Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Who ever said that Love was Cliché?

I don't care so much for Valentine's Day... Instead, I prefer Martin Luther King Junior Day. That third Monday of January in which America recognizes its civil rights hero... and the day on which I first recognized Marci as a woman and as an affect of my affection. I can remember the exact moment, in fact, when that illumination occured in the dim light of the community center. She was scarcely an arm's length in front of me and below me, seated on the floor, as the amber glow reflected from her golden tresses to light up a new part of my brain. In that moment, she was no longer merely a benign presence in my periphery. She was no longer just another member of the church youth group. She was no longer an anonymous high school "girl." She became a beautiful woman. She became a source of radiance and excitement. She became a muse, awaking new unspoken poetry that I had never before experienced. And every Martin Luther King Junior Day in the fourteen years since -- as well as every Valentine's Day -- has been about her.

I love her. I care deeply about her and for her.

But I don't care so much for a rich assortment of chocolates from a heart-shaped box... Instead, I prefer sizzling bratwurst. That smothering, smokey, sweet atmosphere of an August street festival signaling the end of the summer... but also signaling the beginning of a new relationship with Marci, back in 1993. The memory of our first date -- at the Bucyrus Bratwurst Festival -- still quite literally provokes a taste in my mouth, an aroma in my nostrils, and a distinct sensation of the glorious stirrings of young love within the deepest parts of my being. We watched the parade. We rode the ferris wheel. We listened to the nasal whine of country-western music pumped over loudspeakers. And we found ourselves unequivocally falling in love... In fact, that day of walking down the paved midway of downtown Bucyrus proved to be the first day of 4,561 (and counting) days of unbroken accompaniment on the road of life. And every step of the last 4,561 days, every bite of the last 13,683 meals -- whether bratwurst or chocolates -- has, in one way or another, involved her.

I love her. I care deeply about her and for her.

But I don't care so much for a dramatic bouquet of red roses... Instead, I prefer sweet and simple wildflowers plucked from the vast prairies of North America's Great Plains. That casual smattering of blue, yellow, and white blossoms plucked from the fields of the Cross Roads Range which clearly indicated my poor comprehension of basic floral arrangement techniques... but which also clearly indicated my relentless preoccupation with the woman who was writing me daily letters from a thousand miles away, responding to my daily letters and maintaining our thread of connection across a summer of geographic separation. I was such a young man in that photograph -- a seventeen-year-old boy, really -- holding out that cluster of wildflowers for Marci to see half a week later, pulled out from the envelope along with my regular love letter. Yet I was mature enough to realize Marci's infinite value, investing in our relationship even through the least favorable circumstances. And indeed, the compound interest of those investments has made me very satisfied -- whether our table is adorned with nobles' roses or paupers' wildflowers -- because my life has been enriched by her.

I love her. I care deeply about her and for her.

But I don't care so much for convention or cliché. Instead, I prefer the unique understandings shared with my Marci -- intuitively internalizing intimate contexts that no one else can claim in the ways that we can. Because that's what love is. That's what care is. That's where meaning finds its anchor -- no matter the adornments, no matter the menu, no matter the day of the year. I find it all in her.

8 Comments:

At 4:46 PM, Blogger Bret said...

that's a cool post Eric - you and Marcey are a great couple and it's cool to see some of the history I never knew.

 
At 6:56 PM, Anonymous mom said...

You have, indeed, found an exceptional woman, and I'm touched by your love for her. Thanks for making her a part of our family!!

 
At 7:16 PM, Blogger Marco said...

That's a good piece of romantic proze you got there, Eric...

Including Bratwurst in your lovestory and even romanticizing it requires a lot of writing skills hahaha...

 
At 4:11 AM, Blogger Jay said...

Ah, yes...the bratwurst festival. It's nice that you now accept and relish it's presence in your history, but sad that, because of this, I can no longer tease you about it.
Does Marci ever read your posts? I know it's a rare time when Heather gets to mine. I'm just thinking it would be a shame if she never got to see this.

 
At 7:44 AM, Blogger Eric Asp said...

It's funny how my perception of various events from our history have changed over times -- things that were once somewhat embarrassing now feeling noteworthy and nostalgic (yes, even bratwurst). It's all a part of the unique story of us...

And it's true that Marci probably hasn't read this post yet -- but she got her own hand-written version (with "you"s instead of "her"s)... and what's even cooler is that she had also written me a beautiful letter for Valentine's Day that alluded to some of the same themes from our history!

 
At 5:00 PM, Anonymous fla said...

I smile....who could think that one might use bratwurst and romance in the same sentence! I smile because I'm so glad that you are a part of my family. I smile because I love Marci, too, and know that she is a woman of priceless value!

 
At 5:20 AM, Blogger Eva Ellingsworth said...

luv it.
eva

 
At 6:15 AM, Blogger patricia said...

ditto what eva said. =)

And ...

In a world where so many people seem to be complaining about their circumstances or their significant others, it's so refreshing to read a true celebration of real love in all its complexity and mystery as well as its simplicity and everyday-ness.

 

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