Next to my side of the bed is a glass shelving unit that doubles as my night stand. On the next to the top shelf sits a little stuffed gorilla. That little gorilla was the first real Valentine’s day gift I had ever received. I grew up not getting to celebrate the holiday, along with most of the other usual ones, except July 4th and Thanksgiving. So I’d never really gotten much in the way of Valentines related cards, or gifts until I met Gary.
I do remember one other gift, a potted plant that I had gotten from my ex. He walked into the bedroom with it, saw that I was sick as a dog with the flu, and pretty much left me alone after that. In his defense, I likely looked as hellish as I felt. I am pretty sure we exchanged a card here and there, but I was the romantic type, he was not, and the running troubles in our marriage quelled most romance. There was one other attempt at Valentine’s Day themed romance from him, but getting toasted before the entree is served at a fancy restaurant, just killed the mood, as it so often did.
Which is why BooBoo is so special. Gary bought BooBoo for me on our first Valentine’s day as a couple. Ours was a whirlwind romance, that took us both completely by surprise. We’d both survived terrible marriages, and were initially leery about any future romantic success. Thankfully we were so freakishly compatible, despite being complete opposites, and goofy in love, that any doomed outlook was not going to happen.
Now BooBoo isn’t any ordinary stuffed gorilla, mass produced just in time for the February holiday. He’s special, as Gary quickly discovered. He was shopping for something for me as a gift. He saw BooBoo sitting with other little stuffed animals and picked it up. That is when he noticed that one of the letters written on the little heart the stuffed primate held was flawed. He put it down and kept looking.
But he couldn’t get BooBoo out of his mind.
The more the thought about that little gorilla with the faulty writing on its little heart, the more he realized he had to have it. When he got back to the stuffed animal display, he discovered that someone else was holding BooBoo. Thinking fast, he told the man holding BooBoo, that he too had considered that choice but had noticed the flawed lettering. The man then set BooBoo down and chose another stuffed animal. Gary waited until the man was out of sight, the picked BooBoo back up and headed towards the register.
He saw the man who almost bought BooBoo as he was leaving the store.
“I am glad you put that little stuffed gorilla back on the shelf.” Gary told the man. “If you had really wanted that stuffed gorilla, I would have offered you twice its value for it.” He then told the man why BooBoo was the perfect gift for me.
To Gary, BooBoo, the not quite perfect gorilla, was a representative of himself. Not the prettiest on the shelf, sporting flaws, yet holding out his not quite perfect, but great big beautiful heart to me. He told me how BooBoo got to come home, and why. It was confirmation that the man I had dared to take a chance on love with, was the right dare, and the right man.
BooBoo will sit by my bedside for the rest of my life. He’s a representative of a love I never imagined possible and of a man who shows me, every single day, that I am just beginning to delve the depths of that love.