With Valentines, that soulless, internal organ hemorrhaging faux holiday barreling down at us like a shotgun full of chalky, nearly inedible candy hearts I figured I should write a little something about love. Course, the mood I have been in all day which is a sour and rather rage filled one, I can promise now that there will be no gushing sentiments of love and bliss to be found. If you see Cupid in this post it’s because I’ve pinned the little diaper clad bastard to the board for target practice. I mean, I was never one to be big on celebrating holidays of any ilk with the obvious exception of Halloween and Valentines is by far the worst of them all. If you have to not only tell me that I need to be romantic and loving to the person I am with, let alone establish an entire day in which I need to do it in, then there is a fundamental problem with the way I choose to or the person I choose to love. Now, that said I am like any man when it comes to relationships and I tend to forget more often than remember when it comes to “the little things.” Still, I try to be sweet, loving and thoughtful in everything I do for a partner even if it ends up going horribly wrong. Here is what I mean:
For the last three years now I have had to work 2-10 at night. My partners on duty, both female, are away from the men they love and stuck with me instead. So, for three years now I’ve bought the stuff to make dinner. Au gratin potatoes and oven bake chicken with some mac and cheese. The oven at work is a poorly wired monstrosity so, if the chicken is going to be cooked to edible standards I either have to slice it up ultra thin or bake it at almost 500 degrees. Every year I fix it and every year I have to take their plates back from them and recook the chicken. Why do I do it though? Because I want to show people who I spend more time with than my family that I love them.
This got me to thinking about other fails that have happened over the years. Bringing my (ex) wife roses and a gift to which her response is “Eh, thanks.” Trying to take a girl out to dinner only to find out I actually didn’t have money when I thought I did. Yeah, cause nothing says romance quite like “Babe, let me take you out to a dinner that you’ll likely have to pay for.” Now, alone and likely to remain so for quite a while to come I look back at the rather small contingent of women I have been involved with and loved in 29 years and I find myself wondering what I would tell them if I could.
There is, of course the cliched “I never meant to break your heart” and “I’m sorry” because, ultimately, whenever a relationship ends there is a sense of betrayal, hurt and anger that lingers for a while if it really was love. But there is more.
“I’m sorry I wasn’t there when you needed me.”
“I should have said ‘yes’ and trusted you.”
“You could have talked ’til you were blue in the face. My head was up my ass in those days.”
“You deserved better than a phone call.”
There are so many things I wish I could say to these past loves. Most of them are still friends or on speaking terms at least with me and I can safely say that most have found love and happiness without me as their man which makes me smile. To be loved by someone, to share your thoughts and your emotions, your very soul with another human being in the most beautiful and wonderful thing there is. I hope anyone I’ve ever loved will find that some day. Maybe that’s the biggest thing I would say if I could look an old lover in the face and tell them the most important thing that could be said.
“I’m sorry it didn’t work out between us but I am happy that you have found somebody new.”
Walking through Walmart tonight they had their Valentines displays up. Candy, cards, cheap lingerie and bottles of sparkling grape juice since you can’t actually sell wine in a grocery store in this ridiculously backwards state. I’m used to being alone on Valentines. Even at points in my marriage I was completely alone sitting right beside the person I loved. I don’t know. I just feel like it’s a silly holiday, a tradition that has no solid, historical roots. Ask anyone about the history of Saint Valentine’s day and you’ll get a different answer out of every one. Even websites and books tell different stories. There is nothing better than loving and being loved by someone but it shouldn’t be because it’s a special day on a calendar. If you’re fortunate enough to have someone special in your life then you should give her flowers because it’s Monday and she needs something beautiful to start her week off right. You should surprise her with dinner or presents or candies because of that look, that magic glow that suddenly appears on her face when you do it. You should sweep her off her feet because of love, not because the people at a greeting card company suggested it to you.
If I could say one thing to that small group of women who I have loved, who, I hope, loved me, it would be this:
“I hope the memory of my love still brings a smile to your face the way your memory does for me.”