The Look

30 Oct

Here I am, a quarter to midnight, re-watching the entire series of The Office on Netflix, when “Niagra, Part 2” begins. I know from experience that it’s going to make me cry (weddings, real or fake, always do).

Jim and Pam are, in the eyes of at least 83% of the female population, television’s ultimate couple. The two actors are incredible at making their chemistry and love jump off the screen so that the audience truly believes they are that perfect married couple. And countless girls (myself included) have put Jim Halpert at the top of their ideal husband list.

Weird inside jokes and romantic gestures aside, I think the one thing that always made them so lovely to watch was the fact that they always exchanged “the look” with each other. You know what I’m talking about. The director of The Office always made sure to include the looks of pure adoration that Jim would exchange with Pam. Because he knows… those looks are what make the relationship so powerful.

My Mom and Dad divorced when I was 5, so I grew up watching my parents exchange barely-civil looks rather than loving ones. However, I do have grandparents that still give each other those Real looks. They are my real-life Jim and Pam.

My PopPop was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease a number of years ago. Over the past year, he has faded rather quickly. He doesn’t know any of us, or any of his past life. He’s in the last stage, meaning he doesn’t really eat or speak anymore and can’t perform basic functions like dressing himself. And my Grandma, who is a saint, refuses to put him in a home because she wants to be the one who takes care of him.

It’s really hard to see him when I go home to visit, just because it’s painful to see a man who was so talented and intelligent be reduced to incoherent mumbles in a chair. He doesn’t even know the woman across the room from him is his wife of almost 52 years. But what’s incredible is that he does know he loves her. How do I know this? Because he still gives her that look.

He relies on her for everything – from feeding him, to changing him, to helping him walk across the room – complete and total trust. He isn’t able to say basic sentences, and yet I’ve still heard him say “I love you” to her. He will be staring blankly at a wall one minute, but as soon as he sees her, his face lights up. He doesn’t know what my grandma’s name is, but he does know that she is the single most important person in this world. It’s beautiful to see that even when you strip a person down to their most basic, fragile state, their wife/husband is still the number one thing in their heart.

I want that look. I want it so badly. I want someone who will cut off part of his tie on his wedding day just to make me feel better.

I want someone who will take care of me even if I don’t know their name anymore. Someone who reaches across the table to hold my hand without even thinking – because they know that’s where it belongs. I don’t like saying I want to be like Jim and Pam. They aren’t real. But my grandparents are. They have a real life, they’ve dealt with real problems, and they have experienced real love.

I recently broke up with my boyfriend of 5 years. I could say it was for any number of reasons… but when I get down to the bottom of it all, it’s because I stopped getting “the look” from him. And now I’m afraid that I’ll never find someone who will give me that look, not just in the beginning of the relationship, or for a few years, but forever.

I guess I have high standards for any future relationship. My ex said they were too high. Initially after the break up I thought I made a mistake, and that maybe I needed to realize that what I wanted wasn’t possible. But whenever I see my PopPop give my Grandma that look, even after everything that has happened, I know my standards are exactly where they should be. I won’t settle for less than what they have. And neither should anyone else.




One Response to “The Look”


  1. … And A Happy New Year | STOP REQUESTED - December 31, 2013

    […] has definitely given me some low moments. I lost two of the most important people in my life. My grandfather who passed away over Thanksgiving weekend, and a (sometimes it seems like it is still ongoing) […]

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