"It's simple," my favorite convenience store clerk tells me. "You have to make her love you. There has to be mystery and mystique. Keep her guessing."
I never thought I would be getting relationship advice from the third shift convenience store clerk down the road. We were talking about keeping a relationship fresh so it wouldn't lose that "new" feeling.
"Send her flowers," he says. "It makes a woman's heart melt."
Rosa is not a flowers type woman. They would most likely wilt in the vase neglected.
"Are you dating these days?" I ask him.
"Oh, no," he says, drinking his coffee as he looks at me through coke bottle bottom glasses. "I am in between relationships these days."
You should have sent her flowers, I thought as I chuckled and was what I wanted to tell my faux Don Juan friend.
"Women like the thrill of a chase," he continues after ringing up a midnight drunk. "You have to play hard to get."
I decided I had received enough relationship advice from my verbose friend and left the store to walk home. As I walked, I thought of what it would take to keep Rosa happy. Me and her have been through a lot over the years and simplicity thrills us. Rosa likes simple times of shared meals, curling up on the couch watching television, stability. Playing hard to get would go over like a lead balloon with her. Too many things in her life have been too hard to get. I decided the best I could do was to be her Rock of Gibraltar. Unflinching. Stalwart. As unchanging as the landscape.
The house is quiet as I arrive home and hang my backpack by the door. Maggie comes sheepishly walking into the den to greet me as if she knows Rosa is asleep. I change into my boxer shorts and favorite sleeping t-shirt. I smoke a cigarillo and come into my computer room to write this. I can hear Rosa softly snoring in the back room.
Unflinching, Stalwart. As unchanging as the landscape, I think again.
I realize the best thing I can do for Rosa is to give her a home. A place to hang her proverbial hat. Her dozen roses is having a man who is always going to be there sober and sane.
My hardwood floor then creaks as Rosa stirs and walks into the room.
"You coming to sleep soon?" she asks sleepily as she walks over.
"Let me finish writing this," I reply busily pecking away at this keyboard.
"I love you," she says as she wraps her arms around me and kisses me on the neck.
The sensation is invigorating. I, too, feel a stability I haven't felt in years.
"I love you, too," I say back and for the first time in my life I can actually feel it. It is not just idle and empty words.
The floor creaks again as she escapes back to the bedroom. I can hear her climb into the bed and pull the covers around her. The light is turned off with a click. It is little moments like this that make life worth living. Someone to come home to. Stability.