect that deeply to a person before being laid down in Javier’s bed. He has ruined you. You will never be able to be with another man ever again. He has thick, dark hair. Always tousled, always messy, always perfect. He cuts it himself while standing in front of a cloudy mirror, using an old, yet sharp pair of scissors. It’s a work of art. HE is a work of art. Are you with me? Are you there? Can you see it too? 


He picks wildflowers from the side of the road every chance he gets. Never wasting an opportunity to connect beauty with beauty. He loves deeply and unconditionally. Never pointing out the shortcomings of others. He holds personal relationships above all else. He’s good to his family, his sister, who is the opposite of himself. Loud and selfish. He handles her flawlessly. The entire town trusts and values him. They seek his opinion, ask for his help and heed his advice. He’s the unspoken mayor of this town. Javier always does what’s right. His moral compass holds steady at due North, never wavering. The definition of a good man. 


Javier owns a flock of Valais Blacknose Sheep who he tends to and cares for endlessly. They are his children. The love and respect this man shows to all forms of life is admirable. He is celestial. He is too good for this world. 


He has a small fishing boat. Nothing fancy, just some old wood with peeling white paint. We spend entire days out of the water together, watching the sun rise and set on the horizon.  I nap in the warm sunshine, and he steers us far from shore. It’s just us. The only two people left on this planet. Surrounded my miles and miles of the most beautiful blue water you have ever seen. While the gentle waves splash against the side of the boat and rock us back and forth, he asks me what my dreams are. He encourages me to go after them. He always respects and supports my decisions. He never questions which path I choose to follow, he’s always right there behind me, my biggest advocate, my rock. I’m filled with gratitude as we lay there together, looking up into the cosmos. I close my eyes and say a small prayer, asking the powers of the universe to stop time and keep me here, in this moment, feeling this feeling until the end of time. Are you with me? Are you there? Can you see it too?


Rachel Fillar lives in Avon Lake with her husband and two sons. Nonfiction

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