I met D on the beach next to where I lived. It was on my turf. It was with my group of friends whom I played beach volleyball with every weekend. He was a guest of a friend. And it was that friend with whom I flirted with all day.
But at the end of the day, it was D who asked me out.
Before I could think of a suitable reply, I had said maybe and given him my number.
It wasn’t love at first sight… or even at first dozen sights. As we went on more and more dates, it was apparent that we liked each other and wanted to make it work (as evidenced by the fact that there was always a next date), but something was off. We didn’t click like the smooth scalloped edges of two puzzle pieces perfectly sliding into place. Our edges were jagged and grated against one another, never quite lining up.
When I tried to think about what was wrong or what was missing, one thing always seemed to be nagging me: he wasn’t romantic enough. When I spent an hour slaving over my makeup and choosing a cute outfit, he didn’t whisper wow, you look beautiful. I didn’t get cute little thinking of you texts throughout the day, or surprise dinner reservations, or flowers on special occasions.
It wasn’t the kind of love story I’d always imagined I’d have. I wanted to be swept off my feet.
It took a lot of relationship growing pains to realize that the lack of romance doesn’t equal the lack of caring. And now I revel in our utterly goofy, largely non-romantic relationship. Over the past almost three years, aside from the very first Christmas, we’ve never exchanged gifts on special occasions, knowing that we don’t need to spend money to prove anything.
Even yesterday, as we walked hand in hand past a sign advertising a Valentine’s dinner or whatever, D said, “Oh look, it’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow, guess who’s not getting anything?” And I threw back my head and laughed.
We may not be exchanging presents, but I still have this totally mushy V-day message:
You’re not the flowers and fancy dinner kind of guy. There’s a bouquet of red roses currently sitting on the dining table, but it’s the result of a mysterious wrong delivery with a note reading “to Erin, with all my love, Ron” (poor Ron… no brownie points for him today). I’m cooking all our meals today, and most likely, I’ll end this most romantic of days by washing your stinky socks. But I don’t need grand romantic gestures. Because as we now share our lives together, I know that this is the kind of guy you are:
– In the middle of the night, you get up and climb out from underneath the warmth of the covers, turn on all the lights, and goes to battle with the single mosquito buzzing around the room. I mumble for you to forget about it, but you don’t give up until you’ve killed it, just so that it wouldn’t bite us anymore for the rest of the night.
– You always carry my deceptively heavy luggage up and down the stairs for me.
– You say you hate my stuffed animals and tell me to grow up and put them away… but you still cleaned them for me that one time with your little handheld infomercial steam cleaner, without my asking.
– One of the most recurring arguments we have? Over drinking water. I always forget to drink water and it makes you mad enough to yell at me for it, because you care about my health.
– When you see me playing my iphone game, you actually worry that I’m not playing it effectively, and next thing I know, I get an email from you with a link to the best tips and tricks for the game.
– Late in the evening, when I want to run down the street to grab a bite to go, you insist that you come with me, even if you’re already snuggled up in bed, because you promised my mom that you’ll keep me safe.
– You work so hard to secure our futures. You’re always thinking about the next bigger, better thing. So that our lives will be bigger, better too.
And most of all, you believe in me. You encourage me to be my best and challenge me to be better. Even when I’m not better, when I don’t believe in myself, when I cry self-loathing tears, you tell me to shut up. Not because you’re turning your back, but because you truly think I’m awesome.
But I think that you’re definitely the better person out of the two of us. And it makes me want to be better for you too. So I will try hard to no longer begrudgingly do your smelly laundry or make you food when you get hungry every freaking two hours. Because now I know that it’s through the little gestures that I show how much I care.
Thank you for giving me our love story.
Happy V-day everyone. :) Are you celebrating?