Lessons in Love & Ginger Ale


The morning has me
looking in your eyes
and seeing mine 

warning me
to read the signs carefully
-Nico

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, Pinterest is exploding with heart-shaped cutesy, new lovers are racing to lingerie stores, haters are stock-piling enough beer to block out all the pink noise, and the rest of us are kind of just shrugging our way through it.  Now don't get me wrong, it's not that I don't enjoy the day itself.  We usually end up going to a nice restaurant and exchanging small gifts, and since I love dressing up in rosy colours, I blend in like a chameleon on the day of love.  It's just that Valentine's Day sometimes also brings out the panic in me.  It can feel like a yearly status meeting, one filled with pressure, bullet points, and deadlines.  It can also feel a bit staged if your mind is immersed in other worries.

If you happen to be in a relationship when the day in question rolls around, you're either happily so, or you're one of the million of other shades that range from in-between to unhappy.  But on this day, rather than encouraging couples to soberly look at their relationships from all angles and then toast to their efforts, we tend to mask our weaker points in ribbons and roses.  Personally, I have to wonder how presenting my boyfriend with his favourite malt whiskey can adequately summarize a year in which I've been both tender and cruel towards him, supportive and dismissive, patient and demanding.  A year of highs and lows and all the baggage that comes with eight years of loving someone to the best (and sometimes worst) of one's abilities.  Also, how can his showering me in perfume fully articulate our past, present and future together?  It can't, which is why I turn to the subject of ginger ale.

I've been feeling rather sick lately, half of my head feels like it's on fire and my stomach is doing back-flips.  Every morning I keep waking up hoping the sensation goes away but it doesn't.  The doctor is as stumped as I am, but doesn't think it's anything to worry about.  Not feeling 100% still has the effect of putting me in a really crummy mood.  When I come home from work, my boyfriend goes through the process of flattening out ginger ale to help settle my stomach.  He does it patiently while I rattle on about the injustices of life and ponder whether I might be dying of some unknown disease.  He does it without rolling his eyes at me, all the while knowing that if I was in his position, I might be rolling my eyes at him.  These kind of tender gestures often go unnoticed in our household, but when you're feeling as vulnerable as I am these days, you take more notice of the people you love.  Laying on the couch, I have to wonder how many people would flatten ginger ale for me?   

So this Valentine's Day, rather than shove presents at each other thoughtlessly, or profess our undying love as if reading from a script, I'm going to try something new.  I'm going to take a sober look at our love from all its angles (flattering and unflattering) and toast to ginger ale, or rather, the unfaltering dedication of the person who pours it.