by Caitlin Howery
Love is gross. Love makes you feel things, whether you want to or not. Love doesn’t care if it’s a convenient time for you. Sometimes, it’ll show up before you’ve gotten yourself ready. Or it’ll take its sweet time even when you’re begging and wishing for it to appear. Then, as soon as it shows up, it swallows up the little bit of common sense that you had and holds it hostage. It invades your thought process, making it pretty much impossible to focus on anything else. Want to finish your homework ahead of time? Too bad. Want to actually get stuff done today? Oh well. Instead, you’re going to lose yourself in feeling those feelings. Ew. I know right? I, myself, was proud to say that I was someone who did not feel those “feelings” that everyone talks about. I was someone who kept myself so busy with school and work that I didn’t have the time or energy to put up with all the drama that comes with romance and all that fluffy, mushy stuff. Romance is a lie anyway. Those sappy Hallmark movies and over-dramatized romance films that you see in the movie theater never portray what happens in real life. Yes, they might make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, for about two hours. But once the movie is over, you have to go back to your life, where the perfect love interest is not waiting at your door with gentle kisses and warm hugs. Instead, it’s just your cat, who only summons you when he needs food.
I regret to inform many of you that Valentine’s Day is this week. Like a lot of other people, I’ve never been a fan of the holiday. I don’t enjoy the idea of showing people love and affection just because the calendar says we should. Flowers and chocolates, going out to dinner, or whatever else people do, should be done on those random days when your loved one least expects it. Surprise them after they’ve had a long day at work. Or even surprise them while they’re at work. Those little things mean so much more when they aren’t expecting it. But I can also relate to those who simply like an excuse to pamper someone they love. Just like others, I like buying gifts and putting in some effort to make them feel loved and adored. For me, it’s just another day that I get to do something fun with Joe.
June 5, 2017. 2:30 pm. That’s when Joe and I officially met.
My friend posted a picture of me on her Snapchat story, advertising that I was single. That’s when Joe asked her for my number. I thought, sure, why not?
A few minutes later I got a text saying, “Hey so when are we going on a date?” Damn, he’s blunt, I thought. I like that.
On our first date, we met at the park in Fair Oaks Village. I knew instantly who he was because he was the only guy sitting by himself on a park bench. He also had a lost look on his face, so it had to be him. I dodged the chickens roaming around in the grass and sat down across from him. My first thought: He smells good.
I honestly don’t remember a lot of the exact details of the things he talked about. I was already nervous, along with the fact that it was hot as fuck outside and we were surrounded by really obnoxious chickens. I remember a bunch of stories about him hanging out with his friends, he told me about his family, and he seemed to have a never-ending supply of really dark jokes. Even though I wasn’t keeping up with him 100% of the time, he was different, and I liked that. Plus, I was still entertained by the fact that his last name is Boring.
I knew I liked him when we were sitting on the hood of his car (a 1979 El Camino, which he is very proud of) in a Walmart parking lot. He bought me Bottle Caps, one of my favorite candies as a wee child. They didn’t taste nearly as good as I remember, but it wasn’t the candy that made this moment memorable. It was the simplicity. How something as simple as talking and eating candy in a parking lot could somehow be romantic. We didn’t need to go out and spend a bunch of money or do anything extravagant in order to have a good time.
Before, I didn’t think romance was my thing. But I’ve learned that simplicity is my thing, and simplicity is romantic. We spend a lot of our time going on walks and hanging out near Red Bridge (for those who don’t know what Red Bridge is, it’s a red bridge above the American River in Fair Oaks), getting food (all the time), taking naps, making special trips just for milkshakes (because why not?), going for drives and listening to music in the car, and talking lots of shit. Joe and I don’t have cute pet names for each other and we don’t send mushy text messages back and forth. Instead, we call each other “fatass,” then we laugh and follow it up with “I love you.” And when he goes to work, which he is never excited about, I tell him, “Have fun. You got this. I believe.” When I’m feeling tempted to not show up to class or am feeling overwhelmed by the mountain of homework that I have to deal with, he says, “You can do it. I believe.” I don’t know how, but for some reason that makes it better.
Happy Valentine’s Day, Joe. And yes, fatass, you still smell good.
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