Well, Friday is Valentine’s Day, so of course one’s mind turns to heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, long-stemmed red roses, cards adorned with hearts and/or flowers featuring sentimental verses. Dinner out, perhaps. Or dinner in. Maybe by the fireplace, if your house has one. A long walk in the snow. Or a time of snuggling on the couch watching a movie together. Cupid’s arrows flying hither and yon. Candlelight and glasses of wine. Or not.

Love is a word bandied about so much it gives me an itch I can’t quite scratch. We love this thing or that thing. This person or that one. There are different types of love, of course. Recently I’ve seen this commercial that talks about agape love. That’s the best kind isn’t it? For if there is one thing I know about love after many years of observation, it is not always reciprocal. It can be, which is lovely. But we should never give it expecting a return. That may not happen. Cupid’s arrow gone widely astray doesn’t mean we shouldn’t risk it though…. I’ll stop now before I go all sappy and mushy on all of us.

In actuality, I was just thinking back to my grade school days when we’d exchange little cards and maybe some candy on Valentine’s Day. Everyone in the class would decorate a shoebox. We’d wrap it in white butcher paper and either color or paste on hearts – red ones, pink ones, hearts large and small. There was a slit in the top for the cards from our classmates to be inserted through. And no matter what, everyone in the class got a card from everyone else. No exceptions!

Well I remember the time the “little Valentine rule” was broken for me. It was 6th grade. Instead of a little fold-up card that fit in my adorned shoebox, I received a full-sized one with the image of a girl wearing a crown on her brunette head, as well as a lovely, full-skirted red gown, pictured on the front. It said “You are my Queen of Hearts” in gold script. Oh, dear. A boy liked me. His first name was Tom - I’ll not print his surname here, since he may be out there somewhere in subscription land. He was shy. I was shy. It took a full year for him to ask me to go to a movie. My parents would not let me go to a movie with a boy as a 7th grader, but in a group of fellow 7th graders it would be okay to attend the same matinee. We did. We sat next to each other and probably didn’t say a word during the entire film! The details are lost in the haze of time but it still makes me laugh to think of it.

Several years later, Rick came along. And if the Keith Urban song “Making Memories of Us” had been around then, the line “I’m gonna steal your attention like a bad outlaw” from it would have fit how things played out perfectly. He was unlike anyone else I’d ever known. And he still is. Funny and fearless and so alive it was like sparks would come off him at any time. My friend Melanie always called me “mouse,” in a kind way, as I was rarely funny, never fearless and without sparks. So, I guess “opposites attract” fit for the two of us. And much as I may play at being a writer, words fail me when I attempt to articulate the guy’s essence. Even after all these years I can’t. He simply is. He not only stole my attention, but kept it all these many, many years. And I probably shouldn’t admit this in public just prior to the holiday of love, but flowers, candy, dinner out, dinner in or Cupid’s arrow don’t really matter to me. If there are five languages of love, he and I seem to have discovered how to speak the same one.

And that is a splendid thing indeed.

May you get your heart’s desire come Friday. Whatever that may be.

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