for ashley: lost for words

I may not always talk much, but I am a man of many words. Rarely do I have trouble stating clearly what I mean to say. Though of course sometimes I bury it in a footnote. But whatever.

The point is that I know how to say what it is that I want to say.

Which is why I’m so surprised today as I try to sum up how I feel about you. How I feel about my life since you’ve been in it. How I feel about our future, together. This is, after all, our last Valentine’s Day as an unmarried couple. As I’m sure you’re aware.

I’ve tried a dozen times to say it.

I’ve started and stopped.

I’ve done whatever is the blog equivalent of balled-up pages in the trash bin.

I’ve given up.

And tried again.

And all day there’s been one thing my mind keeps turning to, and it’s something that happened long before we met.

Back when I was 17 I helped deliver for a local floral shop one Valentine’s Day. All day I went from place to place with a car filled with flowers, arrangements and cards. I’d pull up to stoplights and drivers in the next lane would rubber-neck at my flora-filled Chrysler LeBaron. Each place I went to, the person who opened the door greeted me with curiosity that quickly broke into a lovely smile. Some people squealed with delight. Others gave me hugs. Most thanked me profusely, though I was not the cause for the flowers. I was merely the messenger. It was a really great day, collecting all those smiles and hugs and squeals. That sort of thing just stays with you and, over time, alters how you feel about just about everything.

And I guess the reason that keeps coming to my mind today is that’s how I feel every day. Every time you smile at me; every time you laugh. Every time you put an arm around me. Every time you tell me you love me. For the past few years these things have collected in my heart and have altered how I feel about just about everything. Except Journey. But whatever.

It’s not simply that my life is better with you in it. It’s that how I feel about my life – even everything that came before you – is better with you in it.

I love you, Ashley.

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