Fifteen Liters of Champagne

Yesterday was full of Valentine’s shenanigans, and I would post up all of the lovely photos but do you know what happened? Yes. True to form, my Sony digital camera (my Canon wouldn’t fit in my clutch — trust me, I tried) was completely unmistakably dead. It’s the most reliable piece of technology I own.

Here’s the quick recap:

+ I tried to bake this cake but didn’t want to go through the trouble of baking four different cakes from scratch and used boxed cake instead. Huge mistake. Apparently, boxed cake doesn’t carve well. Good thing I had chocolate covered strawberries as a back up (and surprisingly, I’m very good at those).

+ Norman asked me to pick up a package for him at the front desk in the middle of the day because he was at work (??), and it turned out he had flowers delivered to me! It was too sweet of him.

+ When he came home, we went out to Aria, an Asian fusion place south of the river. It was candlelit, sultry, couple tables, very Valentine’s. They were selling Moet Chandon by the glass for V-day, and once we ordered it, a waiter came carrying a GIANT bottle of it and all I was thinking was, “They’re not actually going to pour that into our tiny champagne glasses.” Oh yes, they did. It was literally half my height. I think it’s one of those things that’s cute in theory, but I just felt really bad for the red-faced waiter who had to carry that around all night.

+ After dinner, we went to Pops for some more bubbly. No giant bottles this time.

+ Norman got me this for Valentine’s Day:

which I love (I’ve been obsessing over everything Wildfox for a while but alas, no resources). And it’s so appropriate, no?

And me? Well, I wrote him something:

I believe he’s the one. I’ve never been the girl who believes in soul mates or love at first sight or needing a man, and sometimes, after a messy, threadbare breakup, I don’t even believe in love. (But that never lasts long – why else would I keep dragging myself through the debris of my failed relationships? No, la douleur is not exquise.) My mother tells me I’m still young, and my friends, instead of saying, “I’m so happy for you,” ask me, “Are you sure? But how can you be sure?”I can list off how kindhearted he is, how nurturing, how passionate, how good at everything, how too good to be true (but true) he is. I can tell them how he leads me, how I can follow him, how God-centered and Christ-following he is. I can tell them he’s confident and he knows who he is, and God knows I need that in a man; and he’s a man that can admit his mistakes, and God knows every girl needs that in a man. I can tell them we’re Myers-Briggs compatible; I’m an ENFP, he’s an INFJ. He’s the I to my E, the J to my P. No? That isn’t enough?

Well, what about how smart he is? He’s brilliant (and sometimes, I’m embarrassed to tell him exactly how brilliant I think he is), and despite all of his brilliance, he never makes me or my carelessness or any of my inane questions seem stupid. His brilliance is the kind that makes people aim higher, and when they can’t quite reach, he grabs them a stepstool. (“A little higher,” he’d relentlessly coax.) I don’t need to tell them about my mood swings, but I can tell them about how being around him makes me better and how even if I don’t comply, he’s a saint. I can tell them about how being around him makes me better always. What about the way he always grabs my phone when I forget it (which is more often than I care to admit)? And what about how he runs with me, even though he hates running, how he eats with me, travels with me, goes out and lives life with me? Did I mention he’s a musical genius?

“All of that will go away,” they’ll say. But do they know some of my favorite moments are when we sit in bed, side by side, him with his book and me with my Vogue, reading to each other things we think will make the other laugh, because his laughter fuels my soul, the two of us sitting there thinking, “I can do this with you until words don’t exist. Then I’ll have to tickle you for your laughter.”

And do they know we can still laugh? We don’t just laugh, we have absolute fits, and often. And for nine months? I can’t think of anyone else that’s made me laugh for that long. He makes me laugh and it’s an unending kind of laughter. I think I’ll be laughing for the rest of my life.

“What about when you cry? You won’t be laughing for the rest of your life,” they’ll say. Fine, I won’t, and that’s okay because I have him. He’s seen me cry. (I hated this, crying in front of him, but he beckoned to me, “It’s alright.”) I’ve seen him cry, we cry, and it gives us extra reasons to hold each other, more tightly every time. I’ll cry, and for the rest of my life, it will be okay.

And sometimes there’s silence. I can tell them about the silence between us and how for once, the silence doesn’t mean I’m alone or I’m wrong or I need to make it up to him; it’s the silence of 5 a.m., 2 p.m., and Winn-Dixie summers.

I can tell them how easy it is with him, and even when it’s not, it’s okay because he’ll never let me go. I can tell them how he saved me, just in time. (He found me when I couldn’t find myself after years of trying to be someone else for insignificant others.) But all of this doesn’t matter to them because they don’t know. Because for those that do know what it is to indisputably love someone, everything I’ve mentioned is futile; it can’t be articulated and it doesn’t need to be proven to anyone except him. This isn’t infatuation; I’ve been there, and I know where that will take me. He isn’t perfect (we already know I’m not), and I’m aware of that, but this, us, him – it’s different. I can’t quantify how it’s different. It’s something you can’t believe until it’s sitting next to you on a sweaty summer night, a little drunk off of the heat, sangria, dancing and happiness, and it holds you and sways you to the rhythm, and its sureness goes from the base of my gut to our touching foreheads, and intermingles with our sweat before we release it into the lake and beyond so the world will know that we found each other.

This essay was written for an assignment for which the prompt read, “Write about something you believe in, but you can’t prove.” The author wrote this essay on February 7, 2011. She knew he was the one as soon as he taught her how to love.

I actually found that picture soon after I wrote it. Kind of perfect.

To my Valentine: thanks for making life wonderful.

love, esther


1 Comment

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One response to “Fifteen Liters of Champagne

  1. bvp

    dear esther,

    i am actually crying as i read this. because it is that beautiful. thank you for reminding me that love is out there for me. and that it’s out there in a way only i can attempt to articulate. and thank you for articulating YOUR love so… articulately :p

    i love you,

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