Of Kisses, Roses, and Pearls: “Anticipation of the Event Exceeds the Pleasure of the Event Itself”

I remember a time when I was nineteen years old. I fell madly in love with this girl whom I met only twice before. I met her once at a friend’s house, where she listened to me play Romanza on my Spanish guitar; I also met her once at a New Year’s party. She sat right next to me and listened carefully to the movement of every finger against every string on that guitar. When I finished playing for the night–in that dark and cozy corner of the dim-lit room–she leaned in closer and told me how beautiful the guitar playing was and how much she enjoyed it.
A few months later I would see this same girl at a New Year’s party that our church held and I would fall in love at first (err, second) sight with her. It was instant.
One of my professors, Jerry Sittser, told me about his first wife (he lost her along with his mother and baby daughter in a tragic car accident). He recalled a time when he and his friends were gathered around in a circle and talking about something mundane at the college campus. His future wife was standing in the crowd too. Jerry recalled how somebody shouted from a distance “Sittser!” He looked up in the direction of the shout and along the way his eyes caught a hold ofher. And everything changed. He recalls how in that particular moment, she was no longer just a somebody. He knew she was going to be his wife.
I probably had a similar moment–though it was not to be.
We began writing each other letters back and forth. We would talk on the phone sometimes too. She ended up going on a missionary trip to the Ukraine and I was at home running my father’s repair shop (as he was in jail at the time due to his alcoholism and DUIs). During the time she was there, I spent my days working, writing her and daydreaming about what could be. I envisioned everything. More than I can put to paper right now or even recollect. We spent eight long months writing one another while she was away. They were eight very long months.
You see, I am a very restless person by nature. I simply cannot sit still and wait around for life to occur. I am a very active person in my life. Those eight months nearly killed me. I remember restless nights hoping for a response if there wasn’t one. I wanted so much and I got so little.
At some point I became disillusioned with our relationship and I did something stupid. I can no longer remember what it was, but it wasn’t anything grand–just something minor, as far as I can recall.
So on her eighteenth birthday, I decided to do something romantic as a sign of appreciation of her and as a request at reconciliation.
I bought Hershey’s Kisses and I took eighteen of them apart. I then replaced all of their white strips of paper with my own on which I wrote out “eighteen reasons to forgive me on your eighteenth birthday.” It was cute and that’s how I wanted it to be.
She responded positively–though I later learned that she only did so because her mother liked me too much and pressured her to do so.
That was when I was nineteen. That was the season of the kisses, if you will.
Later in life I met a girl who loved philosophy and Soren Kierkegaard. We met in Portland and I was instantly drawn to her. We immediately fell into a good conversation about whether Kierkegaard was right in leaving Regine Olsen. We talked about Kantian ethics. We talked about Jesus. Gosh, we talked about virtually everything important in my life. I spent several weeks talking to her and at some point I realized that she was no longer interested in me. So I decided to do something quite interesting. I figured that she knew about my love for Kierkegaard, so I thought that if I joked around with her romantically, she would understand my jokes. She didn’t. I sent her flowers with a note reading “C’est la vie et l’amour.” Of course, she knew French better than I did and she should have understood my rather obnoxious and joking intentions. Oh well.
Still later, I was recommended a girl that was tall and beautiful. One of my friends said she would be a good match for me, so I decided I would do something memorable. I obtained her address prior to meeting her and sent her a large bouquet of flowers. (I sent them anonymously, and I am sure she was dying to find out who had sent them!) I then appeared about a week later at her best friend’s wedding and performed an acoustic set where I sung “You and Me” by Lifehouse. My intention was to approach her and see if I liked her after the wedding. I was thinking that if I liked her and if she liked me I would be able to play it cool and then announce that I had sent the flowers. Unfortunately, I chickened out and never did it. So that didn’t go well. She later found out that I, the “tall guy who sang,” was the one who sent her the bouquet and so that was the talk of the season. Simply put: it didn’t float her boat.
Needless to say, I was working long shifts that summer and so I was making a lot of money and I had no one to spend it on other than my sisters. So I sent her bouquets for a week straight.
She didn’t enjoy that either and eventually told me to stop sending them. So I did.
That was my season of roses. (I’m not sure if it’s over yet–I’m planning something grand for this upcoming Valentine’s Day [I have yet to choose the girl!].)
And now we come to my season of pearls. I have never sent anyone pearls before. I don’t know why, but pearls are beautiful and I’m not sure why I never sent them to anyone.
You see, I have this theory about love and romance. If I send you simple dark red roses, then you should know that I am seriously, by all means, in love with you. (I have yet to send those.)
There is a reason why I have always sent women colored roses or other flowers. I never loved them. It’s as simple as that.
Now, coming to pearls, they are white (the ones that I sent) and they remind me of nothing but purity and simple beauty. I really like pearls. As I write this, I think I am falling more and more in amour with them.
I was recently in Hawaii and I purchased several sets of pearl necklaces and earrings. I don’t know what got into me, but they looked so lonely just hanging there, and I felt like being generous. So I purchased pearls. Without really thinking much, I went on a whim and decided that I would figure out later whom to send them to. (When sending flowers, my rule of thumb is to send them and to find reasons for sending them later.)
I sent pearls to my sisters and to one other girl.
I sent them because it was a nice thing to do and because I had no use for them. But once I had sent them, I had to look for a reason. I don’t send pearls to girls. I never have. So why now?
Maybe because I think she’s a sweet girl. Or maybe because I am wrong. I don’t know. I live in the subjunctive mood. Almost always undecided about these sort of things.
But there is always more than meets the eye with me. Always.
You see, I have this tendency to push boundaries and watch responses. I don’t mean that I go and commit sins and then look to see if people notice; no, I like to live my life uniquely and in an eccentric fashion (which raises eyebrows sometimes).
I am now lost in the subjunctive. What could be and what will be, those are my questions.
Like Kierkegaard, I have “received” a “letter” and am sitting around leaving it unopened for three days. I am walking around that letter and imagining all of its romantic contents. All the things which that letter may contain. All the excitement and all of the life. Then I will open the letter. And find an unpaid phone bill awaiting me.
I have decided to play a game and guess what she will do with them.  I have previously wrote in my first book about this guessing game with roses–this time it is with pearls. Though it is unfair to call this a game because it takes away all of the emotions involved. Calling it a game makes me a criminal and inhuman. It is only a “game” in the sense that I know not what to expect and that that which I expect will probably turn out wrong anyways. Usually girls tend to reject gifts. That is the norm. So, for one, she could receive the pearls and send them back to me (which is understandable). She could receive the pearls and write me a thank you card (which would be doing more than the usual [maybe a good thing]). She could receive the pearls and send me a nasty letter (which would be understandable but rude). She could receive the pearls and donate them to a local charity (which would be understandable but inconsiderate). She could receive the pearls and think that they imply some sort of romance (which would be understandable but hasty). She could receive the pearls and put them away and think nothing of them. This would be understandable too–but it would also be tragic.
Receiving a gift and giving no response is a crime in my subjective world. At least send them back and tell me you hate me.
All of the possibilities that my world is full of. It is no wonder that I am an introvert on most days–look at how fascinating my life is!
One could spend centuries in the mazes of my mind.
As strange as it all sounds, I actually think I am done pouring out my thoughts to the public.
But beware: I have saved the best for last (and for myself only!).

written by Moses Y. Mikheyev
author of Rants on Love: Philosophical Fragments of a Dying Romance

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