Saturday, July 18, 2009

My Valentine

Love may not make the world go round, but I must admit that it makes the ride worthwhile.
- Sean Connery

Every February, across the country, teddy bears, flowers, and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. But who is this mysterious saint and why do we celebrate this day which is loved, hated and frowned upon by many.

The history of Valentine's Day and the saint it was named after is shrouded in mystery as i researched it for this entry. A certainty i can offer is that February has long been a month of romance. St. Valentine's Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. For me it is a month containing a day I never looked forward to.

So, who was St Valentine and how did he become associated with this ancient rite? Today, the Catholic Church recognises at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentines, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men, (ahh the beauties of a simpler time) his crop of potential soldiers. Valentine, realising the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.

Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons where they were often beaten and tortured.

According to one legend, Valentine actually sent the first 'valentine' greeting himself. While in prison, it is believed that Valentine fell in love with a young girl; who may have been his jailor's daughter; who visited him during his confinement. I discovered that it is believed that before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter, which he signed 'From your Valentine,' an expression that is still in use today.

There are many different stories and the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories certainly emphasise his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic, and, most importantly, romantic figure. It's no surprise that by the Middle Ages, Valentine was one of the most popular saints in England and France. The discovery of the truth was not important, but interesting to me, it helped me understand the global understanding for this day, and that is to celebrate love and it’s long forgotten truth. Love is thrown around too much these days, therefore saying it to her brought forth a meaning deeper than any dark pit, any longing and a satisfaction to any craving. In life you do things, you say things that mean something to you and you hope they mean the same to the recipient. I believe the emotional vulnerability that Valentines day allows a person open up to allows every lover to become a poet.

The flower arrangement i had ordered reached her and she sent me a messaged expressing how embarrassed she was but how special and amazing she felt. She told me she was taking herself home that day to prepare for our valentines dinner. I told myself in my mind that tonight would be the most amazing night of my life, however i found out something that would prove valuable in our future; planning, over planning or trying to make a moment perfect would always cause chaos. It is part of the challenge of love. Living for the moment and learning by every moment that doesn't go to plan. It always scared me how everything could plan out so perfect in my mind but it could crumble so perfectly at the same time. It is like loving the rain, but drowning in it when it arrives. It is a beautiful disaster, this is what our valentines day was.

She rang me asking me what we were doing so she knew how to dress. I simply told her to dress as if she was going to classy restaurant. A quiver in her voice as she hung up to get ready made feel as though she was really nervous and unsure about this. I understood why, considering this may allow her to feel more than she does about this day. I picked up my phone and messaged her “Don't be nervous, this day is for you. Just get ready and head over here...i miss you x”

She messaged me back saying she was nervous and confessed she was having second thoughts about agreeing on coming on the valentine dinner. We messaged each other back and forth, i always assuring her it was all going to be fine. I believed it would be, the plan in my mind was humble and created by my heart simply to touch her heart. She confirmed she was arriving at my house within 45 minutes, which was perfect timing. I ran downstairs and spoke to my mum about where she and my step dad where going for their valentines dinner. They were returning to the place which they loved and it was the place where they got engaged. It was cute, and i wished them a great night before i began to motion towards the stairs to go and get ready for my night. As i was walking away my mum called my name to regain my attention. I turned to face her to hear her say a simple sentence which offered me the warmest feeling.
“Its good to see you are finally truly happy”

I thanked my mum and went upstairs to have a shower and get ready. My parents had left and i was all prepared for the night. The door bell rang and i motioned downstairs and buzzed her in. I waited for her at the door. She arrived dressed casual, but her hair and make up was done. She gave me a kiss and asked if she could use my room to get changed. I agreed and returned to the bathroom to turn the music off. She called me in and her voice said as i was walking towards the room “can you please clip my pearls for me”.

I walked into the room and she was standing there wearing the dress she had tried on in that woman’s fashion store that took my breath away. As i stood there in her presence all i could see was a wife. A mother. A best friend. Someone i could share a fun, exciting unexpected house and family with. It scared me, but made me feel secure about who we were and what we had. Love was enough because it painted a picture and the scenery was sketched in around us. I had waited all my life for her, i never gave up. Her scorching eyes burned into my heart and she simply spoke with her eyes, they gently said “i feel beautiful...for you”. I caressed her shoulders and softly kissed her neck. I whispered in her ear how breathtaking she looked. I felt weak breathing the same air with her as I was captivated by how rare I felt in a sense of reality weaved with fantasy.

We went downstairs jumped into my car and made our way to the restaurant i had chosen because of two reasons; firstly she was a food buff and needed something to cater for her love of food. Secondly because it was near the pier where we started this love and it was a romantic spot. We had our dinner holding hands and slightly sipping wine. She ate with such pleasure, her eyes judged the food as she moved the food in her mouth to melt amongst the layers. She gave a small groan with each approval followed by a verbal remark at how good the food was. That made me smile, even though she made me try salmon, my least favourite type of seafood. Our eyes did not leave each others, only momentarily to observe the people around us, for any possible ridicule or mocking that could be done.

We completed our meal and she did the cutest thing, she sent her compliments to the chef. Her love for the industry was always apparent and it is something i quietly embraced and respected about her, and i still do. We left and went for a small visit to our pier in Shellharbour. We sat in the cool wind listening to the ocean crashing as the moon smiled on the water with a serene light that makes atheists believe in God. "In dreams and in love there are no impossibilities." - Janos Arnay

The night was perfect. Our connection was true and nothing and no one could say or see otherwise. I never even thought i would be here. I held her hands and asked her one simple question which i envisioned the answer to be something certain. Leaned towards her and found her eyes in the slight darkness as she curled up into my chest. I held her hands that were twirled on my chest. I leaned towards her as i delivered the question which was a simple whisper that echoed and travelled in the beauty of the night to cause the twist in the valentines night to make her feel, to make me feel. I asked her...


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