Of course, if you read my past history with Valentine's Day, you understand. But if you didn't, I'd like to share another kind of story. A cautious love tale, if you will.
I was 23 when I had my first child. When I found out I was pregnant, the father and I were not at all speaking. I picked up everything I had in Texas and pointed to a map. Tennessee looked good. I knew one person there.
After I had my baby, I was lucky enough to stay at home with her for her first year of life while I babysat and cleaned. Shortly after she turned one, I decided it was time to do something about my lack of degree. So, I signed up for financial aid, grants and enrolled into a community college.
I met a woman named Casey and we hit it off. We would take our smoke breaks together and make catty comments about well...anyone we felt the need to pick on. Secretly and to ourselves of course. She made school days bearable and fun. When I met her husband, I was...appalled, honestly. He was a different type of guy, one of those He-Man Woman Haters. She and I became a little closer, truly, because of the abuses she endured. I wanted to help and protect her, but sometimes it wasn't meant to be.
You can imagine my discomfort any time she brought up her husband's brother, Dean. I squirmed and wiggled my way out of meeting him for months. She swore he was nothing like his brother. He was fun and hilarious and someone to at least know as a friend. It didn't have to be anything more. I still refused.
Then one night, I was at home alone. The sixteen year old I was looking after (another whole long story) was on a date and my daughter was with a sitter overnight. I was bored. I was lonely. I wanted to take the opportunity to get the heck out of the house while I had a free night. Everyone I knew was busy. Except for Casey, Daniel and his brother, Dean. So, I gave in and decided to meet at a public location, just in case. :0)
We met at the Olive Garden where I had started working. The first thing I did was open my car door and hit Dean's mustang with it. I froze in fear. I knew from Casey that car was special. He made a light joke out of it and I hopped in to go to a little bar on some unknown side street. The first thing I noticed about Dean was his size. Now, he's lost a ton of weight...but when we first met, he was heavy and a little intimidating. You know, not fat heavy...big heavy. The second thing I noticed was that he let me completely take over his cd player. :0) Then we realized we had a lot of music interests in common.
Once we got to the bar we had a blast. Even without the alcohol, I laughed until my face hurt. Actually, we all had a great time. Even Daniel was a nice guy. The next day, I couldn't wait to call Dean, but...I didn't want to really get involved, but....I had so much fun..but..well, you know how that stuff goes. The day after, he called me and admitted that he'd been thinking of me. Really missed me. Wanted to see me. During the day. Before either of us knew it, we were hanging out together every single day.
Throughout the getting to know you process, I noticed a lot of things about Dean that were completely opposite from others I had dated. He was not a musician or artist of any kind...or at least those talents weren't at the top of his list. He was all about fast cars. He hated reading, he wasn't an intellectual type that tried to impress me with his vocabulary or long list of accomplishments. He really wasn't very sensitive. *ahem* In fact there were times he was downright clueless. A good reason we do not celebrate Valentine's. :0)
It's hard to believe that this optimistic, soft, writer type melded together so well with his rough, realistic, crass personality. This isn't to say that the past nine years have been bliss and smooth sailing. We've been through a lot. He quit drinking and learned to be a little softer. I learned to quit nagging and be a little tougher. We spent months apart while I was pregnant with our first daughter. He made it there for her birth by driving an unregistered Mustang across country. From Georgia to California.
I drove off in a car that he tried to unplug the distributor from (while I was in reverse, driving).
He drove off in his Mustang and got arrested.
We've had our share. Trust me.
However, our tough times were brief. Something about our differences tended to make meeting in the middle a bit easier. Throughout the last nine years, we continue to perfect our relationship daily. We continue to respect each other's differences...and not only respect them, but love them like no one else could. We continue to share bits of each other's strengths and weaknesses. I am happier now than I have ever been and so lucky to have the kind of man I have. He's my lego. We fit. Perfect. Without Valentine's Day.
*Now, I still have to deal with the evil brother especially since we moved to TN, and Casey turned out to betray me in a way that I have yet to get over. I'm so gun shy to speak of anything with the woman I once considered my sister. However, I have the support of my husband through those troubles too and I wanted to make clear that really, he is nothing like his brother.*