Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Valentine's line of love

It's 3 p.m. on Valentine's Day. There are 17 of us in line at the flower stand at Third and Tryon. The wind is freezing. But we are men. Romantic men. We are willing to suffer for love.

Yes, women walk by and snicker. Yes, some dude jogs by and yells out: "Waited a little late, didn't you, boys?" We hate that dude. But the hate subsides. Love endures.

Love, and pain.

"It's painful out here," one man says. "But if you come home empty-handed..."

He does not finish the sentence. He does not need to.

The man at the front of the line takes his bouquet and gets into a cab that has been waiting for him. How long did the meter run? How much did the ride cost? These things do not matter on Valentine's Day. The bouquets cost $20. They could cost $200 and we would pay. It is a testament to the fullness of our love.

The men in line do not want to give their names. It is understandable. Love does not boast. It is not proud.

But we are men of all kinds, young and old, in three-piece suits and washed-out jeans, and we will wait here forever for love, except for the two men who leave and decide to come back at 4.

The line is shorter. This is good.

A man gets to the front of the line and orders four bouquets. This is bad.

Love does not boast, it is not proud, but sometimes, at the back of the line, it grumbles. The man smiles. "We'll make a trade," he says. "You deal with my wife and daughters, and I'll deal with yours."

We meditate on this. Then we leave him to his four bouquets.

It takes about half an hour to get to the front of the line. The flowers are beautiful. There are roses, and daisies, and some smaller yellow flowers, and, you know, some lavender things.

The flower sellers have free Life Savers on the table. Other people might point out that the flowers are the real life savers. But they are not men, romantic men, suffering for love.

My bouquet is wrapped, my $20 gladly paid. There are 14 men behind me in line at 3:30 p.m. on Valentine's Day.

The flowers are almost gone.

Tonight, some men will truly suffer.


Charlie Elberson said...

We love you Tommy! (In a healthy manly way).

Shelly said...

but your flowers will be the freshest!

B+ said...

I'm sure your beautiful bride appreciates all your suffering on her behalf!

Anonymous said...

What a waste of time AND money. A real woman doesn't care about Hallmark holidays. Show her you love her the rest of the year.

KarenG said...

I agree with anonymous but Damon and I both enjoyed that because, well, we've been there.

Tarheel Lady said...

I have been married to my Valentine for 38 years...and I still enjoy Valentine's Day...something has been working for 38 years!

Anonymous said...

Just bring her a bucket of chicken w/ a side of livers and you'll be just fine.

Anonymous said...

I was in that line too earlier in the day. It was windy and I don't think it got any warmer. A guy in a lamborghini parked and walked slowly by the front of the line. I laughed and knew he had a 30min wait too. They usually charge 10$ but made a killing yesterday.