It occurs to me that today is Valentine’s Day. As far as holidays go, this one is absolute rubbish.
I’m surrounded by maudlin men who miss their girlfriends, wives, and Internet porn (perhaps not necessarily in that order). They’ve all arranged delivery back home for overpriced bouquets of reedy flowers and substandard chocolates.
You would be proud of me. I didn’t once point out that a woman who demands gifts on Valentine’s Day is almost as intolerable as a man who only gives gifts because it’s Valentine’s Day.
And yet, it is Valentine’s Day.
And I miss you.
I don’t know how else to write it other than, I miss you.
These months apart grow unbearable. Each passing second is a moment filled with the absence of you and it suffocates me. I realize I promised I would be less morose in my correspondence, but I grip these empty sheets at night and curse them. They are cold where your body is hot and soft and so infinitely mine.
Perhaps I miss the feeling of you beneath my fingertips and belonging wholly to me. Perhaps I miss how you tense and relax in my hands, how you look at me with trust and want. If I’m honest, it’s the want in you I miss the most. The need you have of me. Because it echoes the insatiable and feral nature of my need for you.
I miss you.
At this point you’ve no doubt already gathered I have sent neither chocolate nor flowers for Valentine’s. I do not believe in obligatory gifts any more than I subscribe to compulsory love.
As such, I send you nothing but this letter and my longing for you, neither of which I can contain. I love you.
Yours forever, Greg
I love you today more than yesterday. Yesterday you were a real jerk.
Dry-erase board on fridge
New Jersey, USA
Married 28 years
"Are we going to have sex tonight? I have stuff to do and it's already nine thirty."
“I only have fifteen minutes before I need to go pick up Grace and Jack from ballet.” It may have been 9:30 p.m. for Greg, but it was only 2:30 p.m. for me. I glanced at my watch to confirm this fact. I had less than fifteen minutes. Actually, I had ten. “And we’re not doing anything until you tell me why you haven’t signed the transfer paperwork for the new retirement accounts.”
I didn’t add, And I have a headache. I did have a headache. I’d had a headache and no appetite for the last week, and off and on for the last month and a half, but I kept this information to myself. I didn’t want to worry him.
I watched my husband sigh, his face falling into his hands. He looked tired, burnt out. He worked sixteen-hour days and usually didn’t shave when he was gone. None of the rig workers did. But he must’ve shaved a few days ago because his chin was covered in two-day-old stubble, which only made him look more tired. But it also made him look devilishly sexy. I wished I could reach through the computer screen and give him a hug. And a kiss.
“Fine,” he growled, finally lifting his head and gathering another large breath. His eyes narrowed and they darted over my form, or what he could see of it from his side of the video call. “Could you at least take off your shirt?”
“Show me your tits.”
“I miss your skin, just . . . flash me.”
“Greg, be serious.”
“I am serious. Do I not look serious? Nothing is more serious to me than your body, specifically your tits and legs and mouth. And vagina, but the vagina goes without saying.”
I gritted my teeth so I wouldn’t smile, or worse, laugh. I wasn’t sure how he managed it, but even when I was in a foul mood and feeling overwhelmed—like today—he always found a way to make me laugh. “Greg—”
“And your brain. Sorry, I can’t believe I didn’t mention your brain.”
I allowed myself to give in to his sweet silliness. “I love that you mentioned my brain, because I love your brain.”
With a hint of vulnerability, he asked, “But you don’t love my vagina?”
I did laugh then, thankful I hadn’t been sipping my coffee. Had I been drinking, it was the kind of laugh that would’ve sent a spray of liquid out of my mouth and nose.
The sound of his slight chuckle met my ears and was welcome; but it was also a reminder, he was trying to distract me.
I shook my head at his antics and tried to refocus. “Okay, enough about your lady closet. Mr. Jackson needs your approval to transfer the money into the new accounts. He emailed the forms three weeks ago, so why haven’t you signed them yet?”
He sat back in his chair and crossed his arms, sighing for a third time. When he finally answered, his voice and expression were free of all earlier playfulness. “I’m not happy with his fund choices.”