the conventions of Valentine’s Day awash from every media outlet and supermarket shelf; there seemed to be no unique way to express my feelings for her other than maybe dying the dogs pink (hard to do, one being black the other brown.), pick a few flowers from the yard (dandelions mostly) or have a special dinner waiting (Light bulb).
A guy wants to do something beside walk around, Neanderthal knuckles dragging in the dirt, offering up some hand crafted, crayon smudged paper card with stick figures and a lopsided heart. There’s nothing inspiring about a guy lounging in sweat pants all day. And just why they’re called sweat pants anyway, you wear them for the elastic waist and comfort while eating cereal in front of the T.V., not to crawl into all hot and sweaty.
Now, I’ve got nothing against Hallmark, flowers or chocolate. Especially chocolate, but I wished for something that would allow us to truly connect, to take a moment and genuinely cherish our time together and appreciate how precious, how short, it all is.
Some way to wash away the harsh edges and put on a softer focus; so I cooked, it’s the only thing I do well. I cleaned house and softened the lights, washed the dogs and put on music, dug out some photographs from the old days, lit candles and filled the house with the perfume of simmering soup, sauces and aftershave.
This isn’t a rant against the commercialism of it all; every one has to pay the rent, and it’s not like we don’t create some package for every imaginable holiday, it’s just that we wish, every now and then to shift into the extended, slow play version rather than the frenetic pace of life as it always seems to be. Valentines Day is a day for Romance, the one day especially manufactured to part the sea of daily routine and reignite the electricity of that first time you met, held hands or kissed.
Barb’s hand was so small when we met in High School, I recall feeling like some great unwashed ape with an egg; do you lace the fingers together or hold it as you would an orange; will she jerk away as if scalded and if not, well, then what.
I do remember never wanting to let go; I can forever close my eyes to see her, standing in the old school hallway by the lockers in that short 60’’s skirt and long hair or at the counter of the long ago downtown clothing store, her eyes a sparkle for only me, the shy smile a tentative opening of a door, our yellow brick road just outside awaiting our first steps together.