I’ve never really gotten Valentine’s Day.
I’ve always viewed it as a saccharin-sweet Hallmark day, commercialised to maximise the sale of cards, chocs and flowers, to tell that someone special that for this one day, you love them more than everything else. More today than any other day. Like the other days don’t matter.
The other days do matter. That’s why this year, my Valentine’s card isn’t a card at all, it’s this blog post.
And it goes like this:
To Caroline. My Valentine,
We’ve had good days, great days, bad days and sad days - though I think significantly more of the former than the latter, by gad. And, though I can’t pretend to have remembered every single one of them, I do know that I’m thankful for each one that I spend with you. Sometimes we get it wrong, but much, much more often than not we get it so, so right without even having to think about attempting to try.
Here are some of the days I remember.
Watching a total lunar eclipse in pitch darkness on a beach on Kaua’i, laying on cool grass watching the moon take on an otherworldy amber tinge as it passed into the earth’s shadow.
Eating a delicious, wholly vegan Thanksgiving dinner (not something I thought I’d ever write, if I’m honest!) in the tiny, ramshackle Vegetarian-and-only bar in Kanab, Utah, after driving 350 miles and not eating any lunch or breakfast.
Attempting to work out what was wrong with the washing machine, only for the water inlet to shear off, drenching us both and the entire kitchen, you desperately running around trying to switch off the water mains.
Lying in bed, just talking, making plans - or unmaking plans - just telling stories, until 3 in the morning on a schoolnight.
Deciding to go shopping in Selfridges, but ending up spending the afternoon drinking far too much wine in the basement bar - so much that we wound up spending a small fortune on a dozen, individual, bottles to take home - and nothing else!
Our first New Year’s Eve, in my old flat, 12 storeys above East London, watching all of the fireworks go off all around us, with my sister and my mum.
Playing frisbee in the sun at the park in Ecclesfield with Aimee, mum and Hollee.
Sitting on a bench outside the Strongroom bar in Shoreditch, in the pouring rain, under a canopy on the first night I met you. Well - most of us were under a canopy.
Drinking jugs of Pimms on the roof in the sunshine, listening to music through the tinniest of tinny speakers, while reading the Saturday papers.
Being utterly, utterly terrified, driving across the Rockies in a thick snowstorm, seeing crashed cars strewn over the central reservation, not knowing whether to stop or to carry on.
Vegetating on the sofa, in our pyjamas, under a duvet, watching TV and playing games. “Just one more episode….”
Getting utterly soaked in Brussels, eating cheese with celery salt and drinking ridiculously strong Belgian beer.
Seeing Aimee run straight to you, giving you a huge hug and insisting on holding her hand after a long train ride to see us.
Being literally the only customers left in an Irish bar in Honolulu, watching a reggae duo perform their repertoire, and being rewarded by the band giving us a free copy of their latest CD.
Some of these days happen on holidays, some are just random days. Some re-occur and they play out just the same, but, y’know - different too. They’re all important to me, like every regular, mundane, frustrating or otherwise boring day is too, and today is no different. I love each of the days with you all equally.
There are countless other days, and I hope - many, many more to come.
Happy Valentine’s Day, @cazzmonkey.