Here you go my piece in the Feelgood with the Irish Examiner last week. Bear in mind it was immediately after Valentines Day. Enjoy.
The best thing about Valentine’s day is that it ended two days ago. The unfortunate thing about it, is that it happened at all. However, now that it’s over can we just take a moment to spare a thought for all those poor misfortunes who got it wrong this year.
Those who believed their beloved was planning something special, but the day came and went.
Those who ended the day feeling second best.
Or those who are wondering what’s wrong with a gift from the local garage?
Yes, Valentine’s Day for many, may well mark the very day they first wondered if their relationship was all they thought it was.
But how do you know if this thing we have for each other is real? Should you dump him now because he didn’t say it with chocolates or flowers, or should you look for other signs?
I can only speak for myself, but if I were to take stock, using the gifts I’ve received on Valentine’s Day as an indicator, I think yer man would be for the high road. Thankfully, there were other signs, among them his ability to laugh at my sometimes peculiar sense of humour.
I tested this sign regularly and remember one night in particular. It was a few months into our relationship and yer man had traveled from Cork to Dublin to meet me. After a meal out we were driving about when he asked if I lived nearby? I guessed he was hinting at some day getting an invitation to my house, so I offered to bring him. Rather stunned he sat up straight in the car spluttering a little as he knew I lived with my parents. Within minutes we drove into the driveway of my home.
“There it is,” I said, “that’s my home.”
He began to clear his throat, readying himself for the introductions, while unbuckling his safety belt.
“Eh, where do you think you’re going?” I said, reversing at speed out the drive.
“Are we not going in?” he asked.
“Are you mad? I told you I’d show you where I lived. I never said I’d bring you in!”
It was another few months before he saw inside the front door, but I took his laughter that night as a definite sign.
By the time we were married Valentines day was still a rather hit and miss affair, but there were other signs.
Such as my first glimpse of him as a father. I watched him daily as he fell further in love with his daughter. I wondered would that love survive the tests of time, in particular the teenage years?
I didn’t need to wonder too long. She decided to test him herself, when at the grand old age of five-years-old she picked up a small stone and declared her love for her Dad by etching, “I heart you,” all over his car. I don’t doubt that the healing involved deep breaths and possibly tears shed in silence, but he did forgive her and I took that as another sign.
Over the years there have been many more, such as his ability to ignore my moods, laugh quietly at my temper and grit his teeth at the many differences between us.
Come Valentines day companies suggest we say it with flowers or chocolate… but as I recall crashing his car on more than one occasion and numerous other minor ‘mistakes,’ over the years, I wonder is it not a bigger sign when he sighs and says nothing at all?
Of course, if you’re in doubt it’s never too late to say it with chocolate and flowers.