I had made a decision to love Patrick
. I didn't feel giddy and swept off my feet or in any way like other people had described being in love. When I decided to marry him, I actually thought, "This is as close to love as I'll ever get." I was 21. Now it seems such a stupid thing to have done, but in some ways it was the best thing: We were both rudderless – with another person in the boat, we might actually get somewhere.
The first year of our marriage, I worked on a sofa manufacturing line to put him through school. I had worked as a commercial artist for a bank service company, and as a draftsman for Bell Telephone, but I made 2-3 times more putting my back into it on the line, so that's what I did. After work, he made dinner and I helped him with his coursework and balanced our checkbook. I marshaled every penny – we were on our own and money was rare enough.
I didn't expect anything for our first Valentines, but he'd done some odd job to come up with enough to take me to the nicest restaurant in Naperville. It was hard for me to relax and let him spend the money so extravagantly, until I realized that it was the first happy Valentines I'd had.
So that's my love story for the day. Not as dramatic as the couple who married after he was devastatingly burned, just the stuff of ordinary lives.
Countdown: E I G H T . . .