Tonight is possible the first Valentine’s Day that I have ever actually looked forward to. I don’t look forward to many things and Valentine’s Day has always been ranked somewhere close to surgery on my To Do list, but tonight’s different for one very key reason.
I’m not looking forward to anything in particular. There is nothing special planned. No grand sweeping events. No string quartets to serenade us. Not even flowers. Just a quiet dinner in a little bar that we’ve been to a hundred times and that won’t be there for the next Valentine’s Day.
Tonight is my third Valentine’s Day with my girlfriend. And that’s the first time in my life that I’ve been able to say that. But what excites me about tonight isn’t that I’ve set some new personal record or unlocked some secret mystery of happy relationships, or even that I’ve managed to make it these first few years without fucking anything up too badly.
Because, on the grand scheme, I’ve probably managed to fuck some things up.
And I’m not even really that excited about tonight, at least not in the specifics. And yes, that sentence does warrant some unpacking given how this post started. You see, tonight could go well. Or it could go terribly. Whatever happens could become a fond memory or a humorous anecdote or a little tragedy. Or, as with most things, tonight will become just a day in a long line of other days.
But today is a day that will happen without fear, an evening that will exist with a certainty that, up until this point, I’ve never quiet known, at least not in a positive fashion.
Perhaps some of that comes from finally sticking out a relationship, from managing to fight past the worst parts of me, the ones that are quick to walk away. But, here, on this third Valentine’s Day, I think I’ve finally been given an ease of understanding, and that is not from time, but from a person.
You see, my girlfriend is a woman of understanding, a woman that allows for my failure without feeling the need to judge. A woman who tolerates my more abrasive aspects while still finding ways to love me in ways I never could manage on my own.
This third Valentine’s Day has given me the knowledge that my partner has removed the need for a net, not because she’ll catch me, but because I do not fear falling. That has opened my world up a bit, turning life’s ups and downs not into highs and lows, but into a collection of events, events that exist always within context and that are greater than their sum.
And that’s why I’m excited about tonight. Tonight, and tomorrow, and the day after, are going to be. There’s no pressure. No reason for fear. Just a desire to keep going if only because. I might be the best at love, but knowing what she can do for me makes me want to do the same for her.