It was 2002, I was in my mid-twenties and it had been YEARS since I had a Valentine. The last time had been four years before, and even then, my at-the-time college boyfriend--who worked for the airlines and could fly with a “friend” anywhere for free--decided to go to Hawaii for the NFL Pro Bowl…and not take me. We broke up two weeks later. As the years followed, it just didn’t seem to work out to be dating someone consistently or having a boyfriend when Valentine's Day came around. Quickly, I jumped on the bitter band-wagon and started referring to it as “Single Awareness Day”.
(Though, I must give credit to my sweet father who always either called me on Valentine’s Day, when I lived away from home, to tell me he loves me, or would leave a rose or box of chocolates on my pillow—I’m always Daddy’s Valentine :) I even got a message on my cell phone this morning from him to wish me Happy Valentine’s day.)
But this Valentine’s in 2002 was one I was excited about. I had been dating my Prince Charming since the first weekend of the year, and we had gone on a date every weekend since. That was SIX weeks of dates. Oh, and we had been kissing about half way into those six weeks. Valentine's Day fell on a Thursday that year and Mr. Charming asked me on Sunday if he could take me out for it. Although, we were pretty much at that point where it was understood that if the weekend was coming we were spending it together. Such a comforting, happy feeling.
So, I had a Valentine Date….a kissy Valentine Date and I was floating. Well, I had been floating for the past couple of weeks and had yet to come down. Now, I just had little cupid’s floating with me. I had a special Valentine’s Dress to wear that I bought the year before in hopes that I would have somewhere to wear it, but that year had turned out to be another Single Awareness Day and it stayed un-worn hanging in my closet. Eager, I pulled the of course pink-flowered sundress out of my closet and decided to buy a new pair of shoes to match. There is so much satisfaction in searching and purchasing a new pair of shoes for a special occasion. Then each time after, when I wear the shoes, it’s a sweet reminder of why they were purchased.
The morning of February 14th, 2002, I walked out to my little black Jetta and found construction paper hearts stuck all over it. Written on them were romantic messages, and inside jokes between Mr. Charming and me. Also, left on my doorstep was a soft, stuffed animal and card. I named it “Touches”, for all the soft touches Mr. Charming gave me. But, he wasn’t the only sneaky surpriser. I too left something for him to wake up too. (Already it was perfect that we were meant to be).
The day before I asked his mother to help me with the Valentine surprise. I needed him to be out of his house and for me to get in while he was away so I could set it up. All week I worked on sewing three small bags to fill with Hershey Kisses, Hershey Hugs, and Candy Hearts. I left one by his bed with a note: “Good Morning. Here’s a bundle of hugs to start off your day.” I left one on his bathroom sink with a note: “And here is a bunch of kisses (now that you’ve brushed your teeth).” I left one at his kitchen table with a note: “For the rest of the day, here are some sweet words.” As I was driving home after my secret mission, I saw him running along the roadside with his sister and hoped he wouldn’t notice me. I did one of those sink down low in your seat moves so it looks like the car is driver less—real inconspicuous, I know.
Around two o’ clock Valentine’s Day, Mr. Charming called to tell me to be ready by 4:00. I was so anxious to see him. I hadn’t seen him for a full four days since spending the whole weekend with him. As always I spent hours getting ready for our dates, this was no exception. Knowing how much Mr. Charming admired my legs, I was sure to have them freshly shaved and lotioned. It was a good thing because WAY later on in the evening his hands were all over my legs (blush). And, me being me, I painted my toenails and fingernails red—which was also appreciated by Mr. Charming. I delighted in my primping for my special Valentine’s Date; I honestly couldn’t remember the last time I had been able to do that up until then.
