Paris, the city of Love…
A lifetime ago – or so it seems – my husband whisked me away whimsically on a romantic whirlwind adventure. We were twenty years old and very much floating in honeymoon period bliss. Which was ironic really, seeing as we were yet to marry. In fact, I had convinced myself that my husband would propose to me during this trip. I mean, an impulsive trip to Paris? If this doesn’t scream “I wanna marry you!”, then all my childhood fairytale dreams must have been mistaken were a BIG FAT LIE!
As we clambered breathlessly to the top of the Eiffel Tower, pink-nosed and frozen-toed, I was anticipating him getting down on one knee. The setting couldn’t have been more impeccable. It was as though Paris had wrapped its loving arms around us, waiting in suspense for that old romantic scene to unfold. Every time my husband reached deep inside his pocket, my heart would begin to flutter and I’d excitedly think, “Now’s the time!” But as he pulled out a tissue and blew his nose for the third time in a row, I came to the sad realisation that it wasn’t going to happen. I mean, it did happen eventually. He proposed years later in a, let’s just say, less romantic way.
♥ ♥ ♥
Three years later, in a busy shopping centre in Exeter…
My husband: “Seeing as your dad is dying, do you reckon we should get married? You know… before he …errr?”
Me: “Yea, I guess so!”
No getting down on one knee, no romantic music playing sweetly in the background and not a ring in sight!
♥ ♥ ♥
But hey, we were barely into our twenties and we had the rest of our lives to become martially-chained to one another. We were free, and it was beautiful. In fact, some of my favourite memories of us together were those in Parisian paradise.
Come next Valentine’s Day, I had made my husband a scrapbook of our first year together. It took months of gluing, cutting, embellishing and a few flying profanities, to create the carefully-crafted scrapbook of memoirs. I’m not going to beat around the bush, I was a little dishearten when all I got in return was a card courtesy of Moonpig.com. But I guess it was the thought that counts. And let’s face it, what could beat Paris – the city of love? It’s like he had strategically planned to go whole hog on our first Valentine’s Day, so he’d never have to bother again.
He’d be all, “Well, do you remember the time I took you to Paris!”
On the Eiffel Tower, 2006
So, the Paris whim was just a scam, and I soon learned my husband didn’t have a romantic bone in his body. The romance slowly died like the garage-bought flowers he had bought me. You know, the ones with the price still attached because he was in a hurry. And so the petals fell one by one, as the cards became nothing more than a hurried squiggle minus a kiss.
Once upon a time, the lack of kisses would have left me feeling sad, empty and even resentful.
From Valentines jingles to bears too bulky to know what to do with, it was all too much for this romantic-at-heart. Everywhere I turned there were heart-shaped reminders of starry-eyed days gone by. I wanted to pop each and every one of those rose-tinted love bubbles floating so visibly around me.
As I walked past window display after window display of love mementos, I longed to take to those heart-shaped balloons like a bull to a red rag, stabbing them with my furious horns. Passers-by looking at me, like “What’s her beef?”
“I’m sorry, but do I look like a cow? I’m a bull, a Valentine’s-hating, RAGING bull!” I yelled, and then made a fleeting exit towards the doors.
But love was in the air and there was no place to hide.
As I strolled past public displays of affection, I yearned to erupt my volcanic Valentines’ gloom upon innocent twinkled-eyed lovers, locking lips over stringed spaghetti.
There was even a time when I was close to pulling the trigger on that chirpy funky pigeon, as he peddled his way past everybody’s door but mine, suddenly deciding he had a head to go crap on!
But as we know, balloons aren’t forever and flowers die. Suddenly we’ve eaten the last chocolate and we begin to feel as empty as the molds in the box. We can only savour the sweet chocolaty goodness for so long until it melts upon on our tongues and we are left wanting more.
But why do we feel the need to over-indulge in love for just one day of the year? Why can’t we make every day spent with our loved ones, special?
I’m not talking about buying fresh flowers every day, or even putting kisses at the end of a message, but rather, appreciating every moment together.
Love is more than garage-bought flowers and cheap champagne. It’s more than over-sized teddies and vulgar-smelling perfumes. I mean, should we really need a heart-shaped reminder to show our loved ones just how much we care?
Days go by, and we have a nation feeling as deflated as the once heart-shaped balloons.
Love isn’t about candlelit dinners and romantic breaks, it’s about treating each waking moment as romantically as you would on those special occasions. Love isn’t about how many times we can say those three magic words, it’s about putting those words into action and proving how true they really are. Love isn’t about making false promises, it’s about making that one important promise to stay with that person no matter what life throws your way.
Love is a reason to go to bed with a smile and wake up with one too. Not just on Valentines day, but EVERY day!
Oh Valentine’s Day, you’re nothing but a heap of over-commercialised horse manure! We probably shouldn’t waste our precious time agonising over setting the right ambiance or spending months making scrapbooks that will only be given the once-over by our loved ones, and then placed upon the ever-growing pile of other useless Valentine’s Day gifts. This being said, I can’t see baby cupid hanging up his bow and arrows anytime soon!
Valentine’s Day is upon me, and as I find myself sitting on the sofa on my lonesome, the beautiful truth is, I couldn’t be more content with my meal for one and glass of wine.
That’s right! Resentful I am not.
For I have the equivalent of one hundred trips to Paris, an unlimited supply of Thornton’s chocolates and enough heart-shaped balloons to lift the Earth in its entirety…I hold the heart of the most amazing person I know, and he holds mine.
My darling husband,
No matter where you are in the world, you’ll always be in my heart.
I will love you always,
Your loving wife,
(Yeah, I forgot the kisses!)
Our Wedding Day: July, 2010
And of course, the irony is… A big bouquet of flowers turned up on my doorstep, courtesy of
Moonpig.com my loving husband from 2000 miles away! Perhaps he isn’t so unromantic, after all!