Today is Valentine’s Day. I first met my valentine 20 years ago today. We were both young guys kicking around the city. I dug through the archives and found the first mention of our meeting and interaction. So, here is the TRANSCRIPT from that portion of my life:
14 February 1993: Then on Friday evening, I went over to Scotty’s house to go to a party. Everyone was there. I had way too much to drink and then went to QFC to buy more beer.
Back at the party, we drank for a while and then I got talked into going dancing with a guy named Rick and a few others. I went and had a blast. Then we all piled into the car and went back to the party, by this time it must have been at least 4:00 am.
21 February 1993: Last night I went to the Vogue. Rick was there.
22 February 1993: Rick called yesterday. We are going to go out some time this week.
28 February 1993: On Thursday, I went to ReBar with Scotty. We sat out in the parking lot and split a 40. We felt very Bremerton. Then we had a few more once we got inside.
Rick was there, he looked very good as usual.
I went to Ashlee‘s apartment on Saturday and from there we went to the Frontier Room. Somewhere along our way to the Vogue, Ashlee picked up two boys. They’re in a band (who isn’t?). Rick was there.
20 March 1993: Thursday night I was a drunken mess. Rebar should be renamed “ReBlur.”
From then on, there is no more mention of Rick in the archives. Amazing to think that from that brief interaction 20 years ago, we reconnected and have made our relationship into what it is today. It says a lot about timing, I guess.
One of the first gifts I gave Rick was a book of Pablo Neruda‘s poems with this one bookmarked:
Sonnet XVII – Pablo Neruda
I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way
than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.
Here are some of the photos taken over the last few years.
On Valentine’s Day, I quite often think about poems and letters and there are a few favorites that I have remembered over the years. One being the above poem and another being the many many love letters between the Fitzgeralds. Zelda Fitzgerald, née Sayre, was F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s great muse and more. He modeled many of his characters after her, and he even included lines in his books that were from letters that Zelda had written him.
The two went on their first date on her 18th birthday. Her family was wary of him, and she wouldn’t marry him until his first novel was actually published. Zelda was still 18 when she wrote this letter to Scott in the spring of 1919:
Please, please don’t be so depressed — We’ll be married soon, and then these lonesome nights will be over forever — Maybe you won’t understand this, but sometimes when I miss you most, it’s hardest to write — and you always know when I make myself — Just the ache of it all — and I can’t tell you.
How can you think deliberately of life without me — If you should die — O Darling — darling Scott — It’d be like going blind. I know I would, too, — I’d have no purpose in life — just a pretty — decoration. Don’t you think I was made for you? I feel like you had me ordered — and I was delivered to you — to be worn — I want you to wear me, like a watch-charm or a buttonhole bouquet — to the world. And then, when we’re alone, I want to help — to know that you can’t do anything without me.
One week after This Side of Paradise appeared in print, Zelda and Scott got married at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. They became known as the quintessential Jazz Age couple: beautiful, flashy, with money, and often drunk in public. The year they married, Zelda wrote to Scott:
“I look down the tracks and see you coming — and out of every haze & mist your darling rumpled trouser are hurrying to me — Without you, dearest dearest, I couldn’t see or hear or feel or think — or live — I love you so and I’m never in all our lives going to let us be apart another night. It’s like begging for mercy of a storm or killing Beauty or growing old, without you.
Lover, Lover, Darling — Your Wife”