As the mini-bus headed towards the Great Ocean Road, the couples around me were being mushy. One couple was feeding each other grapes. Another couple was pinching each other’s cheeks. The third was having a cute argument about something insignificant. Yet another young teenage couple was ferociously making out at the back. I sat between them all.
Single but not ready to mingle.
Commitment. I hate that word. I’ve never acquainted myself with it. I was very little when my parents divorced and I’ve lived with my mom all my life. She was never miserable; in fact, she looked as happy as could be. I used to compare her with my friends’ married mothers, who looked disheveled and upset all the time. I guess I had made a decision subconsciously never to get married.
What’s the big deal about being in a relationship anyway?
Our first stop was The Twelve Apostles. These structures are quite unique. Basically, the force of the oceans had eroded the cliffs into caves that eventually collapsed. These further eroded into nine separate rocks. Yet, ironically, they were termed The Twelve Apostles. Clearly the people who coined the term didn’t know how to count. They looked like mini-islands in the middle of the sea. It was one of the most beautiful sights to behold.
As I was enjoying the sight, the couples around me were clicking selfies and jumping pictures. The most annoying couple was undoubtedly the teenagers. Firstly, I have no great regard for teenagers as a race. Secondly, I’m completely against public display of affection. The irritating duo were taking 2 million pictures while kissing, hugging, touching, pouting, making silly faces and anything insane you could ever think of to add to that list.
Looking at them made me think of the time I was a teenager, like a decade earlier. I was pretty much a geek with braces, nerd glasses and perfect grades. Ours was an all-girls school. My group of friends was just as nerdy as I, and most often, we would fan-girl over rock musicians. A boy in the neighboring school (super fat and nerdy) once asked me out at a mutual friend’s party. I felt so awkward (since I had never spoken to a person of the opposite sex before, and was never interested in doing so, due to my parents’ divorce) that I kicked him in the balls and ran away. I never went to a mixed party again.
I never really understood the whole concept of love at all. My way of looking at it is that you basically partner up with someone, listen to all their demands, and do naughty stuff with them in return. Eventually, you decide to mutually cohabitate and produce offspring. Soon enough, you get bored of one another and become more friends, less lovers. What was the point of the whole process then? You could have just stayed friends in the first place. It would avoid all the unnecessary fights, betrayal and what not.
Betrayal reminded me of a failed relationship I once had. I have had a total of two relationships in my life, and neither one lasted more than six months.
We stopped over at the London Bridge Arch for lunch. Similar to The Twelve Apostles, this arch had been shaped by oceanic erosion. The cliff had been attached to the bridge until 1990, when it collapsed. A couple had been on the other end of the bridge and they were saved by a helicopter. The icing on the cake was the couple was actually in an extra-marital affair and their treacherous faces were splashed all over the media.
This was similar to my first relationship during my first year in college. I had become a little less geeky by then, and the guy who asked me out, was kind of cute and smart at the same time. I went ahead without any notion of commitment in my mind. The boy, on the other hand, turned out to be downright emo. He needed me to speak to him every second on chat. I ignored him for a day because I really couldn’t handle it, and the next thing I know, he is cheating on me with my roommate. It gave me a good excuse to break up with him as I didn’t know how to in the first place. The clingy types are the worst, I tell you. This one was clingy, a douchebag and a cheater.
I look out of the window on our way to the last stop. The sun was setting slowly over the beautiful Australian coastline. I’m glad I decided to go on this trip. I was visiting my aunt and uncle in Melbourne on a vacation from work, and decided to go alone to the Great Ocean Road. The sea was sparkling and the sky was orange. I wonder if the Sun ever gets lonely being up there all alone. I sure don’t feel lonely, despite being in this bus filled with couples.
I attempted to converse with one of the couples. The ones who were pulling each other’s cheeks. Well actually, they started talking to me. They probably ran out of things to say to one another. I got to know their whole love story without asking. They were engaged to be married the year after. They met in college and fell in love and just knew they were perfect for one another. The guy was a European and the girl was Indian. Apparently they both fought for their love, convincing their families how good they are for each other. I don’t remember their names. Throughout this story I had a confusing urge to laugh but I held it in. Let’s see if they fight for each other or with each other five years down the line.
Coming back to my life, my second relationship was cooler than the first. Both of us were similar in nature and ideologies. We would text when we felt like it, go out together when we felt like it, and got physical when we felt like it. There were no demands or preconceived notions. Unfortunately, he said the “L” word after six months. I wasn’t able to reciprocate, and that was that. He called me “a stoic whore who could not feel love.” How nice of him to think of me like that!
It’s been five years since my last proper relationship. Sure, I’ve had flings here and there, but nothing serious. Sometimes, I really think I am a stoic whore who cannot feel love.
The last stop was the Loach Ard Gorge. Interestingly enough, it was named after a ship of the same name after it crashed into the shore. Only two people survived out of the fifty-four passengers on board. Mr. Tom Pearce, an Australian ship apprentice who was only fifteen, saved Ms. Eva Carmichael, an Irishwoman aged seventeen. Both of them hid out in a cave next to the gorge until they were found and rescued.
This story reminded me of Titanic where Jack sacrificed his life to save Rose (who he knew for barely two weeks).
I guess loving someone means protecting them. Loving someone probably means wishing for their happiness. Loving someone means putting him or her before yourself and sacrificing the most sacred part of you. Or at least, this is what I infer from movies.
We drive back to Melbourne in the mini-bus amidst all the snuggling couples, under the starry Victoria sky. Maybe I won’t find anyone to love, or maybe I will. But for now, all I want to do is sleep.
Source of Keychain: Souvenir shop next to The Twelve Apostles
This is a work of fiction. Story 2/365.