There Is Love
I hate Valentine’s Day. I could get into why I hate Valentine’s Day, but it would be nothing original, the same old tired reasons that other people hate Valentine’s Day. Also, of course, I am cynical, bitter and lonely. There is always that. The best reason to hate Valentine’s Day is because it is the non-holiday specifically designed to mock and humiliate me.
An old high school friend of mine who lives in Dallas feels differently. The Girl from Out of Town had a great weekend last weekend. The Girl had two boyfriends who weren’t her boyfriends when we first got together last summer, twenty years after high school.
One of these unboyfriends clearly was a loser. He was selfish, manipulative, and, well, evil. Other than that, he was a great guy. This is my unbiased opinion.
The second unboyfriend was a younger guy she’d been hanging out with for years. He was a sweet, loving, considerate and thoughtful man who was responsible enough to have made his living by owning his own business for several years. When she first met him she tried to set him up with a girlfriend of hers, because of the age difference, she said. He told her he wasn’t interested in her friend. He was interested in her.
Still, they were just friends. She was probably concentrating more on the unrelationship with Evil Dude, and though he continued to hang out with her, the Sweet Guy actually went on a cruise with another girl! The nerve!
My friend got rid of the loser guy well before she came for her second visit in the late fall. By that time, she and the Sweet Guy were still “just friends” who were making out. Hmm. Now if this were my life, I could see exactly where this was going. Exit: Disaster. Up ahead. Thank God, though, this is The Girl from Out of Town’s life.
Before she made her second trip to Austin, Sweet Guy and my friend were engaging in a session of tonsil hockey when my friend asks the guy where he sees this going. Instead of stepping up to the plate, being a man, and taking any initiative or even telling her how he felt about her, he said, “Whatever.”
If this had been me, and not The Girl from Out of Town, then there would have been two possible reactions. I would either have blown up Hiroshima style or I would have retreated into my turtle shell to live the rest of my remaining days alone until I died. If he had the courage to speak to me again I would make sure to mention just how severely he had wounded me with, “Whatever,” on a bi-weekly basis. You know, like, I just got a paycheck again; guess I better remind my friend that I don’t like it when he says things that hurt my feelings.
Luckily, again, this happened to The Girl from Out of Town. So, she shared it with me and, I guess, other friends, and sulked in private. Naturally, I told The Girl this was not a good sign, ‘cause you can count on me to be helpful like that.
I have another good girlfriend in Ohio who has been happily married to a great man for over a decade now. They just had their first baby, a beautiful little girl. Way, way before they got married they worked together and started socializing outside of work, and she was falling in love with him when he told her that he wasn’t ready for a relationship and up and split on her.
She didn’t see him at all for probably a year. That year, as I recall, mostly consisted of a bunch of long-distance tear filled calls where I got to hear every anguish filled detail of how this guy had really done a number on my poor friend but good. I told her that if she ever so much as looked in his direction again not to bother to call me because I would not be picking up the pieces for someone stupid or masochistic enough to go through that again! Again, there is no end to the lengths I will go to be loving and supportive of my friends.
He “wasn’t ready for a relationship,” my ass! What a complete load of bullshit! I would have beaten him up for her, but I’m really not a physical person, and Ohio is a long drive.
About a year later she runs into him at their former workplace, and he asks her out for coffee or something. The next thing I know I’m a bridesmaid at a wedding in Ohio. And not only that. But I like the guy. He’s a prince among men. When I met him I told him bold-faced, outright that I’d thought he was a butthead, and I didn’t like him for what he did to my friend. And he basically said, “I don’t blame you. I’m sorry about that.” Huh.
So, back to The Girl from Out of Town. Sweet Guy makes a date to take her to dinner for an early Valentine’s Day celebration last Saturday. He brings a gift. It’s a thoughtful gift. They have a great time. And she brings up the subject of, “Whatever,” and tells him that she really likes him and was hoping he cared enough about her that he might want to put a better definition to his feelings for her and maybe tighten up a little on the laissez fare attitude.
And the most miraculous thing happens. He tells her he only said, “Whatever,” because he thought that was what she wanted. He told her he had hung around through her trying to set him up with her girlfriend and through her abusive unrelationship with the Evil Dude and even, yes, through her latest flirtation with this guy from Austin (See my blog entry on The Green Eyed Monster). And he did all this because he was crazy about her and wanted to spend time with her in whatever way was okay with her. What did she want? Well, she wanted a boyfriend. So, now she has one.
AAAAAAWWWWWWW! I love happy endings, and I’m so glad that happened to The Girl from Out of Town and not me because I would have ruined it by telling him that he suffered from low self-esteem and needed to grow a pair.
The Girl from Out of Town called me mid-week, and we had a long chat as we often do. (I tell her about how my therapy sessions are going with my counselor and how many days now I’ve gone without drinking – sixty as of last Tuesday. She talks to me about her life, which is evolving quickly and in good ways.) She told me of her latest good fortune, and it made me so happy that I laughed in the middle of the call. A smile froze on my face, but it was genuine.
There is love. It is bright and bubble gum pink and sparkly like Barbie’s dream house. The sky is rose and gold. Let monarch butterflies flit from daisy to tulip. Let birds sing. Let bees bee. Put your arms out and your head up and stare at the sun through the fluffy clouds. Twirl merry-go-round in your swirly skirt until you are dizzy. Then fall back on the spongy green grass to giggle and sigh. There is love.