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27 April 2012 @ 10:27 am
The Real LJ Idol: "Different Destinations" (unused story)  
Different Destinations
449 words
In your wheelhouse (this is the fiction story I also wrote for the week 24 Real LJ Idol prompt, but I chose the non-fiction one instead).


All the years we were together, I knew I was never quite what you wanted.

You had your collection of bicycles— custom gear clusters, tubeless tires, experimental frames—and I had a passion for exercise that sometimes overlapped the fringes of your obsession.

You rode and trained hard, charting your life from one cycling century to the next and doing most of the bike maintenance yourself. You loved nothing more than to strip down the frame and clean the gears, chain, and headset, replacing brake pads and derailleur cables as you went.

I had a single road bike, nothing fancy or expensive, and slowly worked the tires and gears right into the ground all year long. I fixed my own flats, but let the experts handle anything more challenging. I learned only what I had to, for cycling was just one of my many loves and hobbies, and not even my only exercise. I cross-trained regularly, seeking stamina and mileage, but in the end it was only about fitness. I might have been leaps ahead of the desk jockeys or weekend athletes we knew, but I had no need for centuries or other competitions.

My interest was a flame you thought you could fan into a blaze to match your own. It proved instead to be merely unquenchable rather than anything with a desire to grow.

We went back and forth on the subject, rarely touching on other issues such as how you couldn't sit still for movies or music, or insisted that hiking was a complete waste of time. There was no room in your life for other interests or activities, and eventually there was no room for me.

We tried, for awhile. You stopped pushing me, and I thought we would find our own sort of balance—that being compatible could be enough, even if we weren't twinned down to the precise color of our souls. But you expected instead that my love for cycling would wither. When it remained solidly unaltered, neither more or less ardent, you finally decided that what I really lacked sufficient passion for was you.

I still cycle, all these years later, and I still hike and run and read and do all the things you felt detracted from something worthier (I'm sure you still do).

I have a husband, now. He loves who I am instead of resenting who I'm not. You're between girlfriends, though I suppose that perfect woman you long for might still find you.

If she does, will it be because she matched the long-held image in your mind? Or because she was the one you finally made room for, in your home and in your heart?

------- fin --------

medleymisty: whitewintermedleymisty on April 30th, 2012 10:50 pm (UTC)
Very interesting. I bet some of my old friends think of me that way, with my burning passions for whatever.

I am violently against having images in your mind of some perfect partner or whatever. I don't have much experience with that sort of thing IRL (thinking about it - really the only experience is maybe how my best friend in high school dragged me to see Titanic in theaters 10 times (at least one of those at the drive-in) because she idealized the character Jack and Leonardo DiCaprio so much - but when people talk about it online it's always so horribly shallow, and it leads to so much pain.

Maybe that's why there's the whole cliche of having to love yourself before you can love others, because I think things like lists and expectations and not being able to accept other people as they are may come from a lack of self-acceptance. Certainly a lack of self-knowledge and a definite immaturity.

I'm glad the narrator is happy now. :)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on May 1st, 2012 12:08 am (UTC)
This story is actually, to a certain degree, based on a number of men I know who actually have this hobby-- pretty much to this extreme! I've never dated any of them, but because I cycle so much for exercise, the topic of "Why not get really invested in it?!?" has come up many times. :0

I like what you mentioned about internal "lists" and idealization. I think the reality of who you love very rarely meets those lists (assuming you become flexible enough to find such a person). But I do fear letting my expectations of people become excessive. It's one reason I chose not to know the sex of either of our babies beforehand-- I wanted to learn who each baby was over time, and avoid assumptions as much as possible. Might have been overdoing it, but it worked for us!

I'm glad the narrator is happy now. :)
Me too! You get the sense that perhaps the narrator hoped the other person would become more reasonable over time, but that itself wasn't necessarily reasonable (or wise). That aspect of an adult rarely tends to change.

Thanks for reading! You can probably see why I chose to finish and go with the other story instead, but it was nice to complete this other attempt, since I'd started it. :)