Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

It's Valentine's Day today, and so it's time for a little indulgence as I take advantage of this space to wish my beloved wife a Happy Valentine's Day.

The first time I saw my wife was in early September 1978. We were both graduate students in the English program at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and it was the first week of classes. I was twenty-three, new to Kingston and feeling a little out of my depth. She was a new PhD student and I was there to do my Master's. I showed up early to that first class and was sitting with my back to the wall in the seminar room, watching the other students file in to take seats, trying to get a sense of what I'd gotten myself into. The room was nearly filled when she walked in. I took one look and thought to myself, "Wow. Now I'm in a completely different league." She went around the far end of the table and along the wall, taking an empty seat about four or five down from where I was sitting. I was aware of her the entire class and caught a few glimpses of her profile when I dared to lean forward to glance down toward that end of the table. I knew, however, I didn't stand a chance with someone that beautiful, so I was content simply to stay in my seat when class was over and watch her walk out. She left a room as stunningly as she entered one, believe me.

The greatest mystery of my life will always be why she decided I was the one for her. When we married the following summer I didn't really know what had hit me, other than that I'd been married by the most compassionate, the most intelligent, the most patient and the most stunningly beautiful woman on the planet. My hair was too long, my clothing belonged in the thrift store donation bin and my conversational skills were non-existent but for some reason she looked past all that and decided she would share her life with me.

As for myself? Well, I was poleaxed and speechless with love. Any other questions?

Time handles us with rough hands and none of us are what we were when we were young and full of promise, but my wife and I are still in love. We still greet each other warmly in the morning, we can still make each other laugh, and I still feel that really weird sensation in the pit of my stomach when I look at her sideways down the length of a room and she's not aware of it. To be still so passionately in love after thirty-three years is truly a blessing, and I consider myself the most fortunate human being on the planet to have found her that day so long ago.

Happy Valentine's Day, darling. I love you.

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