I remember kissing him as he lay half asleep in bed, dashing out the door, putting on my tie and shoes in the car while fighting rush hour traffic, and the immense relief as I sat on the bench to begin playing for dinner service at 5 on the dot.
Had I known this would be our last Valentine’s Day together, I would have subbed out the gig entirely to spend the night together.
I was supposed to be home by 9. We had reservations at a steak house we both liked. Not because the food was great but because an older crowd still frequented the restaurant, giving us hope that if 80-something year olds could still take time to dress formally, find enough strength to leave canes and walkers tableside to cut a mean foxtrot on the dance floor, then, we too would have this kind of happy ending.
Instead, I called home to say I would be working until much later. Groggy on pain meds, he said to just bring home dessert.
That chocolate mousse sat in the fridge untouched for a week while I waited for his appetite to return. Then I put it in the freezer thinking that we would enjoy laughing about it next Valentine’s Day.
When he passed a month afterward and I moved out a year later, it was still there.
Frozen with a sweetness beyond inedible, I thought love’s labor was lost forever.
It has taken some time, but I don’t feel that way anymore.
Today, I know that our court shall be a little academy / still and contemplative in living art if I keep vigilance to love more generously, speak more gratefully and act more graciously.
I’ll make each day Valentine’s Day.