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“The One.”

March 24, 2011
A man paddling in a kayak on the North Canadia...

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When I met Kayak, I was completely buck-ass naked.

It started out a typical Girl’s Night, actually. How it ended? Well, Kayak tells the story like this:

He had received a voicemail from one of said girls who lives across the lake from him. In said message, she informed him that we were going skinny dipping later. Should he chose to join us, she’s light the tiki candles so he’d know we were  starting without him.

About an hour later, Kayak was on his couch, half asleep and on the phone with his mom. Sparks of light from across the water caused him to sit bolt-upright.

“Hey, Mom, I gotta go.”

Drunk on wine and good company, laughing our asses off, we didn’t hear Kayak’s approach. He slid silently alongside us in his kayak…


The next time I saw Kayak, I was fully clothed and walking in my friend’s door. At the sound of my voice he popped his head out of the kitchen.

“Well. Here comes trouble.”

So began the Summer of 2006. I hung out with Kayak and a group of friends that live in my neighborhood almost every weekend, and most Thursday nights. Since we could all walk home, we drank far more rum than we should have, swam naked in the river whenever we had the chance, got far too little sleep, and pretty much had a ridiculous good time.

The chemistry between Kayak and I was palatable. You could not be in a room with the two of us and not feel it. Just meeting his eye made me go weak in the knees. I remember one evening, all of us more than a lil drunky pants, him looking straight at me from across the dining room while telling his friend what a beautiful body I had. So, really, he was talking to me, not his friend. I might have wet myself.  In the good way.

Naturally, in stories that start out this good, there’s always a catch. This one is no exception.

Kayak had started dating someone about three weeks before he met me. She would later become Mrs. Kayak, mother of Baby Kayak.

Not that I need to say it, but the Future Mrs. Kayak never liked me. Ever. Not even a little bit. It wasn’t that Kayak ignored her to talk to me… we just really couldn’t ignore each other period. When I look back, I don’t remember him being rude to her or anything… it’s just… we couldn’t stay away from each other. It was the whole palatable-chemistry thing. The rum didn’t help.

Furthermore, they weren’t serious just yet, during that summer. And Kayak and I weren’t really all over each other… physically

Except for… that one night.

Shit-faced drunk and in the wee hours, we went back to my house with his younger brother (oh, my then-roommates were not pleased with me). There were some very steamy kisses on the back porch. I practically begged (seriously – but really it was the rum begging) him to stay. His bro even offered to cover for him.

He couldn’t.

Look. I’m not a horrible person. Part of it was I knew (but couldn’t tell him because she didn’t know I knew and I couldn’t betray the person who told me – know what I’m saying?) that the Future Mrs. Kayak was still fucking her ex. Part of it was the rum. Part of it was… OMG. Not fucking you is making me insane.

And when I say he couldn’t? I actually mean that. I know I should probably say wouldn’t but… he’s a rare breed of dude that honestly cannot have sex with someone else like that. Just can’t. Sure… the kissing… but… sex? New boundary he couldn’t ok fine wouldn’t cross.

That was that.

From that night on, things were different. He had made a choice, and despite being upset about it, I respected it. That night , he started down the road that would lead to Mrs. Kayak and Baby Kayak… and that decision signaled the end of our ridiculous flirtation.

However, the one thing we couldn’t change was the chemistry between us. So, instead, we started avoiding each other. We could no longer pretend we were the only two people in the room, could no longer give in to how good it felt to be near each other. We had pretended for long enough, and reality had set in.

I moved in 2008 (to my fucking amazing cottage) and didn’t see that group of friends very often for the next couple years. Part of that was I started dating someone too, and ended up growing close with his friends. More recently, however, I’ve re-connected with them… and remembered how awesome they are.

A few weekends back, I saw Kayak. And Mrs. Kayak. Who may or may not be preggers again (can’t really tell because she had on three layers, including a mock turtleneck – which is weird, who wears that to a bar? – and lawd knows I am the LAST person to inquire if her weight gain is a pregnancy…)

The chemistry is still there. Still undeniable – but we still act like, for the most part, it is. When the Kayaks left, he gave me a massive bear hug and told me how good it was to see me. Gaw… he’s so adorable.

