Sometimes, a song will come on that reminds me of that summer two calendars ago, when I met the man who would one day get me to relinquish half my dresser’s already jam-packed drawers. As I start to drift down the memory rabbit hole, I feel two things: dizzy with affection, and a little jealous.
As I reminisce about that first long run I took in his neighborhood on one of the first long weekends I lived out of an overnight bag on his bedroom floor, I get a pang of envy. I think about the girl who spent months intoxicated with dopamine and endorphins. Every breath was euphoric. Each kiss was like a shot of tequila straight to the veins. She sweat, ate, slept love. She was perma-drunk.
We all know what happens next. Seasons passed, the butterflies fluttered away, and we burrowed into a deeper, more meaningful relationship. I’m not saying I’m no longer head-over-heels today and every time I inhale. It’s just that sometimes I remember those moments—the stomach knots, the anticipation of walking to his door, the electricity from his touch—and get a little green-eyed. It was a time that, for the lucky among us, (only) happens once in your life.
It’s a weird feeling, being jealous of yourself. But on a day infamous for tacking dollar signs onto those feelings (or at least the chase), I’m reminded that I shouldn’t be. All those heart-stopping moments are still there, just in less-debilitating doses. We may no longer sleep wrapped around each other like a freshly tied piece of twine, but we also don’t wake up to numb shoulders and cricked necks, either. Now, when our hands sleepily find each other in the dark, it feels like a dream, like a romantic encounter in whatever exotic locale my snoozing brain is exploring.
Sure, I like to acknowledge February 14—like most people with eyes and ears and a TV. I recognize it because it’s everywhere, because wearing red is fun, and because saying “happy (insert holiday name)” to strangers and friends feels good. But I’m not going to let it trick me into thinking sweaty palms and shaky knees can be bought. Especially when I get them for free every time my fiansuave slips into that shirt I love or reaches for my fingers from his video game chair.
I will, however, thank it for shooing away my jealousies. If other people spend $200 on an Italian prix-fixe night out, or if 26-year-old me spent hours agonizing over what to wear to sit on her boyfriend’s couch, I’m genuinely happy for them. That sounds lovely. But what I have—now—is way better.