February 13, 2011

I Want What She’s Having. ~by Pat Smith

Photo: JM Scottimd

Although Valentine’s Day is, at best, a close second to the grateful florist’s nightmare—Mother’s Day bouquet orders, Cupid’s Arrow still cuts across most cultural and religious backgrounds in this country (more painfully when that arrow misses as it flies past your target).

Ah, the interminable distance between Eros and Agape. Bring me your higher love, when what I ordered didn’t arrive on Valentine’s Day.

When Harry Met Sally is to Valentine’s Day what It’s a Wonderful Life is to Christmas. I stocked up on tissues last night for the next viewing.

Photo: Anil Jadhav

During the retail insanity of a Pandora charm purchase on December 23, the jewelry store staff rang a bell with each sale. I couldn’t resist and snarked out, “Did an angel earn its wings?”

Nobody asked about the red bauble I purchased out of true love.

Not too many years ago, before Valentine’s Day, my crazy posse of friends’ hearts were strewn around like a northeast commuter train wreck on the 10 o’clock news. Just in time, about a dozen copies of “Will Our Love Last?” by Dr. Sam Hamburg arrived from as many indy booksellers.

None the wiser after re-reading that same book, I’m laughing my way through a website of bawdy jokes and texting them to the latest crop of broken hearts this weekend. Mae West is next, and yes, you remember exactly what she said, boys and girls.

“I want the rest of my life to start as soon as possible,” says Harry, in the moment which brings a tear each time.

Yes, that stuff exists in real life.

How sweet it is to be loved by you” came out of the shiny, newfangled clock radio Dad bought for Mom. Their marriage lasted until death did them part on their 30th wedding anniversary, which later became Dad’s funeral day. These days, James and Carly are just friends, but that duet lives on.

For all the conversations where I hear myself say “never again,” of course I will again. So will my gal pals and bros until the new dose of love medicine arrives.

Photo: Jessica Spengler

The final minutes of When Harry Met Sally are undeniably hopeful.

So what has been my best medicine in between Eros and Agape? My nephew, all milk-drunk and blissed out, burrowed under my left breast at six weeks and melted my heart. Then my best friend’s son bruised my ego when he lovingly asked for Uncle Pat before we watched Chuggington.

Thich Nhat Hanh reminds us that when our attention is closed off into these moments of heartbroken musings, we miss the most important moments of love. In the moment I take my attention away, I miss the smile of a dog, I miss the glance of a friend across the room, I miss an unexpected connection.

I don’t want what she is having, because I don’t know what life has ordered up for her, for them, for my moment of distraction—too many complications “on the side.” Attentive focus, being in the moment, is part of falling in love.

Instead, I want the rest of my life to begin as soon as possible. There are a lot of smiles and hugs to release, when I’m not stuck in my head.

Happy Valentines Day, Gentle Reader.

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