There is always some trepidation on my part when Valentine’s Day rolls around. It’s as if I try to roll up all of my feelings for my wife into a piece of jewelery, flowers, a card, and milk chocolate. It started on our first Valentine’s Day together. I had spent the week before at school, sitting in front of the stereo and our mountain of CD’s, carefully crafting the perfect mixed tape. That weekend, when my wife and I sat down to the Chicken Cordon Bleu dinner she cooked, I popped the tape in so she could hear all of the sentiment the 90 minute Maxwell tape held (and listen to the sound of my GPA falling because I devoted myself to making that damn tape). That night, I told her I love her for the first time in our then short relationship. Trying to be poetic, I also told her that all I need out of life is for her to be right next to me in the passenger seat (I tried to tie together an automobile, life, and love in to a metaphor. Cut me some slack, love makes us all say goofy things and I was 22.)
Since that point, Valentine’s Day usually had me scrambling around trying to figure out if Kay Jewelers or Musselman’s said “I Love You” more.
I’ve hit a wall though. My wife doesn’t have enough fingers or toes to wear all of the jewelry hanging in our room. I tend to eat more of any candy I’ve bought her and flowers wilt and die faster than David Caruso’s movie career. Plus, Valentine’s Day, like Christmas, tries to elicit behaviors and emotions we should be displaying all year long. It seems silly for me use February 14th as a reason to tell her I love her?
So I am saying no to Valentine’s Day clichés. No to jewelry. For the sake of my waistline, candy is out. The humanitarian in me would rather see flowers flourish and not turn brown and die in my kitchen. But this doesn’t leave me with many options for my wife on Valentine’s Day.
I could act pages from a Nicholas Sparks book? Something about my wife and I running to each other in the rain to embrace on the sidewalk seems a little more suitable for the movies than a Monday afternoon when I get home from work though. I would have made a mixed tape but there is nothing in my house that plays tapes anymore. I thought about blasting a Peter Gabriel song on a boom box outside our window but I risk having the Exeter Township Police Department to my house for Valentine’s Day too. Breaking out in song and choreography at a restaurant with the wait staff seems a bit over the top. There is always a red bow large enough to wrap myself up in, but according to some who I ran the idea by, “How about getting your wife something she wants?” was the prevailing thought. So I’m scrambling.
Because even though I have convinced myself jewelry, flowers, candy, and cards don’t hold any sort of impact, I would have an easier time convincing Orly Taitz that President Obama is a natural born citizen. I have scoured my iTunes for love song lyrics. I read through an old Rod McKuen book I had for inspiration. I dialed through my memory for ideas from movies (“Love means never having to say you’re sorry” my ass Ryan O’Neal).
I have come to the conclusion there is nothing that can properly say how I feel about my wife. No bouquet of flowers, no sappy movie scene, no quotes dripping with sentimentality, no bow big enough that can compare to say much I am in love with the girl who cooked me Chicken Cordon Bleu for our first Valentine’s Day together. I still get chills from time to time when we kiss and still look for her hand to hold. This Valentine’s Day I’m going to tell my wife, today is no different from yesterday or tomorrow or 13 years ago because all I want is for her to be right next to me, in the passenger seat.