“Hey, your face doesn’t look weird when your hair is wet.”
I look up from the stream of water, wiping my face, “Thanks… I guess?”
“That means you have a really pretty face.”
It’s the first compliment I remember; the first REAL compliment.
Last night was Valentine’s Day and work held him up until later than I was pleased with. I started cooking our dinner alone. A wave of annoyance and irritation ran through me which brought me to irrationally decide how mad I was going to be when he finally arrived.
I used to get more upset about things than I do now. In my past relationship, arguments were pervasive. Problems turned into cold shoulders turned into fights. This time around I have a new sense of respect for being patient and selfless and I catch myself when I get into that old habit. Our beginning was hard and before most people would’ve gone on their third date we had to decide if this was a relationship worth the effort it was going to take before we even had a chance to try. That process was slow and thoughtful and heavy but I learned more about the strength of patience than I ever have.
I remembered that last night. I knew he didn’t want to be at work late any more than I did. His excitement about the gift he had made me and the recipe he picked out for us to make was something he was looking forward to just as much as I was. When he walked through the door his eyes proved it. I wasn’t upset; I was so excited to see him. Instead of annoyance, a ten-minute hug. Instead of irritation, an “I’m sorry your day was hard. How can we make it better?” Appropriately, his Valentine’s card reads “You’ve taught me to really try at love and be selfless. Any time we’ve had issues, we’re able to calm the other down and work through it.”
The second time around you are more realistic when it comes to love. You look at the relationship as a whole where every moment and action and reaction matter. You realize it takes effort; constant effort. Moments matter. Shared gratitude for one another matters. Touch matters. Talking in person matters. The only thing you shouldn’t give a damn about is time, because if you do it right you’ll have lots of it and in order to do it right you have to sustain these moments. He asked me once if I think there will be a time where he won’t get butterflies when he sees me for the first time that day. Tears may not swell in my eyes the way they did at the first “I love you” but I promised this kind of love will never be taken for granted.
Last night, after we made our dinner, we curled up in bed and watched old episodes of Seinfeld. In one, George had just started wearing a headpiece when Kramer set him up on a date with a bald woman.
He turns to me and jokes, “You’d be pretty even if you were bald.”
I insert a hot dad joke about his who has a shaved head. I win.
This morning in to the bathroom I’ve got my wet hair wrapped up in a towel.
“See, this is what I would look like if I were bald” I say.
“Yeah and you’d still look good, because you have a really pretty face.”