On my way home that evening, I wondered what would have happened had we met first.

Knowing him, and knowing me, and knowing us together – we would have fallen effortlessly into bed. And into dating. And into a relationship. It would have been the one-night stand that that didn’t end in the morning. And, more than that, it would have been simple. Easy. It would have felt natural. Right.

And yet.

My life would have been… so different.

I believe the relationship Kayak and I could have had would have been so good, I do not think I would have allowed Kay to ruin it, as she did with the one I was in when I met her. And the following one-point-five-or-thereabouts years? My Really Bad Shit? May not have happened at all.

But… Despite all of that heartache, all of that drama…  it is almost shocking to think about the things I would not know, the lessons unlearned, the doors unopened… and the relationships not forged as a result of that fucking nightmare.

As for Kayak? Yes, that summer Mrs. Kayak was fucking someone else, even when he wouldn’t betray her and do the same.  Yes, Baby Kayak was an accident that turned into a marriage, but… I have no reason to believe Kayak is not in love with Mrs. Kayak. And she with him. I don’t think she has cheated on him since. As far as I can tell, they are very happy together. So it’s not as if he choose poorly.

In addition? And perhaps more importantly? I would not have given him Baby Kayak. Yeah yeah, I know –  obviously because I am not Mrs. Kayak. But… I would not have given him any Little Kayaks. Period. Even if, had the relationship been as good as I think it would have, we may have gotten hitched (yikes – there’s a thought), I am nowhere near ready for children. I’m not sure I’ll ever have them. To be frank, I don’t even really like children.

He adores his son. He is one-hundred-percent head-over-heels in love.

I would not have given him his son.

I have two points to make, as I wrap this one up.

First, “The One.”

There is ample evidence that Kayak would have been happy with both me and Mrs. Kayak. There is ample evidence that this was simply timing. And yet. Am I bitter? Do I think he should be with me and not her? Do I think this is wrong and we should be together? No. I don’t. Yes – timing is a factor, but we are both good “matches” for Kayak (for lack of better terminology… good god.)

The thing of it is – despite what we’re told constantly by Hollywood and popular culture, we shouldn’t spend our time chasing The One. The very idea is a myth. You don’t have another half out there somewhere (seriously – I’d like to own a unicorn too but…). Instead, it’s about the person who is into you for who you are, all of you, at that time in your life. From there, it’s about growing, evolving, living, loving, together.

And sometimes? There is more than one person. Sometimes, of course, there doesn’t seem to be anyone. But maybe? That’s the time to focus on you.

And, even if you find someone, sometimes you don’t grow and evolve together… sometimes it’s growing apart.

These are not things to fear. This is life. These are not things to cover up by believing there is one person who will complete you (vomit) – thinking that ideal will mean someone who will never leave you, who will love you because you are their soul mate… as opposed to loving you for who you are as an individual, as you exist in your life right nownot because you are the other half of their soul. I mean.. how bizarre is that, really? When you think about it?

Second… we all have these people in our lives that we look back on and wonder. Or those that broke our hearts and we look back on and pine. We focus so much attention on the person… on a relationship we miss or never had.

But…. what about life? What has life provided you with, in the absence of that person or that relationship? What is your world, now that they are not there? What you’ve lost is easy – but what have you gained? What have you learned? What doors have been opened? What other relationships forged?

Of course – these questions require you to be active in your life. To re-focus energy from remorse and loss, to future and growth. Yes, we all have to grieve, the importance of that part of life should never be underestimated, but what do we do with what life provides, in spite of our grief, our loss, our remorse?

I still wonder about Kayak. He still makes me more than a little weak in the knees. I don’t doubt, when our eyes meet, that he feels it too. But… such is life.

And, if I ever feel remorse, I look at the things life has given both of us. That we would not have, if he had met me first.

