Straight Talk – Love In A Cheese Toastie
‘I’ll climb the highest mountain for you, walk on hot coals, jump out of an aeroplane!’ he said. ‘Oh, that’s so romantic, can you come over and visit me now?’ she replied.
‘No, it’s raining!’ he answered.
As a young girl, I read this tongue-in-cheek story in a Mandy comic, which Mum used to buy me weekly. I was about 10-years-old and despite the picture stories being filled with all sorts of schoolgirl antics, the only piece I remember is this. For some reason, it resonated with 10-year-old me. I’ve pondered why that is. The truth is, I don’t really know. But I wonder if it was the moment that my ‘happily ever after’ dream (that most of my fairy tales ended with) was tarnished?
It seems that some folk will do crazy things for love, I recently read a bizarre and quite excessive-sounding list. From faking death in a car accident, digging up a loved one’s corpse and living with it for 7 years, to the even more macabre task of someone asking a friend to shoot them so that their ex would feel pity. It backfired; needless to say, she wasn’t interested.
Whether a person has moved miles to be with a loved one, or simply had someone’s name tattooed after only knowing them a week, it’s clear that love has the potential to make us do some outlandish and often, out-of-character, things. Like the burly unromantic type, buying flowers for their loved one.
After pondering on all things love related, whether romantic or the love that we feel for our family and friends, something dawned on me. I realised that perhaps more remarkable than climbing the highest mountain for someone, are the ordinary moments. The times when we show someone that we care in the smallest way. The action of not going the extra mile for someone but merely a few feet – to put the kettle on, perhaps.
It’s the love of a parent, icicles forming on their extremities, as they watch the young one playing sports in mid winter, or enduring an entire school play even though their child has decided, last minute, not to sing their part and instead to stare bashfully at the audience. Perhaps it’s showing our children grace when they deserve a berating.
It’s showing kindness even when we don’t feel like it. When we are tired, and we’d rather sit down and relax than cook so we throw a cheese toastie at our partner instead. Equally though, it’s them appreciating the delicious hot cheese and the effort made.
It is emptying the rubbish bin on a rainy night in time for the refuse collection so that our other half won’t have to face the weather in their slippers.
It’s showing kindness to a stranger. Smiling at someone who has made a mistake; giving them a break. Listening to someone who needs to talk, even if we are busy. It’s letting go of hatred and replacing it with forgiveness. That’s a tough one but studies show that forgiving is an important step to healing.
Maybe it’s looking at her beautiful ‘stripes’ (stretch marks) and feeling tenderness that this person carried another human within them. Marvelling at how she is a tiger one minute, powerful and intimidating, and in the next breath a sweet angel who wipes away the tiniest tears.
It’s seeing the thinning hair on his crown and feeling such tenderness that it’s almost impossible not to plant a kiss there. The crow’s feet and the lines on his brow, evidence of a life lived to the full. The joy of laughing well into old age and embracing the need to repeat what we’ve said as the hearing grows dim. With luck, we will all experience the saggy skin that longevity brings. Imagine going saggy-skin skinny dipping together? Watch out world!
It’s even in the bickering about driving too close to the car in front, one minute, and then singing along to a great track on the playlist the next, argument forgotten. It’s the stress of having too much month left after the money has run out and persevering through the tough times together, anyway. Those beans-on-toast moments.
Let’s write our own movie trailers, not the typical Hollywood cliché where perfect ‘he-man’ gets the ‘young and the gorgeous’ but one that celebrates love in the everyday. Thanks, Mandy Comic for ‘keeping it real’ all those years ago.
Queue the ‘weird movie trailer deep voice’: ‘They shared a love of cheese toasties, arguing over whether the cheese of choice should be aged gouda or stringy emmental, they compromised on good old English Cheddar and settled back to watch Gogglebox. They lived happily ever….uh? Oh! …. they lived, loved, argued, made up, repeat.’
Written by Stella Nicholls