My Funny Valentine
Dear Bicycle Commuter Rocketing Off the Trail by Crosley Street at Dusk:
You will never know how close you came to a kismetical meeting with the Love of Your Life tonight.
That unmet L.o.Y.L.? Me.
So focused were you on getting home after a long day at the–what?–H & R Block that you didn’t even see me coming, didn’t even notice The Future in a Pair of Running Tights barreling towards you, didn’t even register that my strides were occasionally punctuated by a sexy gut clutch. No, you were all about the blinking red light on the back of your bike; the rubber bands saving your pants from their fate as derailleur fodder; the bungee cord strapping your briefcase onto the rack in the back.
Yoo-hoo! Honey? I have a rack in the front. And you missed out on it entirely. So absorbed were you, I can only imagine you must have been mentally pre-heating your microwave for the Hot Pocket earmarked as “Wednesday’s Dinner.” But Lance? Sweet Lance? If you’d only slowed down, you could have become my personal Hot Pocket and I your buffet for life.
When you zipped out of the wooded trail like that–dreaming of a stuffed sandwich cooked in a “crisping sleeve”–you cut off our potential intersection, our chance to fulfill a destiny. I was heading straight for that trail and those woods, Lance, as I clutched my intestines.
If you’d come along ten seconds later, our future “Love at First Sight” story, one that would have been recounted ad infinitum during Scrabble tournaments with the neighbors, would have involved me, in the woods, crouching beneath a tree, pants down, charmingly making an orificial offering. The envoy to the telling of Our Story, of course, would have been: Some things can’t be stopped–can they, darling?–and when it’s time, it’s time.
Unfortunately, tonight was not our time. Woefully, if you’d simply stopped for a quick drink of water on the way home, or checked your Civil War Re-Enacters’ list-serve emails one more time at the office…if you’d just delayed your journey by a mere ten seconds, Lance, you would have, Hosannah on the Highest, encountered my pasty white buttocks reflecting off the moonlit crust of snow–and this, in turn, would have sent you toppling madly over the romantic precipice d’Amour as, with crashing insight, you apprehended what a rare broad you’d lit upon.
So much could have been gleaned about your future wife from that brief encounter, if only you’d lifted your head from the handlebars, Lance. Specifically:
1) She eats her recommended daily servings of fruit.
2) She runs. And sometimes she has them. But not tonight, praise granola, not tonight. Tonight was more of a well-controlled, artfully-constructed valentine in the snow. Had she known your name, Lance, she would have added it in as a final touch–in cursive. She can do that. How flat your future will be for having missed this Hot Pocket-Free Mess.
3) She is a creative problem solver. From your perch on the bike seat, you easily would have born witness as she troubleshot the “what to use as Nature’s toilet paper when all leaves are covered by a foot of snow?” dilemma. How you would have smiled, chortled, clapped even, to see her pack icy snowball after icy snowball and vigorously apply them to her nethers. That’s the kind of thinking that keeps a relationship spicy, decade after decade.
4) She is environmentally conscious. In fact, when she’s not blazing every light in the house and driving the mini-van to Target to buy Little Debbies, she is–clearly–a devoted composter. Moreover, come Spring, a single brave tendril shall unfurl from a certain spot just off the trail in the woods by Crosley Street. Your near-wife renews the earth. That could have been our spot, our tendril.
5) She is a developer. Look at how she laid track there over top the bare trail. Now that’s progress.
6) She’s already married. Even a bulky helmet couldn’t block the glint of her wedding ring as she scratched away at the birch tree next to her, considering the bark’s advantages over the snowball’s as a posterior cleanser. Yes, Lance, as the ring on her finger indicates, this woman knows how to commit, and she’s not afraid to open her heart to the emotional potential of Hot Pockets a Deux. She’d have ridden tandem with you, Lance, off into what remained of the sunset. Her first husband would have understood; he would have filled the marital void by going to see Juno and chow on a bag of popcorn, size large (free refills).
However, as with so many great love stories, and so many drunken wedding nights, you were about ten seconds too early, Lance. The universe threw us towards each other tonight, but we fumbled the opportunity–and the universe, disgusted with our abuse of its plan, retreated, pouted, and moped on a futon for three hours. Then it logged on to E-bay and bid on a vintage Fisher Price airport.
The universe, in its infinite wisdom, knows shopping is always the best therapy.
Thus, tonight: the universe made a bid; you made “Deal or No Deal”; I made a poo.
Had we connected there in the woods (next to the steaming chocolate heart) and fallen in love (over a set of symmetrical white buttocks) and dated briefly (three pints at The Brewhouse, tops) before marrying barefoot at Machu Picchu with my current husband officiating (he has a license from the back of Rolling Stone), just know this, Lance:
I would always, always have referred to you, with a small quiver of love in my voice,
Husband Number Two.