Saturday, January 5, 2013

Michael & Fiona, and That Wretched Rose

Dear John,
Have I ever told you that I love you, adore you, and worship the ground you walk on? I just want to be sure you know that.
Right now I have a particular intolerance for romantic movies. And that's understandable. But you know I never did care much for them. I never cared for romance in any form, never trusted it - it can be a tool for manipulation. And I never wanted the "romantic dream vacation" - just being with you in the regular world was all I wanted.
I remember when you discovered my dislike of romantic gestures. Remember that weekend? We were in college, were dating, and you had something special - I have no idea what - that you were going to over a weekend. I hated going a whole weekend without seeing you, but made plans with the girls in the dorm and was having a good time. Then I got a call from the desk that there was something delivered for me. I got down there, and found that you'd dropped off a rose for me and left. And I could have killed you. You had an hour off, and instead of coming by and talking, you spent it going to a florist, buying a rose, and dropping it off. Way to ruin my weekend.
I had it out with you the next night. That's when you realized that it was you I loved, not love itself, or romance, or grand gestures. Spending half and hour with you, hearing about how your whatever-it-was was going, would have been great. Getting a rose dropped off nearly got you killed. We talked it out until you understood. You had this idea - I guess based on television and movies, because it had nothing to do with any of the women in your family - that women liked romance. And that's what you tried to give me. I remember you said that you'd have liked to just come by and talk for a few minutes, too.
So you learned that I didn't want what the stereotypes said I should, and that was a good thing. I wanted the guy that buys the Trane - I always did. I never wanted any kind of fantasy. I just wanted to spend reality with the man I loved. After all, I grew up in the 1950s - I wanted to have a little house, and cook, clean, and look after the man I loved. That's all. That's heaven on earth for me. Just a quiet, ordinary life. And we actually did that on occasion! And when life was unquiet, all I wanted was to get through it with you. We did that on occasion, too, didn't we? We did have some unquiet times. But nothing was unbearable if we were together.
And that's the gift of your early cancer - we never had the luxury of taking each other for granted. We cherished every day. We'd go to bed every single night and you'd fall asleep before I did (since your default position is asleep and mine is awake), and I'd lie there and listen to you breathe, and wonder how long I would have you. That's not particularly comfortable, but I highly recommend it. It's good for a marriage. And ours is very good.
The only romance I can tolerate right now.
That's all - I've just been thinking about that weekend a lot lately, while I've been avoiding romantic movies and television like the plague. The only romance I watch is on Burn Notice, and even you enjoyed watching Michael and Fiona. She's definitely your kind of woman.
And I'm glad I'm your type. You said when you were 19 that you wanted an independent, strong-minded, smart-mouthed woman. And that's what you got. And that's what you still have. And I'm glad that, after all these years, that's still what you wanted, and you still valued that in me. And as I may have said before, I love you, adore you, and worship the ground you walk on.
Sleep well tonight,


  1. I know what you mean about tolerating (or not) romances. I really hate romantic movies, books, esp. ones that end "happily." I feel so cheated. Even now, 20 years later. I don't mean to be bitter, and I don't think I am, but I just don't want my nose rubbed in other people's fairytales...
    Becky :(

  2. What I can't stand is shows about women who kill their husbands. I want to go through the TV screen and strangle them. And I have a hard time seeing couples who have gotten to get old together but don't love or value each other. I agree - I know that "fair" is an invalid category, but don't rub my nose in it!