True romance

December 7, 2016 § 2 Comments

There’s an old man I know, who married his best friend quite late in life. And I remember going to visit them one Sunday afternoon.

While the old man played dolls with my two-year-old in a sun puddle on the carpet,mthis wife served the tea. She brought me my cup and then glanced at her husband with fierce love before looking back at me.

“Do you know what Bill* did this morning?” she said, fingering a string of tiny pink glass beads that lay across the base of her throat. “I had taken this necklace off to go and do something, and I just tossed it onto the bed,” she said. “When I came back into the bedroom, Bill had shaped it into a heart on my bedside table.”

She smiled. Her voice wobbled in sympathy with a welling tear, and another look passed between them. He returned her smile quietly, and returned his attention to wrestling a small doll into tiny clothes, with fingers unaccustomed to the dexterity required.

And I thought, as I witnessed that exquisite moment, that this was what romance was really about.

It’s not about grand gestures, and orchestrated events, and all the stories that Hollywood and the commercial machine tells us romance is about. It’s not about diamonds and string quartets and couples dressed in white, riding horses along a deserted beach. Those standards are set so impossibly high that most of us could never even begin to achieve them.

And I’m not buying it – literally or figuratively. Because I think real romance is in a thousand ordinary moments of understanding what makes your beloved happy, what makes them tick.

It’s a bloom plucked on an early morning walk, a favourite cake bought or baked, a love note on the fridge just because you were thinking of them. It’s a cup of tea together in the garden at the end of a long day, or the sharing of a perfect peach, or a bowl of gleaming cherries after dinner. It’s a badly sung love song, a gentle hand squeeze, a glance across the room at a shared private joke.

We get so caught up in the manufactured idea of what romance looks like that I think we often forget that there’s something much more beautiful, more thoughtful, more meaningful at our disposal every single day.

All it takes is attention, intention, and the willingness to see an ordinary moment as an opportunity to remind someone that they, and they alone, have possession of your heart. And it doesn’t cost a thing.

* Not his real name

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