It’s almost Valentine’s Day and I’m sitting here looking at the stack of Valentines I swore cross-my-heart-hope-to-die I’d mail today and singing. Mostly Country Joe and the Fish. Love? HUNH! Good GAWD, y’all. WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR?

Love’s good for some stuff, it turns out. Like the time I got married. No, not that time, the other time, in the comments of a Facebook post after I’d gone apeshit over some grammatical error or another, or maybe a whole post. Fiction? Nonfiction? Who knows. Marry me, she said, I make good sandwiches. So I guess I sort of did. I love you, wife. Let’s be angry together; we might as well play to our strengths.

Except I was already kinda married to this unicorn who wandered in and out of the forest of my life for years before we sat still enough to really meet. I’m pretty sure we ate some sandwiches too, and had a drink, and somehow it got 400,000 words later. Good thing unicorns like manhattans. We’d never get through this without bourbon.

And then there was the time I played favorites. I’m not even sure who was the favorite back then, but probably the one that’s alphabetically first. Sorry I did all your portraits first too and screwed them up with my learning curve, favorite. I did em in reverse order this time, can you tell?

My family has this tradition. No pet or person has only one name. Sometimes it’s disorienting when I find out that several people have the same name. I immediately fall back to my defensive nickname line. That’s where we got the Original, climbing down off the Devil’s Backbone.

Speaking of originals, there’s the original Unicorn, whom I love for more than just the fact that she’s way better at getting her Christmas cards out on time than I am. I still owe you a card. Forgive me?

And The One That’s Like Me. I can tell by how often we butt heads without meaning to, still respecting each other. And probably while saying the same things, if I weren’t too damned pig-headed stubborn to listen to a perfectly good alternative word choice.

The Professor would probably prefer I not prevaricate. Or alliterate. Or rhyme. But that’s how I deal with strong emotions. She, on the other hand writes careful, precise prose that rips my heart out and sews it back together, with a knack for taking unfamiliar experiences and tying them up to all the familiar ones, the despair and hope and depression and wrenching ennui. Jerk.

Order is important. And this isn’t a last-but-not-least, it’s a running-out-of-room and I really need to tell you about The One that Catches the Fuckups. You don’t even know. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t get a quiet “hey, did you actually mean to put “summer” in the January post template?” No, dammit, I didn’t. You’re the best at making the rest of us look like the best.

I told you that wasn’t last. Sometimes you accidentally orbit someone, like slipping past them on the ice of the lake in their first post and later finding out they live scant blocks from your old apartment. Dude, I owe you a coffee still. Ideally at Metropolitan.

There’s supposed to be a so what here. Or else I get a love letter and have to do this all again. So I guess that’s it: I still want to marry you all in the kitchen and I’d do it all again.

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