Something happened the other day that has been weighing on my mind. Every year, I buy my mother a rose vase for Mother’s Day. This year, as I was carrying the vase home after work, two neighbor women were getting into their car. They saw me carrying the flowers, looked down, and smiled. After a few moments, something welled inside the older of the two, and she looked back at me and said, ‘Someone is going to love you.’ That same sort of thing happens to me almost every time I buy flowers and carry them in public. Women swoon and fall into fantasies and daydreams. No, I’m not so vain to think it’s about me. It’s about a simple gesture of love. Or rather, the lack of one.
As a student years ago, I was moved by an event that I would see unfold every Valentine’s Day. Women – students, teachers, and staff alike – would eagerly watch the front desk of the college for flower deliveries. With each delivery, one woman would be filled with joy while the others smiled and fell back into waiting. Some waited all day for their bouquet that never came.
To me, unrequited love is one of life’s saddest tragedies. Perhaps it’s because I’ve known it too often myself. It’s the feeling of wanting to give someone special everything you have, everything you are, and having them refuse it. It’s like handing your heart to someone only to have them say, ‘No, thanks. I don’t want it.’
I wish I could change the world. I wish there were no such thing as unrequited love. I wish I could buy flowers for every woman in my life. But I can’t. Unrequited love will always be present. It may even be prevalent. But I try to remind myself and all those around me of one beautiful truth – Unrequited love makes mutual love so much sweeter when it is found. It makes it so much more precious, so much more valuable to hold tight once found. Though it is painful, it makes us diligent to recognize true love when we find it, and to never let go when we do.