34 Comments leave one →
  1. March 24, 2011 10:46 am

    Every choice made leads to a different future. Looking back and pining for this and that makes no difference. As humans we evolve due the consequenses of our and other persons actions. It is up to us how we use that growth and how we let it shape us and our lives.

    We are in charge of our own lives. Future…here I come. 🙂

    • March 24, 2011 1:58 pm

      Exactly. While we should always allow ourselves to feel pain, sadness, and loss – we should never waste energy looking back – we should be putting what we learned to action and, when ready, moving forward to the next.

      We ARE in charge – Look out world! 😉

  2. March 24, 2011 2:10 pm

    I loved this piece. And I totally agree with your point of view regarding the One. Way too many buy into this concept and hang on to relationships they shouldn’t or give up on ones they shouldn’t because of some belief in a nebulous concept that as far as I can tell was designed to make us feel that someone else’s life is better or more satisfying than our own (Geesh, that was a long sentence).

    One more thing. You’re a better person than me because I don’t know if I wouldn’t have spilled the beans about Mrs. Kayak and her ex.

    • March 24, 2011 2:23 pm

      Ugh. “The One” is one of the most ridiculous and detrimental thing popular culture does to real relationships and people. It’s a myth we somehow feel like we’re supposed to have… that we’re supposed to search for. And it declares us this purpose in life – to “find” this other person, who is already a “perfect match” to you – so therefore *you* are already who you are going to be. Or something. The more you think about it, the worse it is, really.

      As for spilling the beans: You have NO idea how much I wanted to tell him. But I COULD NOT betray the person who told me. My friendship with her meant more to me, it’s as simple as that.

  3. Regine D. permalink
    March 24, 2011 3:35 pm

    this is it!

    “it’s about the person who is into you for who you are, all of you, at that time in your life. From there, it’s about growing, evolving, living, loving, together.”

    thank you for this beautiful piece!

    • March 24, 2011 4:55 pm

      Hey – thanks for reading and I am glad you enjoyed it! 😀

  4. March 24, 2011 7:25 pm

    Beautiful piece of writing… I believe in love at first sight, in that you know immediately when you meet someone if that all important chemistry (not just sexual) is there. This man might have been a possibility, but he is not the only one by far.

    • March 25, 2011 9:44 am

      Thank you very much!

      I think “love at first sight” is a dangerous concept. I fully believe in lust at first sight… but I fundamentally argue that love takes much longer to develop, and far more information about the person to know if you actually *love* them… does that make sense?

      Not to say that chemistry isn’t important, or that it can’t feel like “The One”. I’ve had it happen to me. Kayak was one thing, but the woman I mention here, Kay, was another. The way she made me feel had me believing in “the One” – even if I would not have admitted something like that at the time. But. She was crazy and pretty much destroyed me for a bit there, so… not love. Not so much. But that’s just my experience.

      Bottom line? “This man might have been a possibility, but he is not the only one by far.” <– Exactly.

  5. March 24, 2011 11:08 pm

    I really enjoyed reading this! BUT — one thing you could never know — even IF you came along first, before Mrs Kayak, and had a great time with Mr Kayak, and if you’d hooked up… it’s impossible to say if that would have continued.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m an eternal optimist… but I’ve also had SO many great connections that started off like that, where the chemistry was palpable… and it was over within a month or three. It’s almost easier to think of it as “what could have been”.

    Anyway — great story — I love your writing!

    • March 25, 2011 9:36 am

      Oh, I completely agree. There is no evidence that it wouldn’t have been a simple hot-n-heavy summer fling.

      Except for my gut telling me it would have been more. Because I know this guy, and I know me… I really believe the chemistry was more than skin deep. I believe he wanted more than just a fling, and that I did too. I truly believe that.

      But… who knows if that’s reality or just what I believe. The thing is, it doesn’t matter. And I am ok with that. You know?

      Thanks for the compliments! And your comment!

  6. March 25, 2011 8:44 am

    I really enjoyed reading this. So much of life is about timing….

    • March 25, 2011 9:38 am

      Ain’t that the truth! Like when your BF times holding your sangria *just right* so you get caught up elsewhere for long enough that it goes missing!

