Real romance takes a lot of different forms, and for me at least, it doesn’t usually come in the familiar media depictions of what romance looks or sounds like. J’s only brought me flowers a total of three times in 15 years. We buy Valentine’s Day candy the day after Valentine’s Day when it’s half price. We don’t go out much. I bet it’s been over a year since the last time we saw a movie in a theater. J’s not a wordy man…I’ve never gotten a composed poem or song…not even a copy of someone else’s work. I’ve never even gotten a love letter that was more than a paragraph long. But J is the great love of my life, despite not giving me any trite, expected romantic gestures.
In fact, I went out with guys who did do that stuff. Single rose on the first date. Flowers for every Potential Flower Appropriate Occasion after that. Box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day. Going out to movies or events every weekend for a while. It’s not that I didn’t appreciate that. I did. But I always sort of felt like it wasn’t real. Not in the ‘imaginary’ versus ‘real’ sense, but in the ‘no feeling behind this, rote, performance’ versus ‘real’ sense. J has always given me REAL. He’s never done mimicry of prescribed romance for me, and it’s one of the many things that set him apart from other men I’d seen and led me to fall in love with him. And stay in love with him.
I swear, sometimes I’m so overwhelmed with love for J…I feel like he’s so perfect for me…that he can’t even be real. In the ‘imaginary’ versus ‘real’ sense. (He is real, though. I routinely check.) I’m a writer with major trust issues, so sometimes I actually have the thought, ‘I wrote him…I invented him…I must have imagined J into life.’ (Again…I didn’t. He’s real. I check.) And there is a trite, expected, familiar, pop love song that is so sweet you about need to go get a glass of milk to wash it down with. It’s fresh flowers every day. It’s the extra large box of Valentine chocolates. So it’s kind of weird that it reminds me of J, because the love songs that I usually personally connect with aren’t nearly this obvious. But that’s why this song reminds me of J. That he’s just so…exactly what I need that it feels OFTEN like I just made him up. And it’s a song I think Samantha thinks about Max, often, in my books, Unscripted and particularly Unedited, which are on sale for another day and change.
So I promised a Middle School Slow Dance song that inspired my most ‘adult’ romance to date, and I’m delivering. Here it is…Savage Garden’s I Knew I Loved You.