Happy Valentine’s Day to those who celebrate. Personally, I don’t expect much. I buy small
gifts for my kids, but my husband and I don’t really exchange gifts. Some years we swap cards, but sometimes not even that. I guess I’m not very romantic. (That’s probably a bad thing for a romance writer to admit.) I’m also not big on surprises.
Thoughts of Valentine’s Day and love got me to thinking about love at first sight. In many books, the hero and heroine will fall into insta-lust, you know, that immediate I-want-to-get-you-naked attraction. That’s biology (or maybe chemistry). Although I can’t remember experiencing it personally, I can believe it happens.
Love at first sight, on the other hand, I have a harder time swallowing. Even as a teenager, the idea of falling in love with someone the first time you meet, didn’t make sense. I hated Romeo and Juliet. (No guy was worth offing myself over.) Even now, while reading a romance, where I know the hero and heroine are going to get together and find happiness, if one of them starts thinking of a happily ever after in the beginning right after they meet, I’m groaning. I don’t see how you can really think you’re in love with someone when you know next to nothing about them.
But then I got to thinking again… I met my husband just over 2 decades ago. We became friends quickly, but didn’t date, even though we were attracted to each other. He had just enlisted in the Marines and was leaving to boot camp in a few months and was busy sowing his wild oats. I wasn’t. At the time, I didn’t think much about our relationship and what it meant. I knew we had something special, but I didn’t consider love. I didn’t believe at love at first sight.
When it was time for him to leave for boot camp, January first, he was supposed to call to say good-bye. He didn’t and after waiting and waiting, I finally called him to find out that his departure had been bumped. I was really upset when I thought he left without saying good-bye. I had waited for his call. I never waited by the phone for a call from a guy. No guy was important enough to waste my time like that. Besides, I had only known him for a few months.
Yet I did.
Looking back, knowing what I know now, I still wouldn’t say that it was love at first sight, but I think that on a very basic and instinctive level, I knew our relationship was different. Somewhere deep down, I recognized that we shared a connection even if I didn’t admit it or address it.
On the first night we met, he came into the hot dog stand where I worked. He made me laugh like no other guy had (not an easy task, let me tell you). I let him stay after we closed and I walked him part of the way home. I lived much farther and his house was on the way.
As an adult thinking about how crazy stupid that was…I don’t know. He could’ve been a bad guy. I walked alone with him (and one of his friends) down a pretty empty street at 11 o’clock at night. If one of my daughters did this, I might be tempted to do her bodily harm for being stupid.
But in my gut, I knew I was safe with him.
How weird is that?
Maybe a writer’s way of explaining that in a shortcut version is to call it love at first sight. I still groan at the idea, but in my old age, I’ve accepted that some things are inexplicable and should just be enjoyed.
Do you believe in love at first sight? How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day?