By 3:30, I was almost ready, but just had not put on my “new” dress yet. I was in my bathroom fussing over my hair some more when Mr. Charming showed up—a half hour early!! He walked right up to the bathroom door and knocked. I panicked for a second because I was wearing a tatty tank top and work-out pants. I peeked my head out the door and he simply handed me a single red rose. I just had to hug him at that moment, my embarrassment lost with the sight of one sweet flower. As usual, Mr. Charming was handsomely dressed in a red turtle-neck sweater and navy blue dockers. I ran back into my room to put on my dress, my new shoes, and finish up with a spray of my signature perfume. A minute before 4:00 I was ready. When I walked into the room where Mr. Charming was waiting for me on the couch, he immediately stood up at the sight of me. Again, I had to hug him and we stayed like that for a long time—it felt so good.
I didn’t know what he had planned for the date—it was a surprise. When I got in his truck, I saw a blanket and a book. My curiosity peaked, but I remained quiet. As we drove to the freeway, Mr. Charming asked, “What time does the sun set?”
My curiosity had been patient enough and I asked, “Okay, you need to tell me what we are doing.” (I crossed my fingers that I was dressed appropriately)
“We are going to the coast to sit on the sand and read poems until the sun sets,” he looked over and smiled. “Then we’ll go to dinner.”
It sounded perfect.
At the coast, Mr. Charming charmed me with compliments and his sweet nature. I could not stop smiling. Then Mr. Charming made my heart completely stop beating and then start again in double time when he asked, “Where do you want to be married?”
I had a thousand butterflies taking over my entire insides, yet somehow I managed to calmly answer.
He then he stopped my heart again and I somehow survived when he looked deeply at me with his irresistible smile and said he agreed.
Despite the cool evening breeze blowing in from the coast, I only felt warm fuzzies all over my skin and those very active butterflies. We continued to relax on our blanket, admiring the sunset beauty in between admiring each other. Again, Mr. Charming played with my pulse when he shared how comfortable and good he felt when he was around me. My thoughts EXACLTY! With every look and every word he said, my sore heart was mended more and more. I think I started falling in love with him right there on that blanket at sunset. But, it had only been six weeks and I didn’t want to start thinking all crazy, hopeless ideas.
When the sun set, we walked back to Mr. Charming’s truck. “Thank you for this,” I said as I thought a million other sentiments and emotions.
For dinner, Mr. Charming took us to Bob’s Big Boy. I know, I know, not a typical “romantic” Valentine’s restaurant. But, with Mr. Charming it was exactly where I wanted to be. It was perfect.
On the drive home, I teased Mr. Charming about ever having his past “girls” sitting in the middle of his truck bench seat. “I love it when girls do that,” he said.
“I think it’s silly,” I replied.
“Will you do it anyway, for me?”
How could I resist? I scooted right over and he immediately moved his hand off the stick shift and right onto my leg. I snuggled in closer to his warmth and rested my head on his shoulder. He completed the moment by resting his head on mine.
Once we got back into our valley, we made an ice cream run at the grocery store. We bought Mr. Charming’s favorite—Moose Tracks. Back at my house, to finish off the evening we devoured our ice cream…and each other, while sometimes watching “So I married and Axe Murderer.”
When the night had to finally be over because it was getting too far past midnight, Mr. Charming stood up to start to the door, then paused, pulled me into his arms and said: “Thank you for giving me a Valentine’s I’ll never forget.”
ME giving HIM!???? I was the pathetic single awareness poster girl for the past too many February fourteenths!
Looking into my eyes, all the way down into my soul he asked: “Is there anything else I can do for you to make you happy?”
I didn’t have legs at that point, or arms, I’m surprised he was even able to hold on me; I was pretty much a pile of happy, content, fully romanced mush. “This was all so perfect. I couldn’t ask for anything more,” I said.
With his oh-so-charming smile, Mr. Charming: “What are you doing next Valentine’s Day?”
I laughed a happy, content, fully romanced laugh and said, “I have no idea.” Then somehow despite the three thousand butterflies taking over my stomach and into my throat, I returned with a coy smile, “What are you doing next Valentine’s Day.”
“This.” He replied and gave me a worth-the-seven-year-wait Valentine’s Day kiss.
…………the next Valentine’s Day that is exactly what we did, and more. We were married.
-Margaret D. Nadauld