By Dorinda Fox
Sometimes it is not about the box of chocolates. In the past month the following has happened:
I have walked into classrooms filled with somewhat fearful but eager to learn students hailing from 24 countries. A good third of them already speak three languages. Their company as we learn, and the stories of their lives they provide in memoir papers, humble me. These are not classes designated as ESL. The student population represents the current population of Orlando, Florida.
I have danced under the stars at an honest-to-goodness roadhouse in the arms of someone I care about with live jazz in the background. It was just like the movies. I don’t remember my feet touching the ground. My dance partner actually has a cleft chin, chiseled cheeks, and green eyes that I thought only imaginary characters in movies possess.
I have taken my beautiful daughter, who is almost 18, to buy a lovely white cocktail dress for her prom. She then went into my closet and stole the pink, white, and red beribboned high heels I bought on sale for $20 at Black and White and for which I had plans with handsome green eyes. She will be in college and gone in August. I would have given her all my shoes.
I have had dinner with an old and dear friend with whom I can laugh, talk, and release my heart and soul in conversation. That old friend is an old Cajun whose laughter fills a room and whose words are sincere. He rides a Harley and has tattoos of bulldogs and the Confederate flag which are politically incorrect, but he is one of the kindest souls on earth.
I have held my giggling six-year-old daughter wrapped in a Disney princesses snugly while we watched SpongeBob Square pants together. An advertisement for some toy with an 800 number advised, “You must be 18 to order.” My lovely daughter asked in all sincerity, “Mama are you 18?”
I have worked all day on the netbook for online classes and thought, “Okay, it is time to go to church.”
Then I drove 45 minutes to a fish camp on the banks of a river to watch the sunset while dolphins swam by the dock. I then walked an hour alone along a starry quiet Flagler Beach and just listened to the waves. Then I walked into a beachside pub to hear music and talk to old friends for an hour. Then I was home to a warm bed and early bedtime thinking I was the luckiest person in the world to live where I live and to have the family, friends, and lovers I have.
So why on Valentine’s Day did I care that there was no box of chocolates on my table? Why did I care that there was no card of false Hallmark sentiment? Forrest Gump got it wrong. Sometimes life is not a box of chocolates. It is a hell of a lot better than that.