Anne and I are giving each other Valentines via our journals. I won’t know what she’s written until she posts her new diary, and she won’t know what I’ve written until she sees this journal on the site.
Anne, even though we’ve been married 32 years, this Valentine’s message feels as fresh and wonderful as the first Valentine I ever gave you. As the years have passed, though, I’ve find myself able to look back on ever more happiness. And yet, I always remember that first moment, that is engraved on my soul.
I’d been living alone in New York for about six months and I was LONELY. I was the kind of guy that girls just automatically counted out–not handsome enough, no money, and unwilling to romanticize my job or anything like that.
I can recall opening the Village Voice and seeing an ad for something called ‘Mind Mates.’ It struck me as pretty silly. But what did I have to lose? So I sent for the form, which turned out to be really serious–pages and pages to fill out.
A few days after I returned it, I got a list of names in the mail. You weren’t at the top, but oddly enough, all the other girls on the list had the last names of birds and fish, so I decided to call you first.
Then there took place an event that is one of the central, absolutely critical moments of my life. I went up the elevator to the office where you were working. I went in, crossed to the reception desk where you sat, and looking up at me were the two biggest, most beautiful eyes I had ever seen. I remember almost literally rocking back on my heels.
For about four years, I’d been carrying a flame for a lost lover, a girl I never thought I’d get over. In that second, my lost love evaporated like a spatter of dew in the morning light. What happened to me was literally love at first sight. And I have been in love with you, deeply and passionately, ever since. In these thirty-two years, we have not been apart for more than two weeks at a time, and I have not wanted to be apart.
I remember how you coped during the close encounter crisis. I thought that I was going insane, and I knew that you would be legally unable to divorce me if I became incompetent. It was a helpless, terrifying feeling. There was nothing I could do to stop what was happening to me. The powerlessness and the feeling that I would soon be a horrible burden to you drove me to try to get you to divorce me. My heart was breaking, but I was trying to fight you off so that you and Andrew would have some kind of a chance if I ended up in a mental institution.
You took that head down, facing into the wind, and absolutely refusing to say goodbye to this sacred and wondrous thing that is our love affair. Tears are running down my face as I write this to you, remembering your courage and your loyalty during those hard times. Thank you, dear love, for your bravery and your faith in this wild and crazy man.
I love you, Anne, every day, every hour, and always it feels as if I have just walked across that lobby, just for the first time looked into your eyes. The shock of surprise and happiness I felt on first seeing you has turned out to be the permanent joy of my life.
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