At times in my past I have felt that I am doomed, in some small secret but unarguable way. Doomed to fail at relationships. My metaphor is that I'm the four foot kid with a club foot who keeps going out for the basketball team, while his friends wince. Each year, I think, "this is going to be the year," and although I get my hopes up it never works. My friends are loyal but I wonder, each time I don't make the team, if they've inwardly been rolling their eyes all along, cringing at my aspirations, trying to divert me to the chess club or the literary magazine or anything but the damn basketball team that I'm just doomed not to succeed at.
Anyway, most of the time I think I've gotten over that. It only comes out when I'm being very mean to myself, this suspicion that I have some kind of romantic club foot that will keep me off the team, no matter how earnestly I practice and how many times I show up for tryouts.
The last time it came back, or maybe the time before, I was really feeling low. I was trying to explain the certainty that I am doomed to my Housemate, and somewhere in the conversation she asked if I thought I was the only person who was doomed, or were other people doomed like this, too? I thought about that a while and said, well, I hate to say it, because she's wonderful, but I think our friend Elizabeth might be doomed, too. And I hope she isn't, but it seems like she might be. Elizabeth's about ten years older than us, and smart, fun, cool, interesting, spunky, cute, sociable. And I'd watched her struggle and get hopeful and then lose relationships. She seemed like a kindred spirit -- blessed in all kinds of ways but sharing my secret doom fate when it came to men.
But Elizabeth's getting married on August 20th. A couple of years ago she met a man at a conference and they've been crazy in love almost right from that moment. I've been waffling about going to the wedding. It's far away; it'll be expensive and logistically tricky to get there; there's a regatta here that I should be around for; I won't know too many people and those I know will be all paired up. But today I decided to go. I know it will be beautiful and thoughtful and full of reverence and celebration. Maybe there's no such thing as doom.