Love, Loss, and Men Named “Antonio”
I wish you could all get the chance to come to at least one of my Spanish classes. Because they can be really hilarious. We meet a friend’s house once a week and their mom is kind enough to teach five of us how to speak Spanish. We’re all females. We’re all middle/high schoolers. And we all love to talk and laugh, obviously. So the results are definitely humorous.
Anyway, our teacher has this weird thing about the name “Antonio”, which definitely cracks me up. Every time she reads it in our Spanish textbook, she wiggles her eyebrows and drops her voice a few octaves. “Antoooonio.” Then all the girls start laughing and nudge each other. “Oooooh….Antoooonio!” I’ll read the sentence “Rachel stands next to Antonio” in Spanish and everyone will erupt in giggles. “Lucky Rachel. I wish I could stand next to Antooooonio!”
The first few weeks of class, this kind of confused me. What was so great about the name “Antonio”? I don’t even know an Antonio. How can a name be so…funny?
The longer it went on, the stranger the whole concept seemed. It’s almost like Antonio is a real person, the way everyone talks about him. Every now and then, Hannah or I will make some joke about something “Antonio” did and a friend will ask who he is. Then we’ll glance at each other and start laughing, telling them that he’s some guy in our Spanish class. Definitely not normal.
Then one day I started thinking. I decided that it wasn’t just the name “Antonio” that got everyone going. It was what Antonio stood for. Antonio, according to our teacher, is the most handsome Spanish man in the world. He is tall. He is dark. He has a smooth, velvety voice that makes all the senoritas go crazy. He is…Antonio. That man.
That’s when it dawned on me: There are a lot of people out there who know about “Antonio”. And I’m not talking about the tall, dark Spanish rogue. I’m talking about the fantasy–the man that ceases to exist. We all have someone that we’ve built up in our minds as the ideal of perfection, whether they’re real or not. The ideal husband, who will one day sweep you off your feet and carry you away. The best friend you never had. The perfect children dressed in their matching Ralph Lauren polo dresses with starch white bows in their hair. The exact opposite of reality–of how things really are.
Don’t get me wrong–I’m not that pessimistic of a person. I know that with God, all things are possible. I understand that people can change. I do think that there is someone out there for everyone. But I also know that no one’s perfect. That everyone has quirks and mistakes. And that, wish as we might, Antonio will never be real.
But you know what? That’s what’s so wonderful about life. Once I started thinking about Antonio in a mature, philosophical way, I realized that I don’t want to be that kind of person. I don’t even want to know that kind of person. I believe in a world full of people that are messed up and blemished, but also real and relatable. And even though it’s difficult not to wish for the impossible sometimes, I know that God will give me what He wants me to have, and that it will be better than the stuff of dreams. Or dreamy Spanish men. 😉