Monday, February 14, 2011

What Love Tastes Like (Isn't it so good?)

I'm scrunched up on my half of the couch in BFC&T (pronounced "bifcat" by the locals). My worn grey Uggs dangle over the edge of the faded and cracked leather and my arms flutter jovially through the air. I have the look of intensity, the one I can always tell I'm wearing because my face muscles tighten in new places and I can feel the creases etched between my eyebrows. We're in the midst of a discussion about families and friendship and the meaning of that word nurture that rolls of our tongues and lingers in the air. We're in the middle of a discussion that wanders from serious to laughter to sobering to the funniest-moment-I've-had-all-week.

This friendship is the fullness of love.

Today is Valentine's Day. Conventional wisdom tells me to buy myself some consolation chocolate. I'm single, as I have been for the past 20 Valentine's Days, and I no longer anxiously anticipate a Cars or Monster Truck paper valentine stuck together with a heart shaped sticker from the boy in 4th grade I have my prepubescent eyes on. I'm single, and there are no singing telegrams, no spontaneous flowers arriving at my door, not even the smidgen of romcom. I am not Ginnifer Goodwin in He's Just Not That Into You (repeat, Hilary, repeat: You are NOT the exception. You are the rule!).

And I'm tempted to be upset by this and to wish that it was different. But you know what?

My life is full.

My life has more love in it than I ever thought I would learn to see.

My life is not missing any magic potions, romantic novels, bouquets of peonies (I love the white ones with their fiery pink centers). My life lacks no chocolate boxes, no well wrapped gift boxes, no ring boxes.

We teach ourselves to measure lack. We teach ourselves to count the ways that others are being loved today, count the arms-around-each-other-in-the-cafeteria, the lounge cuddlers, the teetering pile of presents. We teach ourselves to look at our hands and quickly look away at someone else's hands and say - there's nothing in mine

But love tastes like the coffee of the day in BFC&T. Love tastes like the big bear hug your dad likes to give you while you're pouring hot water out of the kettle just to make the two of you a cup of tea (just because, you know. Just because drinking tea with your British father is a good thing). Love tastes like watchful eyes surveying you over cafeteria pad thai, over the round office table that has the permanent imprint of your frustrated hands (But I don't want to learn that lesson!).

These images and smells and tastes of love fill me up to the brim and then even more, so that when I look down at my hands today, expecting the empty, expecting this hand not held by a sweaty boy's hand, expecting no engagement ring, no promise ring, no pre-promise ring, no, Ring-pop-cute-first-date ring... I look down and I see all this love.

I am nobody's "exception" this Valentine's Day. I am not a spouse, a girlfriend, or the typical roles we associate with the holiday.

But I think I have more than enough love to last me clear through five hundred Valentine's Days. 

If you are single and reading this, or married and reading this, or if you are 42 or 24 or 84 or 48 or any other configuration of numbers - what does love taste like to you? Comment below - let's tell that story.

Love this Valentine's Day.


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