It’s easy to focus on the big events in the life of a relationship – the shows, the trips out of town, the parties and dates in fancy restaurants. Those are the places you took selfies with her and checked in on Facebook. Those are the events where you had witnesses to your love affair.
Once the relationship is over, you’ll see those pictures and statuses as you’re scrolling down the screen. Maybe you’ll wince, maybe you’ll smile or cry or feel whatever it is you are feeling that day about a relationship that filled all your senses at one time but is no longer a current event. When we write about the love stories we’ve experienced, those events will certainly play a large part.
But, it’s those little things that always get to me. The moment you glanced over at her to find that she’s been looking at you, eyes big with love and adoration. The times you were walking down the sidewalk and reached back and her hand slipped into yours with a pause. The way you could sit together without talking and be perfectly happy. The way a glance from her could set your insides on fire. The way you could raise your eyebrow without a word and she’d know everything you meant to say. The way it felt to have her inhabit your heart and soul and how good it felt. It’s saying goodmorning every day and goodnight every night and knowing you can connect with her most every day… about anything or nothing because it’s not what you’re talking about, it’s that you are talking.
Songs … gods, the songs. How many times have I been on an even keel only to keel over because THAT song came on the radio. Sometimes I’d only need to see the title of it on my song list. Songs have always been a direct portal to experiences and when I’m in love, songs get tagged with emotions, events, sing along sessions in the car, the dedications we made to each other.
Today it was receipts. No, really. I was catching up on entering receipts into quicken and kept coming along clumps of them from trips to the river, date nights and shopping trips and postal service receipts. I entered them into Quicken and added them to the stack of things to be shredded. And then I pulled them back out and put them in my keepsake box. The one for her.
Like a song, those receipts took me right back to those times with her. Walking around Safeway, gathering supplies for a weekend away. Sitting at a restaurant having breakfast. Going to the show for what was arguably the best date night either of us had ever had.
Little things. That’s what relationships are truly made of. The selfless acts of kindness and generosity, the sincerity of feelings felt in all the actions that lead you deeper and deeper in love. And it’s the little things I miss the most. The way she let me brush the hair out of her face. Her dimples and her laugh. Countless little things.
Word of advice, if you are inclined to take advice on relationships from a guy who’s had his heart broken a lot in the last 7 years: pay attention to the little things. Write them down, take pictures, write down the pet names and the inside jokes, somehow record those little moments – in your journal, in your heart.
Keep the receipts.
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