A quest to make sense of it all. Or a sense to make a quest of it all.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Valentine's Gay Day.

I've uttered the usual "Valentine's is so contrived, so commercialized, so fake, blahblahblah" enough times, and I do mean it. For the most part. But I'm a human, and humans love to get stuff, especially when that stuff is from someone you're into.

On this holiday last year, I was sitting at work, all happy and feeling good about my relationship. I thought I may even get a little silly something. A trinket, maybe a bouquet on our date. The guy floored me: he sent, to my place of business (because that's how smart men do it), a huge bouquet of gorgeous long-stemmed roses, a box of quality chocolate, and an embarassingly large bunch of balloons. He also had it set up so that the deliveries would all come separately, so I would keep getting surprises at work all day. Points. He got points like you ain't nevah seen.

And he shouldn't have. I refer, of course, to The Engineer, who was full of "I love you"s but not much to back it up with when it came down to it. I fell for his line of wooing-via-Discover-card, though, fo sho. Starting with the Uggs he got me for Christmas. While his gifts were extravagent and certainly appreciated...they were pretty generic. Which pretty much sums up our relationship. A lot of fanfare and little substance. Maybe because we already knew each other when we met (and if you've ever had that kind of connection, you know what I mean), little attention was paid to the foundation. We had a perfect beginning. Our screwing it up remains one of the bigger disappointments of my life...and his, too, if my intuition is still accurate. But that's done, and I'm scarred, and there's no going back.

Fast forward a year. I have steadfastly avoided becoming entangled in any new committed relationships. When anything has become promising, I've quietly slipped out the back door and shaken off whatever warm fuzzies were developing, and fallen off the social media planet until it's cooled off. I have been committed to not committing. So when Valentine's rolled around this year, I was...curious. I have been seeing The Pharmacist regularly, and despite my warning him that my wall is an extremely difficult one to scale, he seems determined to scale it. So when the first deliveryman showed up in the lobby at work, I smiled broadly, thinking "And here they are." Ha! Not for me.

Lather, rinse, repeat, until every woman in the building has received goodies except for the increasinly ill-tempered brunette working the teller line. (Me.) All day, I received nothing from him. Oh, I was ready to kick ass and take names. I was even saying ridiculous girl stuff like, "Oh, he's in trouble!". Wtf? This is what happens to me when I work around other women too much. No one's gonna get in trouble over some stupid stuff like that. That was the pack mentality talking. I digress. Anyway, he and I had scheduled a date for that night, and I was already over the flowers thing by the time he showed up. I spied a gift bag in the back seat, but didn't say anything. We went out to Pizza Grocery, where we shared fig pizza and calamari and a damn fine conversation. Later in the evening, he presented me with the gift.

It was a book. Bag of Bones by Stephen King. One of my very favorites in the world. It was a very nice hardcover, which I didn't previously have. I was pretty impressed: this dude really has been paying attention. I mean, he picked something actually based on my personality and preferences.

Oh, but there's more: He said, "It's a first edition." Sure enough, a glance at the copyright page confirmed this. Then he said, "Oh, there's some writing in it." *GULP* Sweet sugar, the thing is signed by my man Stephen himself.

To hell with some flowers. I wouldn't have cared it if had cost 38 cents, as long as some thought went into it. It's not a price tag that makes a gift sweet. (Although some Googling and a consult with a friend who collects first-edition Stephen Kings has revealed that a dizzying and wholly inappropriate amount of money was spent on this book.)

He's on the right track. And it has nothing to do with the amount he spent. It's that he knew me and he knew how close to my heart that particular book is, and why.

In contrast, this was a way better Valentine's than last year. And even though I am still keeping this at arm's length for my own protection, I'm thawing. I don't have to wonder where I stand, and that's a pretty bitchin' feeling.

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