Something strange is happening to me, and it’s more than this flu I’ve caught. Lately I’ve felt like my senses have come alive, from the pounding of my head to the beating of my heart. Every sight, texture and smell has intensified and it isn’t the Sinutab that’s doing it. Colours seem richer, tastes more piquant, even the sound of the wind howling round the eaves seems full of promise. I’ve also noticed a strange desire in me to be more graceful. Instead of running up the front stairs and tackling Greg in a bear hug when I get home, I’ve caught myself walking one step at a time and hanging up my hat and coat before making my way to his office. And I’ve noticed that my accomplishments seem to matter more now than they ever did.

I think it has something to do with the fact that this Valentine’s Day, I’ve got a sweetheart. He is tall and handsome, kind and honest, strong and sensitive, and what he thinks of me matters more than anything else. We met last spring at a book launch. I had met Greg’s sister at several other events and she introduced me to him. He was the best looking man in the room. It’s been almost nine months since then and he gets better looking every day. I’ve learned many things about him. I’ve learned that he is one of the smartest men I’ve ever met; that’s because he listens and never assumes he’s right, although he often is. I’ve learned that he is strong-willed but that he’ll listen to reason. I’ve learned that he is conservative in his behaviour but loves spontaneity. He is one of the few men I’ve known who knows the words to most of the songs from musicals like “Song & Dance” and “The Lion King.” He collects almost everything, from beer caps to pennies and wine corks, but his music collection is by far the biggest I’ve ever come across. He can name almost any song just from the tune and can usually tell you who wrote it. There are so many things I’ve learned about him and so many more yet to learn.

Evening has come and Greg is once again sitting at his computer, typing away at his music charts. During the past week, while I’ve been coughing and sputtering, he’s made breakfast, lunch and dinner for us every day. This morning I found him on the web looking up symptoms for pneumonia and by this afternoon he had me at the doctor’s office. He is a man that cares more than he lets on. He has a huge heart. Each day seems to pass so quickly.

I can’t remember which of us said the “L word” first. Did I say it while being swept away in a moment of pure bliss? Did he say it while we spoke seriously about our future? The last nine months has passed quickly but there are moments that seem to last forever. I remember a song from a musical he sang to me on our first weekend together. The line I like the most goes: “ Love can make the summer fly or the night seem like a lifetime. Yes love, love changes everything…” And has it ever!

Last February I was a single woman, living with my mother, dating here and there, and waiting for Mr. Right. And today I sit in the apartment we share, his cat is asleep on our bed, and I’ve got a plant on the kitchen-window ledge.

Tonight, as I sit typing this column, I remember a walk on a beach in 10 years ago. I was walking with an older man who was dying of cancer. He asked me what I wanted most in life. I told him I wanted to have real love, the kind that lasts forever. I knew that others thought it sounded romantic and foolish but I believe that every so often it happens to a few lucky people. The older gentleman didn’t think I was foolish and hoped someday I’d find what I was looking for. He too was from Toronto and he told me to look him up when I returned from .

Life got busy and I never did look him up. The man died a few years after our walk and long before I met his son Greg. I sometimes wonder if he’s smiling down on us. Love isn’t the subject of very many Saturday night party discussions and I’ve an inkling that it’s because so few couples have found the real thing. I’ve only had the luck to know three or maybe four couples that have absolute, unquestionable love. They truly care more about their partner’s well-being and happiness than they do their own. They were people who had lived through a long life together. I wonder if the rest of us are working towards this kind of love. With a bit of luck we meet someone who complements us, who makes us stronger and better than we can be on our own. But how do we prepare ourselves for them?


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