  7. Gilbert Lowell permalink
    March 25, 2011 10:07 am

    Well written! You had me at buck-ass naked.

    Instead of The One, I like to think of everyone having The Gate. Some people have a very narrow gate through which only a few rare people are allowed passage. Some people’s gate is the width of the whole front yard and only the rudest folk are turned away. Each individual person’s own inherent flexibility, tolerance, and patience will determine how wide that gate is, and thus how many compatible “matches” there are out there in the world for them.

    • March 27, 2011 2:34 pm

      Start a post with “buck-ass naked” and you know it’s a winner. No matter how it’s written.

      Oooooo *love* “The Gate” idea! Interesting Mr. Lowell… What about Gates within Gates? Maybe your Driveway Gate is different from the Front Walk Gate… and then maybe there’s a Front Door Gate… but then some people can just skip through all of them, see, cuz they know the secret password… and you never knew you gave it out to begin with…

  8. March 25, 2011 6:32 pm

    Oh my goodness. I needed this post. Seriously. My last blog was all about the married man, and a lot of WHAT IF’s … THANK YOU NIKKI. I mean it from the bottom of my heart.

    I just snapped out of my fucking daydream and realized that you are 100% right.

    Holy. Crap (your post was an epiphany).

    • March 27, 2011 2:40 pm

      Yay! Wow – I love being an epiphany! 😀

      But… kind of a bummer epiphany. I need to bounce on over to your page and catch up (been a lil busy lately). I think you need to stay away from Married Dude. As long as he is Still Married. And then, if he actually stops being Married… maybe for a lil bit longer.

      You have to be careful with chemistry. And you should never trust someone who is betraying someone else. You can excuse their behavior all you want, but in reality? It’s just as easy for them to betray you, as well.

      And now I’ll go get the real scoop before I say more!

  9. March 25, 2011 11:57 pm

    I’m going to spin this info a graphic novel on spec. $15/500 will get full rights.

    Let me know.

  10. March 26, 2011 10:00 am

    Sorry it took me so long to get here and comment Nikki. I don’t know if I believe your assessment on “The One”. Unlike unicorns and honest politicians I do believe there to be some truth to having if not a soul mate then one who makes your body and mind electric with every glance.

    My “One” never worked out because she was happy being every bodies one, or one nighter.
    Circumstances in your situation dictated that the two of you were star crossed lovers who were never meant to be. I do respect his decision not to cheat even if his gf at the time was fucking around.

    People always have goals in life, sometimes it’s good enough to have them met part way.
    Rather than chasing that ideal partner that may or may not exist.

    Good luck chasing your unicorn girl, may he have a really really big horn!

    • March 27, 2011 2:47 pm

      I think the truth is in the “makes your body and mind electric with every glance” … but less in the idea of “the One.” I mean, look closer at it. I think calling it “the One” is dangerous, as I said above, and it uses simple chemistry as all you need to define “the One” – when there is so much more. E.g. your “One” wasn’t interested in just you. For me, as I said above as well, I was knocked harder by Kay than by Kayak – and Kay was (and presumably still is – might see her on Tuesday dear god wish me luck) a complete trainwreck. Should “the One” actually exist. neither sounds like very good candidates, really. Despite how they made us feel.

      As for Kayak, I don’t think of myself as his “One”, because I think he is very happy with Mrs. Kayak. If “the One” really exists, than that wouldn’t be possible.

      I respect his decision, as well. I was never angry at him for it. Just sad over not being able to be with him. You know, ever.

      Hey, I’m not chasing a unicorn. I am chasing my life. My happiness. Who I meet along the way is part of the fun. And yeah, let’s hope for big horns! Ha!

  11. March 26, 2011 1:06 pm

    oh man. i related to this post almost word for word. Not just in the not believing in “the one” aspect, or the scared to death to have children aspect, but i had a Mr. Kayak too.

    Same thing, he had started dating one of my friends before we really realized what was between us. Palpable chemistry, the kind where everyone else is like, um, so etiher you guys are getting it on or you need to. Well….He married her even though he had doubts, she tricked him into a pregnancy and now they are miserable cus she has been cheating on him the whole time – as i warned him.

