Danny's on the way home from the restaurant right now. He's exhausted — I could tell from his voice on the phone — from cooking for couples all night long. Maybe someone proposed at one of the tables, with a flourish of cloth napkin and candlelight and teary eyes. Maybe they were eating Danny's pork loin special (stuffed with homemade garlic pork sausage, seared, and roasted) before it happened.
Maybe some couples had lousy nights, because they had so many expectations of this drippy day. (But the pork special probably helped.)
I really dislike Valentine's Day. I disliked it when I was single because I didn't have someone bringing me velvet heart-shaped boxes filled with slightly squashed chocolates because he had been so fervent in pressing them to his chest before he could reach me. Now that I'm married, I dislike Valentine's Day because it feels so artificial.
Love feels much more like this evening will be. Danny will come home after 10 pm, tired and smelling of garlic and the grill. He'll take off his hat — his hair sticking out above his ears — and fold me in his arms. Then he'll go into our daughter's room and watch her sleep for a moment. We'll sit on the couch smooshed with crackers left over from her lunch and food stains on the cushions. We'll sit down side by side, legs touching, the both of us tired but talking until midnight, sharing our day.
We might have a picnic on the couch and watch the Olympics. Probably, pizza. Maybe like this one — soft mozzarella, chevre, homemade puttanesca, and little slivers of prosciutto.
There will be no roses, no chocolates, no cards. Just the comfort of knowing each other, and knowing what love feels like, and no longer having to explain it to anyone else.