I somehow have come to equate romance (in the also non-male/female relationship senses of the word) with an element of surprise. I don't exactly know where this came from in my life, as I can count on one hand the number of times I remember being intentionally surprised. One of those times was at my sixteenth birthday party at Jerry's Catfish House in Florence, MS.

(Yes, it is shaped like an igloo.)

My mom had brought a candle, but they didn't have cake to bring me, so they instead crafted a gigantic birthday hushpuppy. For some reason, this occasion, and the subsequent incredulous look on my face, was not documented, yet I still remember it. (For the record, the hushpuppy was so rotund that it did not get cooked through, so we were sadly unable to consume it.) It made an impact because it was such a surprise, which I think corroborates my theory that surprise = romantic.

I think I'll blame it on Hollywood, too. You know, every romantic comedy has some moment where the guy surprises the girl and then they fall in love and live happily ever after. It makes us all want that. Commercials do it, too, though mostly advocating surprise gifts of jewelry. When I think about it, though, it is weird that I always think I want to be surprised. I am such a planner that I'm really not sure I'd be able to handle a surprise even if one came my way! Throughout college, I always harbored secret hopes that then-boyfriend-now-hubby would show up with flowers on a random Friday, or that I would walk out of a class and find him standing there to meet me. They normally occurred when I hadn't heard from him for awhile (read: an hour) or was unable to get in touch with him, allowing me to believe he might be ignoring me because he was secretly on his way to me! These pipe dreams had several flaws, one of which is that we shared a Google calendar. The second is that it often took long conversations and comparisons of those calendars to find a time when we could PLAN a visit, let alone spontaneously create one. And granted, in spite of coming up with all of the sweet times he could appear for me, I never did it to him either. I contemplated it a few times, but I think it might have stressed him out more than it would have brought him enjoyment. There were a few times when we made spur-of-the-moment trips, which is kind of like a surprise, but they usually came about with full consent and approval of the other.

This is not a bad thing. I finally convinced myself that when I couldn't get in touch with then-boyfriend-now-hubby, it probably just meant he was doing something boring like working in a computer lab. :-)

But yesterday, after all this time, he surprised me! I was having my eyes checked at the Walmart Vision Center (by a surprisingly pleasant and competent doctor) and texted him to let him know the outcome. My plan was to remain at Walmart and do the grocery shopping that hadn't gotten done over the weekend due to a wonderful visit with my parents. Well, as I as contemplating a bag of oranges (it's not orange season anymore, but I have really been enjoying them, which is rather unfortunate), I sensed a being behind me. After the initial jump, I realized it was HUBBY! He left work when he got my text message and came to keep me company while I shopped. It might sound trivial, but it was so romantic to me, and I couldn't stop smiling the whole time we shopped.

I guess THAT'S why I equate surprises with romance. Though I suppose I shouldn't get used to it, because then it wouldn't be a surprise, now would it?

Laura Lindeman

Laura Lindeman