Big Hearted

For Valentine’s Day, I bought my husband a used CD player that I found on the shelf at the St. Vincent de Paul Store in Madison. It had the instructions and extra plugs taped to it, giving the illusion that maybe it had never been used, so I bought it, thinking it would be my only opportunity to get him a present before getting back to Milwaukee.

Oddly, it’s the perfect gift. Now he can play the CD he bought from the beautiful pianist, Joyce Yang, during intermission at the symphony. I remember him taking the stairs two at a time to be first in line, though I thought it was to get me a drink. By the time I caught up with him, he was posing with her, having somehow convinced a stranger to take their picture. He obviously was taken. I don’t blame him. She was extraordinary.

We fluctuate wildly with Valentine’s Day. One year, we get each other expensive presents. The next year, we pat each other on the head. There’s no predicting and not much difference one way or the other. The die is cast.

He greets me at the door in his Packers hoodie. With the hood up. When he wears a hoodie this way, he looks amazingly like Marty Feldman as Igor in Young Frankenstein. There is big news he was watching still playing on the TV, but he sits in the kitchen waiting to hear every detail of my big day in Madison attending a legislative hearing. Who said what, then what happened. It occurs to me that not everyone has this when they come home from slaying their wee dragon, their partner genuinely interested in what they did that day. But I knew it would be like that, getting out of the car, and walking in the house. I knew he would want to hear all about it. It is what we do when we fly back to the nest.

Every day is a comfort. Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Wednesday. They are the same except for the food. There isn’t waiting for a big day. This is the big day we have.

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