Valentine’s Day

When you’ve been blogging for eight Valentine’s Days and eight wedding anniversaries, the sense that you’ve run out of convincing ways to say again a message you’ve already voiced more than a dozen times casts a shadow over the “New Post” screen in your blogging engine.
This year, though, I’ve outdone myself in the effort to alter my circumstances so as to generate an original asseveration of affection. Since my expatriation in September, Margaret and I have been in the same place at the same time fewer (by my reckoning) than twenty days. Even this severe and unwelcome separation, however, has not limbered my typing fingers to compose a new ballad of desperate romantic longing. Not even the extremity of our dislocation brings novel words to my heart.
It’s true, though: I don’t have anything new to say. I said it all twenty-eight years ago, when I vowed before God and a congregation of dear friends and family, that nothing would part us until death. I had said it all in late October of your first year at Bowdoin. I’ve said it as each of our stunning children has entered our lives, and I’ve said it to you each time I’ve told one of them how much I love them, and how proud I am of them. I’ve said it each time you’ve accomplished one of the impressive achievements you attained despite carrying such great burdens. I say it at night before the light goes out (sometimes even after). I say it when you first emerge from the covers in the morning.
And I have nothing to say that wouldn’t be less than the time-worn, musty, familiar utterance that lovers have hallowed with a majesty and truth greater even, greater by far even than it has been profaned by callow, crass, tawdry dissimulators — so that when I speak, the uncountable voices of true soulmates over the ages whisper together as witnesses to affirm what I have said so long, so often, and now despite their obviousness I say yet again as though for the first time: I love you, Margaret, now and forever.

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