1,000 Hearts

I was twenty. So was he.

We didn’t go through a lot of wrenching machinations about if we were right for each other. I loved Jesus. He loved Jesus. We loved each other. We were both headed for missions. Marriage was the next step of the commitment. Love. Marriage. Baby carriage. That’s pretty much how it happened way back when.

And so, as a young newlywed bride, I packed his tin lunchbox with sandwiches and love notes and sent him off to work in the morning with a long kiss.

We were so alike until we got married.

Every day he opened his lunch box with trepidation. Under his bright yellow hard hat, he sweat bullets while the guys on the crew waited to find out what was in the box so they could rib him.  He suffered in silence for awhile.

One day, when the ink on the marriage license was still fresh, I hid about 1,000 tiny metallic red and pink cut out hearts inside the folds of his wrapped sandwich, cookies and napkin. He pulled out the napkin to wipe his blackened work hands. Tiny hearts floated like snowflakes through the sunbeams of the construction site dust. When the laughter quieted, He reached into the round top lunchbox and pulled out his sandwich. Hearts landed on metal supports, wet cement and mud covered work boots. He left the cookies in the box.

That was the end of the romantic lunches.

I still hit and miss sometimes in my attempts to show affection, to understand what he like and doesn’t. We are after all, male and female.

He loves technology.

He likes sweat.

He makes noises that make me think he is dying. So far so good on that.

I don’t always find the best way of honoring him, but I try.

Through the years the hunt has mutated. It’s given way to an ever romantic Amazon on-line list with things I’ve never heard of before. A Lotos-Plasma-Cutter-Tig-Stick-Welder-3-in-1-Combo-Welding-Machine, how breathtaking is that, and a Premium-roll-and-lock-truck-bed-cover. Both languish with their selfies online, waiting to materialize on my front porch.

It is hard to think like he does, and when I do, it’s not always profitable. If I choose something for him because it’s what I’d want, it’s precisely that; what I want. If I find something he wants, I can’t even figure out what it is.

And then Valentine’s Day hits. It often comes as a shock somehow to many men. Sneaks up during the night. And BAM…who knew? Who, in the dark of night, stuck February 14 on the calendar?

Who needs those little romantic nudges anyway?

Life has a way of going around and coming around.

So, a couple of days ago while I was in my husband’s office, on a whim, I ripped off a piece of yellow lined paper and wrote, “You’re amazing.” The memory of how I’d embarrassed him when we were just married dimmed but still a faded warning dinged in my mind. Hoping no one else saw it, I laid it on his keyboard, left it there and forgot about it.

Today, at home, my husband pulled his wallet out and opened it to write a reminder on his little pocket calendar. Technology aside, he still loves his little agenda.

Pen poised to write, I was shocked to see a piece of yellow lined paper wedged into the fold of his worn brown leather wallet DayTimer. Almost as if it had a voice, that yellow paper shouted at me. I stopped mid-step, craned my neck and stared.

The words, “You’re amazing,” scrawled across the piece of paper in plain sight, folded to fit was pressed inside the calendar pages.

Surprised, I looked from the words to his face.

“I guess I just needed it then,” he said, his grin bashful, and might I add I believe there was a twinkle of pleasure? “Thank you.”

Hope has resurfaced.

Do they still make those little packs of a 1,000 cut out hearts somewhere? I’m going shopping.