I love my husband, and so sometimes - as crazy as it might seem to some with our 10 years of marriage - I pine for him during the day. Yeah, I said pine - especially if I'm bluesy, dejected, mentally malnourished. The pining starts pretty soon after he walks out the door in the morning, as do my preparations for his return home. Before I shuttle the kids to school, I put on more makeup than just a dash of color on the lips or cheeks, and I hope it holds til evening. I dress in nicer clothes, even my heels; though I know with running after kids, they'll have reached their time limit a good few hours before I see him again. And I think about him. It's not some lame dependency. I just know what will cheer me up - his conversation, his humor and his touch.
Luckily, today as I thought of him, rubbed vigorously at the eye makeup badly irritating my lash line, and wiped perfume samples from the Wednesday paper on my wrists, I had a romantic CD to listen to, something that reminded me of My Man.
The CD has Lady Gaga, Amy Whinehouse, Carrie Underwood, Michael Buble (Matthew calls him Mr. Bubble), and k.d. lang among others, and they are all singing duets with Mr. Tony Bennett. Matthew surprised me with this collection of music after we watched the recording sessions on PBS and realized that Tony Bennet has a remarkably good, strong voice for a man of his years; he can still carry the standards so well. And the songs are some of the music I love so very well but listen to so seldom - the swing with your baby around the living room or dance cheek to cheek in the dark variety.
If you still believe in dancing cheek to cheek with your lover instead of romancing phone to phone, Tony Bennett Duets II could be a V-Day treat. Sure, it could use a few more swings songs, but The Lady Is A Tramp w/ Gaga is fresh and fun, and Don't Get Around Much Anymore w/ Buble is spot on. Buble's voice is of course perfect for just such material, and I've come a long way to say that. I have a natural disdain for any man who confesses in an interview that his female fans throw their underwear at him while he's on stage, but, well....I heard him sing I'll Be Home for Christmas for the tree lighting ceremony in Rockefeller Center a few years ago. I was so impressed with his simple, poignant rendition - nothing new, just brilliant in its clear simplicity - that I have not looked back since. I'm a Bubble fan (though very far from the underwear-throwing kind).
There's also a song in the Bennett collection that reminds me of a very special day for My Man and me. The song is Blue Velvet. The day was Christmas Eve 2000. As we sat in his rental car outside my parents house, Matthew leaned over and whispered in my ear, "I love you." To which I whispered back, "What...what did you say?" You can imagine his joy at my response, but the point is that I was wearing a long blue velvet dress when he said those words, and then said them again. Though the song Blue Velvet is sad, it reminds me of my first true I love you.
Approaching Valentine's Day has me thinking about that profession of love and about love generally and the tokens of it, especially flower bouquets. Men have long given women these perfect emblems of beauty judging by the very old songs with lyrics like "flowers for my lady's hair...". Nowadays, these divine gifts from nature are most likely to be genetically altered for color and length of life to the detriment of their gorgeous scent, and they are very often delivered to the door by some online floral affiliate in some exotic bouquet. The chosen flowers represent, as best the man can tell, the nature of the woman he loves. I've received a fair amount of bouquets from my husband. Some, like my perfect little square vase of daffodils, given for an anniversary. Others, like the many bright gatherings of daisies from the supermarket, given simply because I'd had a tough day with the kids (those arrangements have stopped coming; I suppose I complain too much now).
Passing our wedding picture yesterday, I was reminded of how my wedding day bouquet was not quite me. It was perfectly round, smaller, comprised of roses which though absolutely classic have never given me palpitations. My dear sister made it for me, so I am by no means ungrateful. For heaven's sake, I'm the one who opted to have no floral arrangements at all in the church for the ceremony, and I wasn't really bothered by the aesthetics of my special bouquet either. Yet in remembering how symmetrical and tame it was, I thought of how wild and free form I would have liked it to be. Then I was reminded of the best bouquet I have ever received, given to me before my marriage.
The bunch of buds came from My Man and were for absolutely no occasion at all. They were plucked from a roadside field in Texas late in the evening as Matthew was coming home from work. He saw them, thought of me, and picked them out from their abundant fellows by the headlights of his car. He presented them to me at the door where I met him after a long day apart. They cascaded over his hand as he offered them up, fragrant and wild and leafy. I was so thrilled I could barely mumble my thanks as I took them and looked up blushing into my fiance's beaming face. Wildflowers chosen for me! In my mind's eye I could see him kneeling in the dewy grass in his work slacks, pulling flowers from the earth. The romance of it is still a sweet memory.
So there is my valentine as I wait for My Man to come home today - a Tony Bennett CD, the hope of dancing cheek to cheek with My Man to it while wearing sexy if uncomfortable heels, and the memory of a bunch of wildflowers making me flush.
A little addendum: I was flipping through my wedding album tonight and had the opportunity to bestow on the memory of my wedding bouquet more than just a mere passing glance. It was not comprised solely of roses. It had purple and yellow mums with yellow roses, as well as white daisies. Honestly, it was quite beautiful to look at. Yes, the blooms were very meticulously bunched together and as near symmetrical as they could be in design, but I cannot fault my bouquet's flowers, colors, or beauty.
Also, as enduring symbols of passionate love, a dozen deep, deep red roses might indeed have the power to give me palpitations if they came from Matthew's hands.