February 2020 was the last time I thought I had a Valentine. That weekend, I traveled with friends to a conference in Atlantic City, laughing that my husband never really cared about Valentine’s Day, so I was okay missing it.
When we got into the car to get on the road, my friend found that her husband had left her a Valentine’s surprise: A balloon and candy filled the back of her car. His love language includes gifts, and that is awesome and fun. My husband’s love language wasn’t gifts, so I was okay, as usual, not getting any. I had left him a card though – to open on Valentine’s Day.
In Atlantic City, we learned, we presented to others, and we went out to dinner, to a club, to a karaoke bar.
I remember thinking, when my friend’s husband would call and check up on her, “Well, I have traveled a lot the past few years, and I guess he just doesn’t call and check up on me. How nice to have such a relaxed relationship.”
At the karaoke bar, I thought about how it would be fun to go on a weekend getaway to Atlantic City with my husband. He loves to sing, and I realized that after a few drinks, I didn’t mind standing up on stage to sing with others. I mean, if I could do it still dressed in my teacher conference dress and leggings, I certainly could do it with him on a romantic getaway.
During the conference we all joked about it being Galentine’s Day. We felt lucky to celebrate together; whether we were racing to a conference session, walking in the freezing cold to a casino, sitting down for a dinner with friends and colleagues, singing at the karaoke stage, or being hit on by a group of women also celebrating Galentine’s Day.
Later I found out that my husband had a Valentine’s surprise for me too! While I was away, he had Heather over for a sleep over.
They drank Josh wine.
Later I’d find that wine bottle in his office and ask him about it, because he isn’t a big drinker and certainly not in his office. “It was almost empty so I just finished it,” he explained, and somehow I believed him.
They had sex on the couch, or maybe the floor. Maybe both. That’s a detail I actually don’t know. (I’m sure you’ve gathered I know a lot of details.)
Later I’d find out that they fell asleep there, in his office, and she curled up in the nook of his arm – the very same place I thought was my safe spot.
She left in the early hours of the morning, asking if she could go look at my children who were sleeping upstairs.
“I miss the days of watching young children sleep,” she said.
He didn’t let her.
He gets a few points for not letting his mistress sneak up the stairs to stare at my children, I guess.
Later, I’d find the card I’d left him, unopened on his bedside table. “I didn’t want to open it without you here,” he explained. I laughed, since leaving it for him to open while I was gone was the whole point.
So it’s Galentine’s Day again. Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. I don’t expect any Valentine’s Surprises, and frankly I don’t think I could handle any.