Monday, February 15, 2010

Happy (Belated) Valentine's Day

Yesterday, my husband and I woke up on an air mattress in my in-laws' house. We were visiting to talk about a new project I am working on - a book about my father-in-law's childhood mentor who was a struggling artist during the Depression.

I kissed my husband, wished him Happy Valentine's Day and he hopped out of bed. He came back with a card and some earrings. I had nothing to give him. I had forgotten to buy a card. He said it was okay, of course. He knew I loved him but I felt bad. I had taken the most important person in my life for granted.

I met my husband over sixteen years ago when my ex-husband sued me for child support. He had custody of the kids at that point and I was in the process of moving up to their school district. I had seen my now-husband at a Parent's Day at my children's school. Then we bumped into each other in court. A miracle. The best thing my ex ever did for me, besides give me two beautiful children.

My husband has been one of the great gifts of my life. He is an oil painter and a piano player. A few months ago, a doctor told him he had heavy-metal toxicity - lead and cadmium poisoning. The natropath recommended that he get a sauna to sweat out the toxins. We took our meager savings and invested it in a sweat box which we now keep next to his studio.

When I got home last night, I wrote him a poem for Valentine's Day. It's just a small thank you for a great treasure. I read it to him this morning in the sauna. He kissed me and said thank you. I felt better. I think both of us did.

A Valentine for Edward

Every day we doff our clothes
and walk to the private beach
in our living room, a heated
space closet with windows,
magazines and music. We
absorb the rays of an invisible
sun and dream of places far
away - the canals of Venice, the
streets of London.

Once you traced the outline
of my naked cheek, you
lifted my chin and tilted
my head, your finger soft as sand
on my moist skin and your eyes
stripped me to my beauty,
like Raphael looking on his
Venus in her ocean shell
and Venus opening her eyes
and seeing, at last, what
the artist saw.

1 comment:

Billy said...

To take something or someone for granted means, I think, to do or not do something on the assumption that you are not in danger of losing that thing or person. With some things or people, you could be wrong about the danger of losing it/him/her. I'm pretty sure you were not wrong in this case. And I'm just as sure he was honest in saying it was OK. But we ("we" equals I have a 25th coming up in late April) don't want just OK ALL the time, do we?

Actually, there is nothing wrong with the assumption that we are not going to lose someone on a little thing; that's a sign of trust. But it also makes it harder to spice up his/her life by doing something that is a surprise or out of the ordinary; you know each other too well.

There certainly is nothing wrong with the semi-expected signs of thought and love, such as Valentines Day, birthday, Christmas, anniversary, etc. gifts and favors. It's hard sometimes to think of something that would totally astound (for the good) your spouse, because as I said above, we know each other so well. And the "little" things are important, even if they are no real surprise.

I guess I'm saying that the nice things are important. But the nice surprises can shine for a long time.

It is a lot easier to do something nice AND totally unexpected for a stranger or causual friend than for a spouse. So when you DO come onto something that would blow his socks off (for lack of a more original expression), go for it.

Geez, I sure hope I'm listening.