Tag Archives: Valentine’s Day

Seeker

The Quest

High, hollowed in green
above the rocks of reason
lies the crater lake
whose ice the dreamer breaks
to find a summer season.

‘He will plunge like a plummet down
far into hungry tides’
they cry, but as the sea
climbs to a lunar magnet
so the dreamer pursues
the lake where love resides.

Denise Levertov (b. 1923)

I read this poem and think about early love. Because once you’ve found the person to whom you say ‘yes, forever’, then the quest is over, isn’t it?

Today I thought, no, actually, it isn’t.

Every last thing about mundane life is designed to make you forget about early love. Council tax, the little balls of hair in the corners of the carpet, nappy bags, chilli and rice for dinner. Chilli and rice is a prosaic meal. It’s not a meal for lovers. (We eat it all the time.)

When one of you works too hard and the other is too prone to fits of cabin fever, and both of you, now you think about it, spend a lot of time getting poo under the fingernails, well – keeping that intake of breath and whirling in the stomach takes effort. It’s like trying to hold a butterfly in your hands. It needs seeking out, all the time. What a heroic and beautiful thing, to seek out first love and hold it tight, the delicate flutter on the palms of your hands.

Today is Valentine’s Day, and after a week like this one, our highest of high V-day dreams involved packing the boys off to bed early enough to eat something nice. Then Sarah called in howling rain to say she was nearby, and did we want her to pop in to watch the boys while we grabbed something quickly to eat. I took out a toy car from each pocket, put on my elephant-sized raincoat and off we popped. We had a Five Guys burger and talked about where we want to take ourselves this year. It was blissful. We weren’t dressed up to the nines and they’re not sweet nothings, not anymore. But why would you want to talk about nothing, anyway? These are our everythings.

Falling in love is the easy part. Working to stay there – that takes a quest.

We can keep seeking together. I can’t think of a better Valentine promise than that.

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I wanted cajun fries, he wanted regular. But we both wanted cherry vanilla Coke.  [this is love]

 

Socks and skylights: a story about love

For I am in love with you
and this is what it is like or what it is like in words.

Carol Ann Duffy

There was a moment, years ago. Before babies and broken nights, when just living in each other’s space, revolving in the same ordinary orbit, neither of us driving home in a cold car at the end of the evening, was wonderful luxury. I picked up his socks from the side of the bed and was amazed that we’d made it here, that we’d ever got close enough to think about each other’s socks. He closed the drawers I left open (frequently). In our clean, lovely flat. Our huge, white bed, and tiny kitchen. And all of it we’d chosen together, these bits of a life shared.

Anyway, this moment. 4am. I woke up and there was rain hammering on the skylight, wind beating against the wall in the dark to be let in. It’s a cold and lonely thing to hear in the early hours, in a new, half-empty house. I turned over and Timothy turned with me, asleep, his heavy arm settling over me. I was safe. And he would offer up all the warmth and solidity I wanted in the middle of the night, everything he had, for as long as I wanted it, because he couldn’t help being himself. And somehow, unimaginably, I did the same for him. We fit.

That was the moment I knew I’d landed in exactly the right place. I wish I could describe it better than that. But that’s only how it is in words.

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There are twelve of these heart clips hidden around the house today. In a minute I’m going to have to ring him up for a clue…

Happy Valentine’s Day! We go on a bit about the hearts and flowers, but on a day that celebrates love, please know that you are fiercely loved by lots of people, whoever you are. And our lives are more lovely because of it.

Hearts, etc

Love is:

babysitting at 6am when you know full well you have to get to work pretty soon.

never, ever asking your wife to clean the bathroom, because you know she hates it.

playing the What I Got From the Library and Why game with good grace for four years.

giggling like a fool when she suggests replacing your broken tooth with a piece of sweetcorn.

Give me one of these Timothys any old day of the week.

We decided to postpone V-day this time: we never make a huge deal of it, but this 14th February was graced with extra-long client meetings and a youth basketball tournament, lucky him. I brought dinner, and we sat outside the chapel kitchen with lukewarm toad-in-the-hole and the hollering of teenage boys just outside. A magical night.

This morning there were huge, velvety roses on my windowsill and a fed-and-changed baby asleep downstairs. I’ll take one of these Timothys any old time.

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