Dirty and Sweet

Dirty Valentines

Well, I’m blushing. (Supposedly my parents read this.)  I’m not sure I even know what half of these phrases mean. Still, I think these little cookies are brave: for me love is dirty, and sweet, and surprising. Definitely embarrassing, cute, inappropriate, painful, joyful, and sad.

Zilla and I went out for Valentine’s Day early, on the 12th. For me, the 12th is now a very romantic day: it was a Tuesday, a pianist was playing old jazzy tunes, and the restaurant was relaxing, and slow. Plus, our dinner was a surprise. I was at my desk and I’d already eaten a yogurt because I expected Zilla to work late. But what do you know, a date!

We went to Dinette. The last time we ate at Dinette was on Valentine’s Day, before we’d had our, ahumm, first time.  The fact that we haven’t been back in the last six years is really only a testament to how quickly time flies. We’ve always meant to return. Dinette’d food is very nice. Out date worked out quite well. I’m not being rhetorical, but I really don’t believe it has been six years.

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You know that sonnet by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (well actually, it was by Elizabeth Barrett, addressed to Browning) that  begins “How do I love you*? Let me count the ways”?  “I love you with the passion put to use in old griefs,” Elizabeth says, “…and with the breath and smiles and tears of all my live!”

I found these photo-booth pictures of us the other day. I think they tell you worlds about who we are–and who we are to each other. I, by nature, am serious. I like to look like I have it all together and am doing well, especially when I’m not. Zilla, on the other hand, is a constant reminder that in the face of seriousness often the best you can do is smile.

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For me, love is a funny thing: the more I love a person, the more that love can make me sad. It dosen’t really seem like it should work that way, but for me love and sadness do go hand-in-hand. Sometimes that sadness looks like a regular tired week-night fight. Other times it is something bigger: the almost crushing fear of loss that lives low down in my belly. There are so many people I love in so many ways–my family, my friends, people who are in my life now and people who by death or distance or even choice, are gone. When I think about all these many, and how I love them, I feel happy. But I miss them. Or sometimes there is regret or frustration or pain tugging at that place in my belly, and I feel sad.

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A very good friend of mine always reminds me–when I start in like this–not to live in the future or mourn the past. A relationship, a love, a hope, whatever it is, she says, might be over, but no one can take your experiences from you.  Love can end, but even then it is never really lost.

There are people I believe love well–like Zilla, most of the time–who I know feel my love, and people who maybe don’t, who I am always struggling to love better. I keep learning. I think that is the main part, to keep learning to love better, to love without sadness, to remember not to be so serious, and to smile.

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*By the way, Elizabeth used thee, but I just can’t, so I replaced it with you.

And speaking of smiling: I love watching men walk around awkwardly with flowers–like they are holding somebody else’s baby–on Valentine’s Day. I used to work across the street from a flower shop–Valentine’s Day then was so fun!

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