#52sparks: My Funny Valentine

I started working on this one before Valentine’s Day, but then some big life stuff happened. So, here we are…

I have watched a lot of Disney movies. I knew all of the princess songs and would dance with imaginary animals in my bedroom, wishing that some of them would clean my room for me. While I didn’t want to be a damsel in distress, I did hope that a prince would show up to fight the dragon alongside me. And that he would bring me the pony that my parents refused to get.

Getting a little older, I moved from Disney movies to romantic comedies. Hallmark movies provide you a little roller coaster that is guaranteed to end with a kiss at the end of the two hours (sooner if you can fast forward through commercials). In contrast, Lifetime movies will give you that kiss sooner, but you might have tears too due to medical emergencies or a dangerous mystery that gets resolved in the end. No matter the movie, you could usually tell within the first 10 minutes who was going to end up with who; it was just the process that was unknown.

Watching all of those movies, I was a single girl (who was probably avoiding her homework). I never dated until after college due to a mix of factors including limited self-confidence around guys, a body type that wasn’t super amazing, and probably some divine protection from bad life choices. In fact my first non-blind date was only about a year ago. I was finally through with school and feeling brave enough to try on dating apps for more than 5 minutes a week. There are some good chapters to that story that I’ll share another time.

For right now I want to focus on a particular funny Valentine. In imagining what it would be like to have a boyfriend, there was so much I didn’t know because the movies don’t show what happens after the couple gets together. After the will-they / won’t-they resolves, then what? Instead I relied on watching friends and trying to figure things out from them. And even then, there is only so much you can watch before stalking becomes a concern.

I remember sitting in a restaurant booth once, reading a book while eating my lunch. It was a wide enough booth that I could sit sideways on the bench with legs outstretched and a book on my lap. Laying my hand on the table, a happy thought flickered into my mind of someone sitting on the other bench, with a book in their lap as well. Someone to just share the space and not have to talk. Just to be there.

The big moments in those movies are not the little ones that fill most of our days. Boyfriend and I have only tried out that sitting quiet at lunch with books once so far. And we’ll need practice to find the timing and rhythm that works for both of us (one of us got bored long before the other). The great thing is that we get that chance to practice because this story isn’t cutting off at the two-hour mark. And it won’t be cancelled due to not enough sword fighting. Instead we get to try out a lot of little moments, big moments, and even some failed moments…and then try again.

“We are the spark, that will light the fire that’ll burn the First Order down” (Poe Dameron, Star Wars: The Last Jedi). – #52sparks is my year-long writing series for 2020, based on an art prompt challenge. The spark that lights a fire to toast a marshmallow or to ravage a forest begins in the space of an inch. This series is to explore what hundreds of inches and words can do.

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