Valentine’s Day 1993 I decided to cook. I’d been dating my tactophobe boyfriend since September and had yet to cook for him. Maybe if I cooked, he’d finally kiss me. I didn’t believe that, but I wanted to.
In the morning I went to a wedding. The wedding took place in the bride & groom’s living room. Everyone invited stood in a circle. I stood next to the bride and held the flowers. That was closest I ever came to being a bridesmaid. Laughter and hope filled the ceremony though the marriage wouldn’t last. But when I said my goodbyes to the bride & groom, we couldn’t know they would divorce and then a while later he’d be dead. I left the party to cook lasagna for my boyfriend on Valentine’s Day.
I cooked in the skirt and satin blouse I’d worn to the wedding as if that would be the detail to charm him. He arrived late. Late enough for me to worry that he wasn’t coming, that he wasn’t really my boyfriend, and that he didn’t want to pretend to like me anymore. But when I opened the door he had flowers and chocolate. I took the six red roses thinking there was hope. The chocolates though… I loved chocolate, but the silly shaped seemed obligatory, predictable. “Thanks,” I said. He was never going to kiss me, I thought. I spun around to the oven. “Look! I cooked!”
He laughed. I unveiled the lasagna and it looked perfect. He had three helpings, and I hated myself for feeling proud of cooking. I didn’t want him to kiss me because I could cook. But, of course, he wasn’t going to kiss me.
On the sofa we sat the way we always did to watch a movie. He leaned against the armrest, I leaned back against him, his arms around my waist. A while later he left like he always did, I went to my room to cry, and when he called the next day, I agreed to see him again.
I think about the tactophobe whenever I wonder if I’m doing the wrong thing–as if trying to win an agent is like trying to win a kiss. And just as I cooked lasagna for the wrong person, I’m sending query letters to the wrong people too. It took months to accept that he was never going to like me, and when I knew it, I kept trying anyway.
I don’t seem able to pick the right agent. There is a right agent, isn’t there?
How and where do you search for an agent? What do you look for? How much rejection have you dealt with so far?