Which Valentines Day was Best?

How could I be crabby when Mike made eggs Benedict?

It feels like a holiday.

We practically skipped Valentines Day so it feels like Valentines Day. Last Thursday, I wrote him a note on a card with a dog on the cover and he bought me new slippers that haven’t arrived yet because of the snow. We are old, old valentines. We’ve celebrated thirty-three Valentines Days together. The first one was amazing.

He’d been house sitting and made me dinner. He bought me a dozen red roses. He lifted me onto the kitchen counter, leaned in, and said, “I would make a really great husband.”

Yes, he said that on our first official date. Oh, we’d worked together for six months while an old boyfriend slowly broke up with me and a new one treated me like dirt. He’d taken me camping, to happy hour dance clubs with our coworkers, to play tennis, and to a Moody Blues concert, our first unofficial date.

Are you old enough to remember ‘Your Wildest Dreams,' the song that was on the radio every five minutes back then?

In my mind, at least, that was our song.

It’s funny that I had to look that up just now, that what i had so fervently thought of as ‘our song’ would be something that I’d have to google using 80s popular songs and then scan through. Seriously.

Our fourth Valentines Day was amazing in a different. This time, he’d moved to the Pacific Northwest and I was still deciding if I was going to follow him. I had a great job and had never been to there. He wanted to explore, but he hadn’t asked me to marry him.

On Valentines Day that year, a dozen dead red roses arrived.

Later in the day, he called.

“Did you get them?” he asked.

We both knew what he meant, but I still wanted to know what he meant by sending me blackened roses. The night before, he’d said he loved me before hanging up the phone for the night.

“Yeah, they were…”

I tried to keep my voice even.

“What? They were what?” he said.

He really sounded a little panicked.

“They were kind of dried up. Did you mean them to be that way?”

And then my boyfriend, almost for the first time, got mad over the phone.

“I told them it was important. They were supposed to be perfect. I can’t believe it. Did you think that I… Oh man. I really have to call that florist and have a TALK. I’m not fucking paying $90 for them to deliver dead roses from three thousand miles away. Fuck?”

I think that was the moment I decided to move out here with him even though we weren’t married or even engaged.

The next year, he said he couldn’t bring himself to buy me roses again. Then, he slid a huge thin package out from behind our new couch.

It was an Ansel Adams print of Half Dome. It still hangs in our living room. I still love it.

And after that, our Valentines Days got simpler. I made him pie and he wrote me love letters and gave me simple gifts.

A couple years ago, he decided that I needed a good backpack for all the hikes I took with Teddy. That was a good one. He made sure I had the ten essentials so that if I got lost, I wouldn’t be helpless. That was one of my favorite Valentines Day gifts, better than the black roses message.

And today, he made me eggs Benedict. I really enjoyed eggs Benedict. Later, maybe, I’ll make him an apple pie, but first I need to head out to take Teddy for a hike in the snow. I’m bringing my backpack.

Thanks for listening, jules