My Valentine

Valentine’s day was last week. Everybody was rushing to the store to buy flowers and chocolate and jewelry and pregnancy tests for the one they love. Well, maybe the pregnancy tests will be bought 4-6 weeks from now. But love was in the air. Even for Flea Market guy. He went as far as to call me his Valentine. He even went as far as to make plans for us to spend the evening together. I only went as far as agreeing to spend the evening with him. The parts of me who usually believe everything he says only to get let down was a little less easily convinced. It wasn’t until he text me on Valentine’s day after work telling me to meet him at the store so we could pick out what we’d make together, that I finally let my guard down and decided to enjoy the night. And even then, I was on the skeptical side.

Mostly because he said he wasn’t going to drink, which usually isn’t a thing for him even though he’s tried to not drink on numerous occasions, he has a problem and he’s not too concerned with fixing it even though he’s admitted it exists. They say that is the first step. And maybe it is, but I feel like there may be some other step between admitting there’s a problem and actually seeking help for it. Maybe that step is a disaster of some sort. A wall or a rock bottom that he hasn’t hit yet. So, even though he knows he has a problem that has pretty much ruined every relationship he’s ever had and will likely ruin this “un”relationship that we have, it’s still not enough to make him say enough is enough. But I guess it’s OK, because his issues have not been enough to make me say enough is enough either. And so, we spent Valentine’s day together. And he was true to his word and did not drink.

Loving an alcoholic is a hard thing. Watching someone self destruct is a hard thing. And yet, I keep standing there and staring like I’m looking at a car wreck with a body bag on the side of the road and I refuse to cover my eyes, just in case, at some point, he decides he wants me to intervene. On the off chance he wants me to help, my eyes and ears are wide open waiting for that one unlikely moment.

I know you can’t help someone until they decide to help themselves. I actually know all the sayings about addiction and recovery and people being shitty. It doesn’t make me any less of a friend to him knowing that I will more than likely be the one who gets hurt in the end because he will drink away his problems and his pain and his losses like he has done his whole adult life. But I’m also an optimist and a dreamer and I can easily convince myself that “if” he did, we’d have a better relationship than we have now. We’d be able to have a “real” relationship. Not this “un”relationship as I call it. He says we are more than friends. I have to remind him that we aren’t. Not because I don’t want to be more than friends. It’s because when he says it, he’s usually drunk and even though they say “a drunk man’s words are a sober man’s thoughts,” I don’t trust a drunk man words. I don’t trust a drunk man at all.

So why stick around?

Everyone needs a friend. And I’m pretty much the only one he has who keeps sticking around. I’ve always had friends. I’ve always been surrounded by people I love and people who love me. And even though that is the case, there are times when I feel all alone. Times when I feel like there is nobody who would understand what’s going on in my head. I feel that way and I have friends. So I can only guess the way he feels a lot of the time. So I’ll be his person. And sometimes, when I get lucky and the stars align just right, he becomes my person.

Like he did on Valentine’s day. He put a lot of thought into what we might have because he knows I have dietary restrictions and he wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to get sick from eating something I don’t usually eat. And he gave me a box of chocolates even though this time last year he spent a lot of time telling me he doesn’t celebrate Valentine’s day. And he kissed me sweetly even though his lips were shaking from wanting a drink but refraining for the night.

So I had a Valentine this year. And even though I am fairly certain we won’t have a repeat next year and for the next 40 years like I would love to imagine, we had one perfect night out 365.

I’ll take it.

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