A few weeks ago, Trav and I were in our sunroom
probably hiding from our children. He was sitting in his chair with our beloved golden, Bailey, curled into his side and his attention held by work emails on his phone. Sitting opposite them, my eyes were tethered to Trav. There is such beauty in the mundane, I thought as I quietly observed him. It was the middle of the afternoon and the warm sunshine in the middle of January was wholly welcomed strictly for its rarity. Its pull felt visceral, migrating us to the room just off our master that we haven’t sat in weeks due to a record-breaking cold winter.
Reading, his blue eyes quickly moved right to left like a paper in a typewriter, never breaking rhythm as he sipped his coffee. In his mug was Folgers, Classic Roast, brewed in a $10 pot he refuses to upgrade. Either creäture of habit or simply a man content with his brew, I’ve yet to decide. Often, I want to tell him that life is too short to drink ground Folgers, and I usually do. Regret, hooked on a short leash, usually trails behind my words, too. Trav’s not-extra-self is a steady comfort. And that comfort has strangely translated into a metaphor (because I’m a sucker for them): I’m his coffee and he won’t upgrade me… (he’s going to laugh when he reads this and will certainly tell me its the latter—he’s content—because he’s not only a smart man but wants to live, too.)
Warm and intrigued, the composition of my surroundings was besotting. The small room dressed in paneling filled with a glow of natural light from the wall of sliding glass doors that flanked my right side. It was a photographer’s dream, urging me to secretly capture with my iPhone (that won’t do it justice). There is just something about a man with his dog at his side. The image played my heartstrings like a skilled harpist.
The urge to bring up the “let’s get another Golden” topic felt hot in my throat. I was hostage by dog fever. Truthfully, I’d been suffering for the better part of a year. And if you’ve met Bailey, you’d feel the same. People have valiantly tried to dognap her. She’s that great of a dog. And over the past couple of weeks, I was almost certain I’d nearly convinced Trav that another puppy was absolutely necessary (after all, there is only so much begging the man can take before he concedes).
“We have a lot coming up in the next few months,” I announced. Don’t be fooled. I had a clear plan. Prefacing with an ice-breaker before I made my real motive known and started adorably begging for another puppy, again. “Like your birthday, Avayah’s birthday, Valentine’s, Spring Break…” (getting a golden puppy, I almost said.)
Trav set his phone in his lap and glanced up at me and smiled. “About Valentine’s Day—”
“Ugh–” the groan ripping out of my mouth, interrupting him, was involuntary, surprising us both. It was bound to happen, I thought. The annoyance I felt bubbling under the surface had turned from a simmer to a rapid boil over the last several weeks. (The culprit? The countless ads telling me that if I don’t get a bouquet of flowers, jewelry, or even freaking meundies—yes, those underwear ads they are subjecting my ears to on XM—the love I believe in is not validated. It’s so much pressure, and I’ve I literally fought gagging at every commercial or ad I see.)
“What?” Trav asked the minute after the shock sloughed off his face and confusing quickly took its place. He looked like he’d entered a minefield and was trying to gauge where to step or move at all.
“Valentine’s Day is SO commercialized. I don’t even want to celebrate it. It’s so full of expectation. Just imagine how many people are disappointed because they’ve been subjected to this fictitious idea that some grand act of love is only meaningful if it’s monetary. Nobody can live up to that because it isn’t real.”
Trav laughed and the words “tell me how you really feel” was on his lips, even if he didn’t say it. I know it. “Really? I didn’t know you felt that way. No grand acts of love. Got it.” His voice was so sincere like the soapbox I’d just hit him over the head with was validated, my eyes almost watered.
“You’re sure?” He asked, his voice soft. His face mixed with his gentle voice reaffirmed how validated I felt all over again. The man was collecting brownie points faster than I could bake them.
“Definitely.” I pledged.
“Okay.” He replied, and then paused a moment. “Whew, that’s a relief. I already contacted a breeder to get you another Golden, but now that I know how you really feel about Valentine’s Day and its over-commercialization that saves me so much money.”
Hold my wine…
I’m not sure how long my jaw hung on the floor, but I managed to pick it up and then made Bertha the hamster dressed in too-tight leather pants with a muffin top (because she’s a feminist who says to hell with Spanx) set down the sugar rimmed margarita in her little-clawed hand and start feverishly turning the wheel inside my head.
With my foot down my throat, I practically shouted amidst a gag, “Did I mention that Valentine’s Day is my FAVORITE holiday?” #igotagoodheartbutthismouth