Modern Man

Love isn't always easy. Tuesday was Valentine's Day and I had planned a romantic dinner with my love at the Palate at the Gallery restaurant in Lismore. In fact not just a dinner, but a 'degustation' (which I believe is French for "too much food") - five courses and five wines selected to complement the food. Yum.

But the world's best babysitter forgot she was booked in and I couldn't get her on the phone. A little anxiety kicked in - no babysitter meant no indulgent night out.

I drove to her house. There was a swarm of bees buzzing around her front door, daring me to enter. I did. We escaped without injury and things seemed to be looking up.

Valentine's Day may be a commercial ploy to sell flowers and chocolates and to make single people feel lonely, but for us it is also an anniversary of sorts. Eleven years ago, after some low level flirting at her workplace, I sent my love a Valentine's Day card and asked her to go out with me.

She said "yes", although the life of a single girl was quite hectic and she fobbed me off for a few days until she could fit me in somewhere between tai chi and salsa dancing.

The waitress poured some sparkling wine and brought us spanner crab and scallop open lasagne, with bouillabaisse broth and confit cherry tomato. I have no idea what a bouillabaisse broth is, but it beats the hell out of the pasta and vegetables the kids were having at home.

It is rare for the two of us to make time to go out to dinner together. We chatted effortlessly; about work, about holidays, about our plans for the year. Recently we bought an old caravan and are in the process of stripping it down so we can turn it into a guest space/retreat from the house. A friend once told me it was important for a relationship to always have a project on the go; something you can put energy and ideas into, together.

I think he was on to something.

As the slow-cooked ocean trout and lemon myrtle prawn salsa was brought out I fell in love all over again.

Not just with the prawns (they were very good) but with this woman who is my wife and who is sharing my life's journey with me.

Five years after saying "yes" to going out with me, she said "yes" again when I asked her to marry me.

Love isn't always easy and it doesn't alway come with dark chocolate and strawberry soufflés, but it's nice to savour it when it does.

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