    As he was going through his divorce last year, he looked me up. Chemistry still there. All the ifs ands and buts and should haves. It was sad as we reflected on what could have been between us had he not been so scared to end things with her. Unfortunately, she thinks of me as her arch nemesis (cus she always knew we had something between us) and forbids him from even being friends with me or she uses their son as a pawn against him. (i know, she’s a real peach!)

    But, yes, such is life.

    Never met anyone like him though, probably never will. Not that i think he was the One, cus i really see all the flaws in what would have been a rocky, yet passionate relationship…. but it would have been awesome for however long it lasted.

    The sad part is when you can’t even have them in your life at all… know what i mean? even as a friend? cus, you don’t have connections like that w people everyday.

    • March 27, 2011 2:53 pm

      Isn’t it amazing, how this kind of story resonates – the we’ve all been there thing. Yours sounds a touch more dramatic than mine… yowza. And I don’t think my Mrs. Kayak is the crazy bitch yours is (“a peach” is right). Although… I do think she’s happy to have us avoid each other. And perhaps makes sure that happens, a bit. Without demanding it.

      Your story does make the additional point – the one about someone else settling, when you don’t understand why. After all is said and done, why the fuck didn’t he do what he should have? What he knew was the right thing and stay away from the Peach?

      Who knows.

      But yeah… it is sad when it all has to kind of end. When you can’t even have half. Kayak and I just really get along too – we could be really good friends. But… we can’t, really, because of what’s between us – and because of Mrs. Kayak. On one hand, she might insist on that… on the other? I think he does it himself, so as to not disrespect her. Or something.

      And no – you do not have connections like that on the regular. That is for damn sure.

  12. March 26, 2011 1:59 pm

    This is absolutely one of the best posts i have read. So much i can empathize with and so mnay wise words.

    Especially this: “The chemistry between Kayak and I was palatable. You could not be in a room with the two of us and not feel it”

    I have this myself with Kickball Guy – nearly the same thing. Amazing chemistry, undeniable need to be around each other, and everyone else looking at us like we need to go practice making babies. But of course – chalk it all up to timing. He had started dating someone 3 weeks before we started making out. And things were getting serious with her – while his flirtation was getting more serious with me. It saddens me to think that roughly 21 days are to blame for me not getting to indulge in Kickball Guy’s embraces, feel electrified by his presence, and get lost laughing with him. -The realist in me realizes that we might have never worked out, but I can’t stop beating myself up for never getting the chance with him.

    I still see him on Friday nights. There’s still a spark in our interactions and I know we purposely try to keep people between us because our bodies gravitate toward each other when we are near.

    I’m really into him and it needs to stop. I’m hopeful that his current girl won’t be his forever girl.

    That’s partly why his phone number is stored in my phone as “Kickball Guy who i am going to bang eventually.”

    But let’s be real – I would love to give him more than just a bang.

    You got it right in saying ” it’s about the person who is into you for who you are, all of you, at that time in your life.” Everything about life is about timing. Love and lust included.

    Amazing piece Nikki.

    • March 27, 2011 3:02 pm

      Oooooohhhh I know about Kickball Guy!

      And… I remember hopinghopinghoping Mrs. Kayak would never be… Mrs. Kayak. That she would end up back with her ex. That she’d cheat again. That he’d realize…


      In all honesty, let him go. At the very least, for now. Might be the hardest thing you ever do, but… you can spend time wishing for him, or spend time on things you have control over. You can’t change what he is going to do… and let my experiences, and Blunty’s experience (above) tell you one thing: Despite the chemistry, they don’t fall like you do. They won’t make the decisions you want them to. Who knows why.

      Sucks, but – yeah. Sometimes life’s a lil bitch like that. Sometimes timing really is everything. The key is to only give it the space time and energy it deserves – and to be careful ignoring what life is really offering.

      • April 2, 2011 9:02 am

        Well. Kickball Guy and his girlfriend are breaking up. I spoke with him for 2 hours last night about it.. he had already spoken with his mother about it.

