Love, actually--to quote Hugh Grant from that sappy movie of the same name--is all around us. Hollywood (Didja see how I snuck that contrast/reinforcement technique in?) has conditioned us to only acknowledge love in the form of Grand Gestures--the humongous bouquets of flowers, the impassioned balcony speeches in the pouring rain, the surprise gown-and-jewelry combo ala Pretty Woman. And so we--poor, credulous saps--believe that if it ain't high drama, enormous expense, button-bustin' lust, and an ESP-level "connection", then maybe it isn't love. Or at least not love "as it should be".
Look: there's passion, there's lust, there's like, and there's love. Once in a while, these will actually all come together at the same time, and there you have a True Hollywood Moment. Now presumably it is possible to have a romantic life chock-full of Hollywood Moments--I figure Elizabeth Taylor managed to do it; she just needed nine or ten different guys to get it done. Folks, in real-life, lasting love is not a matter of Hollywood Moments and special occasions like Valentine's Day--it's about every day, in little ways.
1. cigarette The fact is, I stay home with our daughter and helper at our condo while Dean goes out to do his regular juggling act with his assorted companies. I could therefore be expected to wait a few lousy minutes while said helper goes downstairs to buy me a pack of Marlboros; instead, my husband sometimes foregoes a morning smoke himself so that I can have one. And I've never thanked him for it, and I really should. (I try to make it a point to thank him for the little things as well as the big ones--taking me out to dinner, holding my chair, that kind of thing.)
2. chicken Dean adores Kentucky Fried Chicken, to the point where I once got heartily sick of the stuff. (I think he has some fantasy about me in a tub of gravy, but that's not what we're talking about.) However, I do like chicken skin as much as any sane human being who comprehends that it is very nearly the whole point of fried chicken. But on the occasions when I actually agree to have KFC for a meal, I make it a point to give him a hearty swathe of my chicken skin--because I may like the stuff, but he loves it. (Possibly he would give it a gown and jewels if he thought it would appreciate that...) He, on the other hand, thinks that pizza is "not real food", but will occasionally propose that we order some in, simply because he knows I could happily eat pizza for days on end.
3. chair There is really only one comfortable chair in Vin's comic shop, and it is somehow inexplicably understood that Dean and I get automatic dibs whenever we drop by to visit (summarily displacing Vin himself, which probably proves that he is more loving than all the rest of us combined). Who gets there first gets the chair, usually--but Dean will give it up to me if my back hurts, and I will give it up to him if I know he's had a bad or tiring day.
4. child Every night, I read Sage a series (anywhere from two to five) of bedtime stories, and every week or so, my own mother calls me long-distance from the States. I usually enjoy the former and dread the latter--although I know in my head that calling to caution me on all the Woes of the World is my mother's way of expressing her love. When I'm chasing a deadline or just need time not to be someone's child or mommy, however, Dean somehow manages to sense this in time to step in and take over for me. In the case of the phone call, this is not just love; it's fekkin' heroism.
5. cleansing The main reason I do all my copywriting from home is that I like being able to work in my jammies. Left to my own devices, I'd probably take my daily bath just before I sleep. Since I live with my husband and love him, however, I try to be freshly bathed, fragrant, pretty, and preferably slightly damp just as he arrives from work. I religiously bathe again just before bed and slather the ol' moisturizer on for generally the same reason: I want him to always wake up and come home to someone pretty (well, aside from Sage, who needs no such rituals). Not because I'm trying to "keep him from straying", but just because I think it's the least he deserves, really. On his part, he lies to me agreeably and pretends to see a huge difference whenever I indicate particular satisfaction with the current brand of moisturizer, lipstick, or what-have-you.
See? Love is made of moments, and they don't always need to be big ones. Grand Gestures are often premeditated and intricately orchestrated--and don't we just love them precisely because of that?--but it's the small moments that you know are real moments.
Very few people actually live in Hollywood, you know. And even fewer of them live in love for long.