A long time ago, as I was lamenting the lost relationship with H., my friend Christina said to me, "You realize that you don't need those grand gestures to know that someone loves you, right? You don't need someone to come rushing over with a milkshake at 3 AM just because you asked for it."
I repeated this bit of wisdom to Annie as we drove through Hollywood on a way to a friend's grad party. Sometimes, we get so caught up in the idea of being swept off our feet that we lose sight of the fact that love is much quieter than the man that yells it from the rooftops. I thought back to the last time I saw H. We visited his grandmother in the hospital. He wanted to stay with her until visiting hours were up. I watched him lean in to talk to her and touch her face. He leaned in and kissed her on the cheek when he left. On our last vacation together, we went to the Polynesian Cultural Center. He occasionally handed me a bottle of water to make sure I was well-hydrated throughout the day.
I never really understood why some people wanted small weddings or skip out on Valentine's Day altogether. As I grow older though, I see how that can be counterfeit love. Following the rituals doesn't mean that it's love or that it'll last. That kind of showboating love distracts you. You count the expensive gifts as tokens of affections and forget how he treats you from day to day. Maybe he's a kind man, but you see the other bf who took his gf to Fiji or something and forget the 364 other day of the year that he remembers to do all the things you forget. Or maybe he's a terrible cad, but that LV bag makes you forget those shady text messages from his legion of "platonic" female friends. You wilfully turn a blind eye as long as your expenses are taken care of. And like all material things, you're always looking for an upgrade.
I write this mostly for myself, because I want that tall, handsome, captain of industry to come calling although the most fulfilling relationship I've had was with a kind man who taught me how be patient. I met someone that makes me laugh and that I really like, but in the back of my head I'm still waiting for that counterfeit lover.
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