        I dont think things will fall into the way i want them to.. like you said.. guys dont make the decisions we want them to… BUT ..i can’t believe I called it.

        And now my hopes are high. At least for a hook-up… if i can handle only that

  13. March 26, 2011 2:57 pm

    Just found your blog (thanks blunt delivery!) and I have to say, thank you for forcing me to remember that it’s not worth it compromising myself for a guy who mighta been perfect if the timing was better. I totally agree with your sentiments on “The One” …so I should be able to let the guy with the girlfriend go, right?

    • March 27, 2011 3:31 pm

      Welcome, Panache! Glad you found me – and Blunty is pretty much Awesomeness so… if you like her, I guess we can hang out… 😉

      It’s not just about compromising yourself, it’s about wasting your life on someone because you think they’re “the One” (or some alternative definition)… even though they’re completely unattainable. Maybe one day they will be, and then try it. But until that day? Yeah…. no.

      Look at my experience… Blunty’s experience… my Colombian friend’s experience: she knew a dude for TWELVE YEARS and they had all this chemistry… but they were both always in a relationship with someone else…. until finally they weren’t. They had one week together… and then he started pulling the disappearing bullshit. And he has a daughter – and being near his daughter is first priority. Their lives didn’t mesh. And he pulled the disappearing bullshit. And that was that.

      Not exactly your Hollywood story… but… a touch more real, whether we want to admit it or not.

      So yeah. Let the guy with the GF go.

  14. March 28, 2011 12:17 am

    Awesome post – one that has me thinking long and hard about all of the girls that I’ve loved before. Your perspective offers so much clarity to a man like me that usually aspires to loves relentlessly without nary mention of a commitment or that scary “nuptial” thing that they call “marriage”.

    I ponder now if us men have the capacity of being that magnet to the women that determines that we are the one. I mean, (as I also read your response to Panache)… could a man break away from his girlfriend to get back to the woman that he considers his soulmate? Do we even recognize our soulmates?

    My soulmate is now married to a very good looking Italian guy – they have 3 kids now and as I occasionally look at her FB page to see her family, I am left with this burden. It’s a really weird emotion that can only be summed up as a “WTF-if??”

    I feel like a jerk now. But I think I needed this. I will love more relentlessly, once my next soulmate arrives… if she even exists.

    Thanks for sharing.

  15. March 29, 2011 9:30 am

    Thank you for commenting! 😀

    I do wonder how the other person feels – in these instances where *we* feel this connection… does the other person feel it too? What does it even mean? What is real and lasting about it?

    The bottom line, I think, is learning to 1) be active in your life, take advantage of what comes your way, let go of fear – “love relentlessly” as you put it, but also 2) *actively* let go of the past, or of people that we feel connected to but are unattainable. Doing that actually takes work – but not doing that work doesn’t make them a part of your life. It just leaves you in one place.

    I’m not sure if that makes sense… I have another post coming on this topic for Thursday…

    • March 29, 2011 12:26 pm

      This makes total sense, letting go of fear really resonates with me… I guess the hard part is in the execution. I appreciate the wisdom and look forward to catching up with you on Thursday. I LOVE your blog.

      • March 31, 2011 5:14 pm

        Yes – the hard part is always the execution, isn’t it?

        Part II (and maybe III!) are going to have to wait a bit… guest post today and Insomnia Club next Tuesday!

        Thanks – glad you’re enjoying! PS I really like the new lay-out! Super slick! 😀

  16. Movedup permalink
    March 31, 2011 4:01 pm

    Nicely done Nikki. I also agree with your concept of “The One”. I once had an ex tell me I wasn’t “The One” which actually told me alot. We don’t share the same beliefs and that is really important to me. There is no “The One” – that would imply you could only love once and only by this specific person if you are lucky enough to find them and that is not true by any stretch of the imagination. Love knows no bounds. Fall in Love every chance you get! Unicorns do exist and so do fairies and pixies – you just need to believe to see them in the mist.


  1. Being the Other Woman. « Women Are From Mars

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