I’ve said it before–verse from my Valentine
And it’s still true . . .
I don’t know what
I’d do without you.
Happy Valentine’s Day
to the woman who is
and always will be
the best thing that
ever happened to me.
You know that moment when you are casually reading and suddenly you see clearly something that, though you’d noticed it before, it had eluded your full understanding — it had been unclear like the edge of a wood in a fog. Well, such a moment happened to me this past week.
It was early evening when I sat down to relax and read blogging slices from Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life community. The first blog I opened was Reflections on the Teche. I began reading Margaret’s post “Word Group Poems“: “On Valentine’s Day last Thursday, I challenged my students to write a love poem without using the word love.”
Without reading further, I jumped up and went to my kitchen table. There between my potted violet and orchid, standing open, the way we often display cards, was my lovely Valentine from my husband with its red envelope still lying on the table because my husband’s hand had addressed it to me and I couldn’t place it in the trash just yet.
I first saw it on Valentine’s Day morning, waiting for me on the kitchen table. Holding my morning cup of coffee to warm my hands, enjoying its dark aroma in the wintry coolness of our kitchen, I had studied the red envelope. One word was scrawled in the center. Not Ali. Not Squirrel. Not even Alice. Just You.
Puzzling, I had slid my finger along the edge forcing open the glued flap and pulled out a beauty with red lettering, flowers, and foil trim. Without reading, I had opened to his signature. Written beneath the verse was one word, me.
Strange. I don’t recall Carl ever addressing or signing a card that way, not once in the fifty-two years I’ve been receiving cards from him. Why did he write You on the envelope and sign with me?
I closed the card, slowly turned it over, and began reading the verse.
I’ve always known he didn’t buy cards just because of appearance. I’ve always known he chose them because of words. But now I saw how deeply he read them. The last word on the front was you and the last word on the inside was me.
I had slowly placed the Valentine between the potted violet and orchid on our kitchen table, feeling a bit of puzzlement. Something was different about that card, and it wasn’t just the You and me. I could feel it as I read the words, but whatever it was, it was unclear — as if it were shrouded in a fog.
That was on Valentine’s Day morning.
Now three days later, I’m looking at my Valentine again through the lens of Margaret’s words: “On Valentine’s Day last Thursday, I challenged my students to write a love poem without using the word love.”
I saw through the fog. That something I felt but couldn’t quite identify became clear. My Valentine is filled with love but never, not even in Carl’s signature, is the word love written.
So there, you have it– You. Me. Without love.
For the record, lest anyone misunderstand “without love” — Carl and I celebrated our 50th this past year. We. Are. Love.
I did return to read all of Margaret’s post. I love her word group poem idea which connects wonderfully with an activity I already do, but that is for another day.