I’m not at all sure it’s a good idea to tell this story. No one’s ever called me “discerning,” though. So I’m going to tell it anyway.
I’ve spent most of my life trying (successfully, for the most part) to win the love of the woman who most loves Gods Tomorrow. That’s a writer’s fairytale, right there.
Still, I haven’t always been with Trish. I dated a couple other girls, while I was still a stupid high school kid, and as is probably to be expected, both relationships ended in dramatic conflagration. In other words, they ended in good stories. And the better story (which is to say, the one that makes me look far worse), is Lindsay’s.
We dated for seven months — most of my junior year in high school — and the story of how we got together could be a really sweet one, if it weren’t so overshadowed by the ending. The ending, though….
There came a point when, for whatever stupid high school reason, I became convinced the relationship needed to be over. It wasn’t really any shortcoming of hers, or really anything specific. I was just a deeply romantic sort of person back then, and I didn’t feel like the relationship lived up to my expectations anymore. There was insufficient magic.
And once I’d come to that conclusion, it was over. The tragedy, though, was that I came to that conclusion on February 10th. Romantic that I was, the imminence of Valentine’s Day did not escape me, and that presented a huge problem.
See…I was concerned that, if I broke up with her before Valentine’s Day, we’d live the rest of our lives wondering if a successful holiday date might have been just the magic needed to save the relationship. And, of course, I had some concern she might feel…I dunno, ripped off, that she didn’t get to have a Valentine’s Day. I mean, how sad is that, to be newly-dumped on the most romantic of all holidays?
On the other hand, if we did stay together through Valentine’s Day, and then I broke up with her afterward…well, that would just undermine the whole value of the magical memory. Right? She’d know those happy hours for the sham they were, and probably hate me more for it.
I’ve since been told, often and fervently, that I was a moron for thinking this was a difficult decision. To me, though, it was a puzzle I couldn’t solve.
So…well, Valentine’s Day rolled around, and I still hadn’t decided, so I stuck with the plans we’d already made. I went to pick her up, dressed up all fancy, and found her completely stunning. We went out to an extravagant dinner, made pleasant conversation over our Big Macs, and then I drove her out to a romantic overlook out by the lake.
I spread a blanket, and we stretched out side-by-side to stare up at the brilliant sky all full of stars, and for a long time we just lay there enjoying the beauty of it. Then she poked me gently in the ribs and said, “You’re awful quiet.”
I probably grunted in response, unsure what to say, and she said, “Whatcha thinkin’ about?”
I looked over at her, held her eyes for a moment, but I couldn’t keep it up. I looked back up at the stars and said, “Well…there’s something I need to discuss with you, but I don’t know if we should discuss it now, or later. It’s…well, it’s not very happy.”
She surprised me with a big smile, and rested her head on my shoulder. “Later,” she said. “If it’s not happy, save it for later, because this is just too perfect.” She sighed deeply, and then said with a chuckle, “I mean, unless you’re going to break up with me or something.”
I bit my lip, and then said quietly, “So…we should discuss it now.”