Valentine’s Day, 1992. We grin at the camera, our cheeks flushed almost as red as the heart-shaped balloons and streamers draped everywhere in that tiny basement suite we lived in at the time.
I was crazy about him then. Now, I look at that picture and can barely remember that period of my life. But he’s the only man I’ve ever decorated a whole kitchen for just for Valentine’s Day. So he’s there in my photo book forever, a piece of my history.
The mind plays tricks on you when you drift away from somebody you once loved. The years pass and the memories fade, and pretty soon you’re wondering if you ever even loved them at all. The forgetting process accelerates after you meet somebody else and start a “new life” together, in which there is much about the old life that won’t be discussed.
But photos never lie. They hold you there in that moment, with the love shining out of your eyes. Whatever happened to the two of you after that, well, it happened. But right then — right when the camera caught what you thought was going to be the first Valentine’s Day of forever with your brand-new beau — you loved each other. And really, what’s wrong with that?
I have a new man now; we’ll be marking our thirteenth Valentine’s Day together this year, a personal best for me. I love him, and it’s hanging in this time. I would like to say that it’s all about meeting “the one,” but I suspect it’s more about meeting the right person at the right time, in the right head space.
We have been through each other’s photo albums, and acknowledged our past loves. He has welcomed various old loves of mine into this new life of ours, even having them over for dinner sometimes. Maybe his ex-wife will come over one day and we’ll look at old photos together.
This Valentine’s Day, I’m going to take a picture of my man and me. There we’ll be, in love forever.
“I Heart Balloons” C1ssou @ flickr. Creative Commons. Some rights reserved.