In honor of Valentine’s Day, a made up holiday I hate, I invite you to partake in another example of a normal relationship, to counter the Hallmark-induced stupor in which you possibly find yourself as we near the dreaded day of ridiculous heart-shaped everything. You may remember I wrote this post about actual conversations between partners in committed relationships, as compared to those scripted, saccharine-sweet exchanges forced upon you in sappy, overly-romantic movies. I’m just here to help, people. I hope you find this new post equally useful. And remember, love means never having to … Nope. I got nothing.
I am a delicate flower. Emotionally, I bruise easily. John has a deep understanding of this and handles me with care. When he remembers.
John is an executive, tall, very handsome, and charming. Quite the catch. By contrast, I am a writer. Now, for some (mostly those who don’t know me), this evokes romantic images of a Pinterest-worthy home office, where one composes lyrical prose and sips tea, hair coiled in a “messy” bun which says “I am beautiful, even when I don’t try.” This mythical being looks an awful lot like a sophisticated, emotionally stable woman. But you and I know, nothing could be further from the truth. If pressed, I can pass for a normal person, but that involves hours of prep work and drawing on my eyebrows and I usually can’t be bothered. In contrast, John wears a belt. Every day.
As an executive, John mingles with like-minded career types, people who bathe and dress daily. Already they’re one up on me. Not surprisingly, I often feel a tad insecure about our relationship. What on earth can he possibly see in me? Especially when I’m wearing the oversized, overly-stained sweatshirt he calls “Big Red” day after day?
Recently, I had a horrible nightmare, in which John, the love of my life, was seeing another woman. And not just that, he brought her home to meet me, and wanted us to spend the evening together. They kissed right in front of me. He assured me he still loved me, but was falling for this other woman. She, too, was an executive, polished, slender, impeccably dressed in a beautifully cut jacket and skirt. Her hair was straight and sleek, a silky curtain down her back, without a hint of frizz. She still possessed her own eyebrows, and raised one in a perfect arch as she examined me, still in my jammies with Vaseline smeared over and around my mouth.
I woke in tears and immediately texted John, already at work.
“WE NEED TO TALK.”
“What did I do now??”
“I had a bad dream.”
“You cheated on me.”
“It was just a dream, honey, but we can talk when I get home. In a meeting.”
It wasn’t the immediate gratification I craved, but it would have to do.
Once home, John quietly held my hand as I sobbed through the the gory details of my dream. Using hushed tones, suggesting an encounter with a frightened animal rather than a rational woman, he promised me not a bit of the dream was true, he wanted only me. I begged for reassurance. He gave it freely and lovingly.
Tangled in each other’s arms, I looked up into his face, searching, expecting to lock eyes with him in a tender exchange of unabashed love.
He was watching TV.
“It’s Demi Moore,” he explained. “She’s hot.”