Sometimes cynicism is a good thing, especially when I accept that it’s just pessimism without foundation. One romantic gesture, and I’m just as mushy as the rest.
I have been teasing my female colleagues about their obsession with Hallmark Christmas movies.
You know, the ones where the sassy, gorgeous, career-focused woman falls unexpectedly in love with a tall, handsome, successful man, who is somehow wounded by a past he just can’t quite get over until their eyes meet in a small town bakery, or at a royal gala in a castle, or under a dangling ball of mistletoe at some silly location neither of them expected to be in, at which point, he is forever changed and pursues her relentlessly until she gets over herself and admits he is the one. Sparks fly. They confess their mutual, undying love on Christmas Eve, because, you know, it’s Christmas Eve. Right.
Happens all the time. Eye roll.
Now cut to last Friday night: my company’s annual Christmas party. I wore my favourite party dress (what? I own one). I applied make-up (thank goodness for dark lighting). I wore high heels. I arrived at the party, solo. Dateless. Don’t break out the tissues just yet. I anticipated when I RSVPed for two that I would arrive as a party for one. I knew the Carpenter would not likely get out of work in time to beat the Toronto traffic home. I also knew he had a major concrete pour that day.
Sure enough, his eight hours turned into 14 in the cold, with a two-hour commute. He texted me at 3pm to tell me he would not make the party. His apology was sincere. I knew that. Late nights and Saturdays working have been the norm lately. No problem. I’m a big girl. I can go it alone. I’d be fine. And I was – sort of. I smiled. I laughed. I enjoyed dinner and the chatter. I watched my friends on the dance floor having fun. Yet I couldn’t find my merry. For an independent person, it’s weird to feel lonely in a room of people. But I did and I was.
Well into the night, the Carpenter texted me to say he was finally leaving the city. Long day. Long drive ahead. He hoped I was having fun. I reminded him to get home safe. I’d already set my mind to planning my party exit in hopes of seeing my husband before he turned in, because I was in a dress and make up, so, hello there stranger (you have to have a goal, right?).
Two hours passed and I decided it was time for me to depart. I was getting ready for my goodbyes when, just like in the cheesy holiday movies, I looked across the room to see the Carpenter walking in and heading straight toward me. Unbelievable.
He may not be a knight in shining armor, but he was absolutely my prince of a construction worker, strutting in wearing an ugly Seattle Seahawks Christmas sweater and blue jeans – exactly the way I like him. I don’t know if it was a flutter or a hot flash I felt, but either way it was good for me.
Take that, Hallmark movies. Love isn’t a fairytale and the best kisses don’t wait for mistletoe. Love is showing up for someone, not because you have to, but because you choose to.
This script wrote itself and I’m glad I had a role.