Prince Charming

By Michael Armijo

I thought it was a war movie, or maybe a history movie; the previews were very realistic. Children played ball while the large planes flew overhead. The camera shot followed the bombs as they landed on the enormous ships. I could see the determined look in the crewman’s eyes as he fired the machine guns at the planes in the sky above. It seemed like a pretty cool action movie, but I was taken by deep surprise as a love story unfolded while watching, “Pearl Harbor.”

In another scene, a young woman departed from a train, and you couldn’t help but notice the beautiful glow on her face. She smiled, convincingly, and carried herself as though her life was like a child’s dream. The gleam in her eye, the uncontrollable smile, the happy pitch in her voice – she was most definitely in love.

As she approached a man, he stood there, handsomely, in his compelling uniform.  With flowers in hand, hat in place, and his love beaming like a proud 10-year-old home run hitter, he obviously desired to be near her. He was in love; free from judgment, free from dysfunction. He stood there and confessed his love for her, and she believed him, because he meant it. He meant every syllable, every vowel, and every adjective that came out of his mouth. He loved her as no other. He loved her unconditionally.

When I saw the reflection of his heart on her face, when I saw her overcome with the power of emotion, I noticed how she felt, and then it came to me. It was obvious that she felt the way she did because he loved her, completely. He stood there in his fairytale book stance, and he proved he was, undeniably, her Prince Charming.

The look in her eyes, the love in her smile, was just captivating. It was right then that I knew he was responsible for her love, and I understood that as men, we are responsible for our partner’s love. It’s our responsibility to provide a strong, loving arena for the one we love, so they have no choice but to feel life is like a Hollywood movie with a storybook ending. I also realized that it’s been years since I’ve seen that movie-like emotion in my wife’s smile. And something surprising came to me:  I am no Prince Charming.

I wondered what it would be like to be someone who was capable of giving their heart to someone else, unconditionally, uncontrollably. I wondered what it would take to love someone and to feel free from fear, to give it all up, opening up to possible pain.

I wanted to be like that actor. I wanted to be someone who was capable of all that emotion. But more surprisingly, I wanted that stature in life, and not for me, but for my wife. I wanted to become something that I wasn’t, so that I could someday stand there like that actor did, at the train station, while my wife’s heart beamed with love for me.  I wanted to be free from all of life’s historical pains, egos, anger, frustration, and unhappiness, so that I could be responsible for her undying love. I wanted her to have this life because deep in my heart I know she deserves it. She deserves to feel the way that young woman did at the train station. She deserves every minute of that joy.

Yes, it was just a movie. But to me, today, it’s real life. Because of a simple, believable moment manufactured by Hollywood, I’m doing all I can to give my wife the love that she deserves. I’m trying my best by forgiving past pain and experiences. I’m letting go of agony that bad love once provided. I’m leaving all the insecurities and the egos in the past. I’m giving her my heart. I’m holding her hand. I’m opening her doors. I’m becoming more patient. I’m learning how to apologize more often. I’m being her friend, and I’m letting her be my friend. I call her, sometimes just to tell her “hi,” or “I love you,” and I have no ulterior motive. I am working so hard to earn her trust, to prove to her that I’m capable of loving. I’m learning how to love again.

And I know that a day will come when she’ll smile brightly. She’ll stand there, and her eyes will glisten with happiness. Her hand will clasp my own. Her hug will be trusting and convincing. She’ll whisper in my ear that she loves me. And she will smile uncontrollably. Then I will know in my heart that that I’ve finally provided her with her fairytale, her movie-like love. And when that day comes I will be able to feel her heart from a million miles away, and I’ll know that I’ve finally become her Prince Charming.