Hand in Hand
By Priscilla Macias-Rosa
Published in ART TIMES January 2013
Amanda and Raul met in high school. Within the small confines of the campus, the world itself seemed small, and the population deemed datable was easily stripped down into a small pool of eligible candidates. They selected one another as a matter of circumstance. They were both at a party one night, and when it came time to pair off, everybody got the memo except them. So each feeling equally offended by the lack of interest from the rest of the party, they came together hand in hand for the first time. It wasn’t the first relationship for either one of them, but after the first obligatory month together, things took a pivotal turn. Maybe it was a conversation, a look, or a touch, but one day they looked at one another and realized this was going to be their first serious relationship. Neither could really describe it, but there was something between the two of them that made it feel right.
She loved his uncanny ability to pay attention to her, making her feel important on a rigid pedestal. At home, she was always made to feel insignificant by way of neglect. At home, he’d always felt insignificant because he was the youngest boy in a chronological hierarchy. He loved how she had no preconceived notion of his masculine inadequacies, and all she wanted was someone who would adore her, flatter her, and make her feel safe. Despite the fact that they had absolutely nothing else in common aside from their own loneliness and carnal desires, they were both subconsciously drawn to one another.
When he told her that he loved her, she was ecstatic. Her lack of reciprocation was completely irrelevant. He was okay, but it was his high level of interest in her that made him all the more enticing. He loved having someone to protect that wanted his protection. He was happy to be with someone who would obey him, so long as he abided by the one stipulation that he would never leave. So there they were, hand in hand, two people content with loving what the other provided rather than loving one another. As time went on, she became less impressed with him and eventually tired of the relationship. All the while her luster too began to wear and she became a nag. However, the more she drifted away in boredom, the tighter his possessive grip would become. His tighter hold was just enough to refill the void again, making them come hand in hand once more. Eventually it came to the point where they’d been together long enough to where sex was not just something Raul would beg for, but it became the next logical step. With no intention of breaking up for reals and nothing better to do, she convinced herself she might as well do it.
Time went on, passed sexual experimentations, infidelities, multiple breakups, and make-ups. Then it came time when they’d been together so long that marriage wasn’t something for Amanda to drop hints about to quell her feelings of inadequacies as a woman, but instead it became the next logical step. It’s not as though there were any more appealing options available to either one of them, so they figured they might as well get on with it. “I mean if not each other, then who,” they each thought to themselves. So they spent more money than they had getting married to make the whole thing more interesting and to convince themselves they really wanted it. They drank themselves into a stupor to calm the nerves, walked hand in hand down the aisle, and convinced themselves they had a good time and it was the best day of their lives. Then after being married for a while, it was time to start have kids. After that, really, what’s the point of not staying together? The luster of parenthood wore off and infidelities returned by way of middle-age. One awkward session of couple’s therapy, multiple drama-filled fights, and pretend accepted apologies left them wondering why they stay together; but the question is always answered by yet another question with even fewer available answers, “What’s the point of breaking up? Ya pa que?” So they stay together for lack of any better options, because their entire lives have fit together hand in hand as a match not made in heaven, but a match nonetheless.
(Priscilla Macias-Rosa lives in Placentia, CA).