Monday, February 23, 2009
Blast From the Past
So, I'm getting nostalgic lately. You see, twelve years ago I was just falling in love head over heels. February 1997 was a confusing, exhilarating time. I was totally crazy over my best friend, Mark Sistoso, but scared to death for him to find out--until he told me he was crazy about me too! On February 2, 1997. Then, of course, we didn't know what to do with our new situation. Were we girlfriend and boyfriend? What would we do when I went away to college? Of course, as girls do in those circumstances, I was already practicing my signature with my new last name, naming our future children, and looking at wedding gowns with new interest. Shhh! Don't tell the boys! It would scare them if they knew what REALLY goes on in our heads. :)
Then came February 28, 1997--Mark told me he loved me! And, after some careful consideration, I told him I loved him too. He told me I was the sort of girl he would like to marry one day. This was serious stuff! This was more than gazing at wedding gowns. This was more than just a crush. This was real love...
I wrote this a couple of months later, just before Mark left for a month-long trip to visit his family in California. Note: Keep in mind, this is from the pen of a very lovestruck 18-year-old. :)
THE REALITY OF LOVE
You hold my hand tighter tonight than usual. Is it because you are leaving tomorrow? I know it is. You will not be gone for long, of course. Still, I can sense that sweet touch that farewells always bring--a touch of melancholy, a touch of thoughtfulness. It brings to mind a vague question--"What is real love?"
"Ironic," I think, looking about at the unromantic scene--the busy street, the flashing lights...
At the convenience store on the corner I start to go on, but you stop. I see that look in your eye, that smile on your face and wonder... You pull me inside, and when we step out a few moments later, I'm the proud owner of a rose.
"But I meant to get you a bouquet!" you protest, "I really did, but I got hung up running errands and buying groceries this afternoon..."
You look at me a little sadly. Oh, but don't be! I like my single, convenience store rose much better than a hothouse bouquet. I hold it close as we walk along, hand in hand. Then that question reappears--"What is real love?" Is it so irrelevant?
Tonight we must say "good-bye". If you were Romeo and I Juliet, then our farewell would be said in love-struck words at a moonlit balcony--"Good-night, good-night. Parting is such sweet sorrow..."
But if that is the hothouse bouquet, then give me th single rose of reality. I would not trade that scene for this. True, we cannot see the moon for the towering, gray buildings. Yes, you could not get me flowers because you were busy looking for green onions. I know, you have to leave tomorrow and I have to work. I do not envy Shakespearean romances, though.
Ahead of us, I see a cherry tree in full bloom. It's spreading branches are covered with delicate, white flowers. I tug you towards it, and this time it is your turn to wonder... Reaching up, I pluck a sprig of cherry blossoms for you. You take it as if it were a treasure, a perfect gift.
"Now you can't say I've never given you flowers," I tease, squeezing your hand.
You laugh. We both laugh, and the night bursts with sunshine. Then I see it, the answer to my question. Yes, I see it, there in you hand and here in mine--real love--a single rose and a tiny sprig of cherry blossoms.
Romeo can keep his lovelorn speeches and Juliet her passionate looks. I have something better--reality. The callused hand that clasps mine is warm, the man beside me is my friend, and the joy in my heart is free of pretense.
You kiss my hand gently.
"I love you," you say, and I know it is true.
That is real love.
By Phebe Granderson (Sistoso)
April 17, 1997
**Note: Just in case you were wondering--yes, I still have the sprig of cherry blossoms and the rose.**