When Dream and Day Unite

Every time I had a chance to make a wish, I would basically beg for a love story.
MODEL: gina rodeberg photographer: flÁVIO IRYODA
I used to say, “el amor de mi vida viene en burro”, which means, “the love of my life is on its way, riding a donkey,” hence the delay (it sounds funny in Spanish, I swear). Every time I had a chance to make a wish, I would basically beg for a love story. It is said in Colombia that to have a fulfilling life; you’re supposed to plant a tree, have a child, and publish a book. I have already published my first novel, planted a garden (which counts as a tree), and decided never to be a mother, so - at least in my own version of Colombian terms - I was doing just fine. I always felt like I hadn’t really fallen in love because I like to think real love is reciprocated. I thought I was in love with a lover I had for a few years, but he was never interested in me outside of our beds, which hurt badly. Don’t. Don’t fall in love with a lover. You’re just supposed to have sex, not fall in love. I kept meeting frog after frog after frog. And every encounter was so pathetic and mediocre that I began to think that love wasn’t for me, that maybe I wasn’t built to love and be loved. I was desperate. I really was. I felt as though I needed that love story I ached so bad for. But it just wasn’t happening. I used to dream of falling in love while fucking, so every time I had a good fuck, I’d wonder if that could be the love of my life. I put myself in a very vulnerable position and allowed my heart to get broken over and over again. I wasted too many tears (I swear I did not waste any time whatsoever).
I was on Tinder for the ten years it’s been around, but all I met were dogs, pigs, and frogs. Nothing worth keeping, really. But I never lost hope because I thought it was impossible that they would all be so lame. After all, my cousin met her husband and father of her child there (even though she’d rather deny that detail). I thought there was hope. So, I kept swiping left and right (mostly left). After nine years living in Bogotá, I spent almost a year in Miami, where I hoped things would be different. I met a bunch of guys on Tinder, but it was all the same. Again, nothing special. I kind of assumed love would never arrive. I had to get used to the idea, and very soon, I stopped aching for it. But something had changed in me. I understood that I was the problem and realized I had to make a change in myself for things to start changing as well. I didn’t need a love story; I desired it. It’s very different. There’s an abyss between both concepts. So, I stopped daydreaming about it and stopped making wishes about it. I thought I have a wonderful life; I have the privilege of doing exactly what I wanted to do; And? I have a very fulfilling life. I am also surrounded by love. I don’t lack love. So, I finally breathed profoundly and relaxed about the arrival of the love of my life. I was sure I didn’t need it; I just wanted it. And it would be just fine if I didn’t get it. After all, I am my most outstanding company.
That was my great lesson. There’s always plenty of love around because love has many forms and shapes. There isn’t just one kind of love. I treasure the love my closest friends and family give me. I feel loved. Deeply loved. As soon as I understood that, then I could relax. In the meantime, I decided to listen to my aunt (and therapist), who’s always told me about her college friend who wrote a list describing exactly how she wanted the love of her life and ended up meeting him just like she wished for. So, at night, as soon as I got in bed, I started thinking about who I wanted: I want a pretty face to stare at while fucking. I want an intelligent, cultured, intellectual, and educated guy with a Masters or a Ph.D. (my aunt said you need to be specific). He is a hard-working guy, passionate about what he does. I want a guy that loves music and will show me new genres and artists. A guy who will lust after me and explore and enjoy every inch of skin on every single corner, crease, and wrinkle of my body. Someone from my same social status (I’m not talking about money. This may sound like classism, and, yes, it is, but at 43 years old, I no longer fool myself by pretending that things can work with a guy from a very different background. Believe me; I’ve tried). I want someone who won’t be a slave to his addictions, someone who will lift me instead of dragging me down. Someone that I can learn from and someone who is willing to learn from me. A guy that can make me laugh and cry tears of joy.
Someone who won’t be pretentious. A guy with his own sense of style. Someone that will make me proud… And then I’d fall asleep. Almost immediately after my list was finalized in my mind, I met a guy who came close. But? He never really decided what he wanted with me. One week he would be all about us being lovers, and the next one, he didn’t want me anymore. So, one day I finally told him never to contact me again and went back on Tinder. I needed to replace his penis with a new one. It was all about that… really.
Eventually, I matched with this very cute, skinny guy with a baby face, sexy wrinkles on the sides of his eyes, a white shirt, and a guitar. His bio said he couldn’t stand grammatical errors and had Pink Floyd and Pat Metheny songs as his favorite. I thought This was interesting! We started chatting just like I yearned for. He was challenging, funny, intelligent, engaging, and curious, and we began exchanging songs almost immediately…
This isn’t the kind of story I tend to publish. This one has a happy ending. We fell in love. And how do I know I’m in love? A friend once told me there’s no way I can be in love if the following three things don’t happen: I need to admire, respect, and desire that person. And I am right there. Oh, I am. We are together now, and I am at peace. He is every single thing I wished for, just as I imagined him. And he keeps surprising me. I love myself more since I’ve been with him because I’ve also started to see myself through his eyes. His sweet, sweet eyes. I feel fortunate. We’ve got the power. Each one of us does. We allow others to hurt us. And we’ve got the power to stop that too. I did. I was so desperate and needy that, if I managed, you could too. I promise. Love is all around, and I really hope you get what you desire.