For as long as she could remember, she had always been a hopeless romantic. She would fall in love with every man that walked past her. And while he would simply continue his life without even having noticed her, she would have envisioned their future together, from their encounter to their first kiss, to how he would propose and she would accept right down to their blissful life together when they would grow old and be happy for the rest of their lives.
Her life was everything that she had hoped for except for the small problem of not yet having found the right man. Her understanding of romance made it impossible for anyone to match her standards, even the most romantic man she had ever met, those who would serenade her, those that would shower her with flowers and little cutenesses, signs of their eternal love — but it was never enough. It was never enough. To her, the perfect man would have to put romance above anything else. And so she waited for that man to come along, to sweep her off her feet and to overwhelm her with his romantic notions.
She wouldn´t settle for the second best and while she kept looking for him, she would endure first her friends´ jokes about her wish for that special kind of romance that would last a life time and then their annoying slights as to why she thought she still hadn´t found him to their pitying glances while they thought she wasn´t looking.
She lost friends over her understanding of romance, because when asked for advice regarding her friends´ relationships, she would point out all things wrong in the face of romance and how her friends´ partners were never meant for them and how if they wouldn´t allow for more romance in their lives they would simply have to accept that they would never be with the person they would truly feel at home with. And although she simply spoke the truth – that if you don´t ask for the love you want you will never receive it – her friends held it against her and just stopped being her friend.
As she grew older and realized that her desire for love didn´t match what the world had to offer, she pulled away from the friends she had left and she didn´t participate in any form of social life anymore. She understood what her withdrawal meant and she knew what would follow, yet she couldn´t bring herself to let go of her hope for true romance and true love.
After years of living her secluded life, she realized that what she had really wanted from life was simply for someone to love her as she would love him and it saddened her greatly that she would die without ever having found this special someone. She began to mourn the life she would have had with him.
She would go on long walks on the weekends, envisioning her perfect match right beside her and she would have long conversations with him in her mind, tales of their deep love and how much they meant to each other.
Every now and then she would stop at a park bench close to the lovely pond, which she considered the perfect place for a first encounter, and she would sit down on the bench and simply stare into the sky, while continuing her conversation with her lover.
And one day, she met a man, quite nice, though nastily pragmatic about everything in life, who sat down next to her on the park bench one day. It took weeks before they spoke their first words, months before they would exchange names and start telling each other about their lives. And while he was a nice, decent man, she knew from the beginning that he wasn´t her true love and he knew she wasn´t his either. Their ways of thinking were so different from another that they seemed completely incompatible. Yet they talked and they enjoyed each other´s presence and she was happy to have someone to talk to and someone who would tell her things and during those hours spent at the pond, they would both simply be and leave their perspectives on life aside for at least a little while.
After having known each other for two years, they discussed why they were alone and without friends and even though he was a pragmatic and she was a romantic, they discovered pretty astonishing parallels between their lives and the decisions they had made and that had gotten them to this point in their lives. He wanted to have a woman by his side that would respect him for who he was and would hold his hand through the rough times. She told him what she wanted from a man and they both realized that they basically wanted the same thing, but both saw it from a completely different viewpoint.
So they sat on the bench, both lost in their own thoughts, staring up to the sky, when he turned to her, took her face into both of his hands, looked her in the eyes and said: “Just imagine this was a what if-scenario. Imagine that I was the man you wanted to be with and that we were happily married and you would understand that when I´m being too pragmatic about life it doesn´t mean that I am not in love with you and I would understand that when you wish for rose petals and candles burning and sentimental music playing, you would also settle for a whispered ‘I love you’ when we are in bed and it´s dark and I think you are already asleep but you aren´t. Just imagine this was an alternate reality to the somehow sad one we are living and that instead of having fought to not have to accept any compromises we actually did and that the compromise that gave us so much grief when we settled to for it turned out to be the best decision we´ve ever made. Imagine that settling for what we considered second best actually made us happier than we have ever been in life. Imagine that a scenario, as unlikely as the one I proposed, could actually be a reality we would both be more than happy with. Imagine, that the what-if was actually real. Imagine.”