Valentine's day is about to pass us by and I will be spending this one solo. I am just stating fact here, not feeling sorry for myself. Feb 14th is one of those day's in the year where you really can't successfully ignore it if you don't have a significant other, so I am deciding what I am going to do with it.
Even in the days building up to the big Heart day, it is impossible to not notice everyone is all, love happy. For instance I receive daily messages into my inbox lately; - informing me of specials on roses for my darling, -heart related gift ideas, -places to fall in love all over again, -sweetheart parties, -love song playlists, -love, -love, -love......
That's fine, really. You deserve it. Smoooch! I heart you. There I played.
Our love stories are a part of the fabric of our lives, and I really do hope you have a great love story to tell. I have a great love story. It didn't have the ending we anticipated, but all the same, it was a lovely time in my life that I will always remember and hold dear.
So, I am thinking here, in the spirit of Love, this is what I am going to do. Rather than do a rant about Valentines day, I am choosing to turn it around and share something nice with you all. I'll tell you a true love story, it's my story. One that is easily told, if I am asked or inclined to tell, and today I am inclined to share it with you.
My story actually is quite different than some of the stories that have been told about me. I hear that when I left Canada to go back to the UAE way back in 1996, there were some fantastical tales told which involved myself, a mysterious sheik, some camels, and possibly a harem. Ha! They were brilliant actually. I only wish I was as adventurous as some of you think I was. I can see how the tale may have blossomed and evolved over time and distance, but to shed some light, here is a condensed version of my love story.
J and I met on the other side of the globe in the Middle East, both of us working thousands of miles from our own homes and families. J was working in the financial branch of an oil exploration company, and I was on a three month tour with an all girl band.
One weekend near the end of our stay in the UAE, the band was invited out on a beach trip. This was pretty much a weekly event, where a large group of about 20-30 friends would take their boats to a deserted sandbar island. They would pitch gear, and hang out all day long, water-skiing, tubing, swimming, cooking, eating, drinking, listening to music, and just enjoying the white sandy beaches, endless blue skies, and crystal clear water.
I saw J the moment he stepped off his boat, he was gorgeous, all scruffy and relaxed because it was his day off. His thick black hair was overdue for a cut so it was covering his chocolate brown eyes as it fell over his face and he had to keep flicking his head to the side so he could see, which really seemed to annoy him but I thought it was quite sexy. When he spoke he had a rich deep British accent which appealed to me in every way, and I could not help but steal glances at him as we danced around each other all day, just close enough to be aware of each other, but never quite engaging beyond polite conversation.
I can feel some of you rolling your eyes at me, yes, I admit was very lame, a chicken, I am aware of that. To be fair to me though, I was running on common sense too, and felt that since I was going home soon. It seemed so pointless to me to do anything but admire the beautiful boy from afar, why torture myself by trying to speak coherently? So, admire him I did, and it was lovely for me.
J and I had seen each other a few times since the day on sandbar island, and it was always more of the same, we figured we liked each other, but wouldn't do anything about it. (it never even occurred to me for a second to move back to the UAE , cause that would be crazy right?). Anyhow, it actually took some outside intervention, but we did finally manage to connect.
And looking back, I really do have to laugh at what a couple of weenies we were.
The band were invited to a gathering where J also happened to be, and upon our arrival, one of J's friends decided it would be a fabulous idea to hand-cuff me and J together, so that we would stop running away from each other. It was a bit drastic, but the plan worked and we finally fell into an easy conversation that excluded everyone else in the room but us.
I barely knew J, from a time perspective, but both of us knew we had made a very special connection, there was no doubt for either of us, and the day I made the long flights home to Canada, I felt hollow, as if I was leaving my heart behind me, dying in the sandy desert.
It did not take long for that sadness to be replaced by excitement however, as shortly after returning home, the letters started to land in my mailbox, and then flowers arrived, and then,........ the boy showed up.
He had literally crossed oceans for me.
Mom was impressed, as was I.
J came on the road with me for the next couple of weeks ( I was playing music all over the BC at the time so it was the perfect way to show him around my beautiful province), we may as well have been handcuffed to each other all over again, we barely left each others side.
It was a magical time, we were glowing, we experienced all of the cheesy cliches that supposedly go along with falling in love, the comfort, the magic. We saw every falling star and made wishes on them, and we were sure of each other, in every way. At the end of the summer, after he had been back home for several weeks, he sent me a plane ticket to come see him. I arrived back in the Middle East on my 26th birthday.
Within a few months, we found ourselves getting married at the towns city hall where we lived in the UAE. The entire "ceremony" was in Arabic and we, stared at each other from across the room, giggling and feeling like we were in the principles office, waiting to hear if we were in trouble or not.
To this day we still have no idea what was said in that office on the day we got married, but apparently, J "purchased" me, and according to our marriage booklet, (which is also in Arabic) he can legally have a couple more wives if he wants to. I told him that if she was really cute and willing to do the dishes, I would consider it. ; )
It was all a marvelous whirlwind, and truly the great romance story of my life, complete with all the fun, travel and adventure that a young girl could ever dream about. We wanted for nothing, we didn't want much, we just loved being in love, loved being together in a another country, loved learning about the places we traveled to. We enjoyed exploring new cities and, meeting new people and finding new things to do. I had some incredible learning moments along the way, and I experienced parts of the world that you simply have to see, taste, smell, and feel, to fully comprehend or believe.
We lived on 4 different continents over 7 years, and along the way we adopted a chocolate Lab, and made two wonderful children. I am so glad to say that I lived this life, glad that I had the opportunity to experience the world this way. I gained so much from living abroad and finding my way around the world with a partner. We really had it all for a while. I think we were lucky for that, and that should be remembered.
We do still have it all in a way, but its a just different picture than we had first imagined, life just happens sometimes. We are still very close friends, and I can trust J for anything. And we love those kids, so wouldn't dream of hurting or dis-respecting one another, for fear of putting them in the middle.
In a day and age where broken marriage is sadly becoming the norm, I am thankful that if a split had to happen to me, at least I picked a guy who is still being a supportive and caring Dad. Not every woman can say that. But not every woman keeps an open door for their childrens' Father to easily connect with his kids either, and women really need to do that. For their children, they must. It's true, J and I couldn't keep the marriage intact, but we sure figured out how to co-parent well together, and that's really saying something.
So, I have had my love story, I don't begrudge you yours. I count myself as lucky for having a love story in the first place, considering I had to be handcuffed to a fella in order to even talk to him properly, it's actually a wonder that I got married at all.
And I am not going to sit around looking like I suck on lemons all day either, because, well, you all know me by now. On Feb 14th this year, I am going to take the lemons and make lemonade. I have signed myself up for a songwriting workshop this Saturday. I have been on a creative little run lately anyway, so this is a good place to channel my energy. I have never taken a songwriting course, so I believe it will be quite enlightening and probably very inspiring.
The silver lining here, is that musically this whole being single thing actually works for me, being unencumbered as I am, I am free to imagine whatever I like, and the ideas just seem to flow because I don't have to explain anything. I write without self-editing, and I can use any muse that appeals to me. This opens the door for a great deal of free expression, and I am simply loving it! It's clearly my time for this so I am not going to worry about what I don't have, and will instead be grateful for all that is good in my world.
So for those of you who are gearing up for a lovey-dovey evening with the person you adore, I wish you the very best Happy Valentines Day ever! And if you are like me, and are going to be flying solo this Saturday Feb 14th, do something fun anyways, treat yourself, embrace it, and go face the day head on. Or, better yet, go and handcuff yourself to the person you fancy, you never know what could happen.......