Sunday, February 20, 2011

My Valentine's Week, Part 1 - The Backstory

Oddly enough, it had been a rather solitary week for me. I am a person who loves being alone, who enjoys solitude. I was not used to feeling lonely.

I was preparing for Valentine's Weekend at the TH: the ads were in the paper; the TH voicemail was full with requests for reservations; I was chatting to Karl about the music and the set-up; the grocery list was nearing completion; and the table layout for the Sunday and Monday evenings was taking shape. In addition, I was having a productive week at Carswell.

So why was I experiencing this unaccountable sensation of invisibility, of displacement?

Of course! - In the bustling around to ensure Valentine's Day would be wonderful for everyone who was planning on coming to the TH, I was trying to shush the whisper in my brain and my heart reminding me that I would not be sitting at one of those intimate little candle-lit tables for two, that I would not be getting flowers and a card.

And so on the Friday before Valentine's Weekend kicked off I started to feel sorry for myself. I charged around Costco and Superstore, fake-smiling at the people who inevitably comment on my lovely red coat and hat. I rounded up strawberries and chocolate and aged cheddar cheese. I piled everything into Josephine and huffed my way home, trying not to think of the grocery bills and the hours of work ahead.

That Friday night at about 1:00 a.m. as I was leaving the kitchen, something else struck me: When Dad, Deb and I were making our reservations to go to India, I was fortunate enough to have saved enough Aeroplan points to get my ticket. However, the taxes came to around $500 ... and I hadn't that amount of money on hand. Dad gave me the money and - over his protests - I promised to pay him back. I had been saving my pennies, and had managed to gather together the right amount when I had to get new glasses. There went my savings! Just before I went to bed I was praying (whining, really), and I grumbled to God, "Now I don't even have the money to pay Dad back for India - why can't somebody love me and take care of me?"

And on that cheerful note, I fell asleep.

Saturday morning dawned bright and sunny and filled with waffles and whipped cream and strawberries. Everyone was so happy that my mood lightened and it was easy to rush around with the coffee pot and a genuine smile on my face. I remembered again why I love this place.

That afternoon, as I turned back to the kitchen from the dining room, I noticed an infrequent guest standing at the counter. "Just dropping off something for you ..." and then he was off.

When I had the time I opened the package. In addition to a new treasure for the TH was a card. And in the card was written, in part

"... Mom wanted you to have a little something for your trip to India"

Enclosed were five $100 bills wrapped in a separate piece of paper.

At that moment, everything in the bustling TH went quiet for me. So quiet, in fact, that I could hear a still, small voice whispering in my ear:

I love you.

I care for you.

Happy Valentine's Day.

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