In honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d disclose my most romantic experience. This happened with a guy I was getting ready to break up with. He was a lawyer, a bright, fun loving guy on rare occasions, but mostly what he enjoyed doing most while we were together was filling me in on every mundane detail of his legal day. He talked about writing briefs and his boss and numerous phone calls he’d gotten through the day. I concluded that a dog groomer has a more exciting job than his.
He was also living in a place that literally had a path running through the mess to get from room to room. Dishes covered every surface in the kitchen. Note pads, mail, books, and newspapers covered every other surface in the house, and clothes and paraphernalia covered the floors. I knew one other person who lived like this – in her hippie parents’ house. She was embarrassed to have anyone over, but not this guy. He didn’t see anything wrong with his housekeeping.
There were a couple of other reasons I was ready to end our three-month courtship, although I liked his personality when he wasn’t busy reciting lawyerly dribble. Perhaps he picked up on my vibe, because I loved to hike, so he suggested we start at McLeay Park and walk to the Pittock mansion.
It was a sunny, warm summer day, and I was thrilled at the prospect. When we got to Pittock Mansion, we could see the whole city and several mountain peaks in the distance. I had that feeling of happiness that makes every hair follicle, every pore, every sensation crisp and vibrant so that I just wanted to dash around like Julie Andrews on the mountaintop in, “The Sound of Music.”
We walked around, bathing in the sun’s rays and delighting in life. Then he sat down on a bench, and I sat beside him, looking at the view. He reached into his shirt and pulled out a small, leather-bound book. He opened it deliberately and started reading out loud to me – in German. The sounds had a rhythmic cadence that was lyrical and soft, like a verbal caress.
“What are you reading?” I asked.
“German poetry,” he said. He looked down and read some more, and I listened more intently than I would have anything in English. Not knowing the meaning, I had to focus on his voice, his lips moving, the slight variances in his tone as he came to the end of lines, the miniscule rise in energy which meant something in the words was more lively. I was sucked into a vacuum of lazy sun’s warmth, musical words, and his lips moving softly.
After a period of time that could have been seconds or hours, he stopped reading, closed the book slowly, and tucked it back into his shirt. I had little hearts floating out of my chest, and twinkles in my eyes. I felt I had been caressed by words, and that I was the most special woman in the world.
That romantic experience carried me through an extra few days, but alas, reality bitch-slapped me and I knew this relationship was doomed to destruct, despite the poetic dalliance.
I have been wined and dined, I’ve gotten long stem red roses in a box delivered with a large red ribbon, I’ve had a few other tokens of romance that I’ve enjoyed, but none of them held a candle to listening to words I didn’t comprehend on a warm Sunday afternoon. Knowing that he stowed the book secretly with the intention of reading to me made it even more special.
It’s too bad that romance alone isn’t enough to make a good partner, because if that were enough, we’d still be together, and I’d be bored witless and continually digging out of his quagmire of daily debris. Ah, but the memory lingers like dark chocolate covering a creamy caramel center that flows when bitten in half.
Happy Valentines Day!