A Valentine’s Day Excerpt


To celebrate a Valentine’s Day, I posted an excerpt from The Light We Lost in which Lucy and Gabe celebrate Valentine’s Day together. Here it is:

The Valentine’s Day we spent together was incredible, the kind of thing only you would do.

By the time I got home from work you’d cut photographs of both of us into tiny stars and tacked them to the ceiling.

“And he will make the face of heaven so fine / That all the world will be in love with night / And pay no worship to the garish sun,” I said, when I saw what you’d done.

You answered by wrapping your arms around me. “God, I love you,” you said.

“I love you right back,” I answered. You kissed the top of my head as I looked around.

You’d moved the furniture so there was space for an enormous picnic blanket in the middle of the studio. A plate of truffle-grilled-cheese sandwiches rested on one corner of the blanket, and a bottle of champagne sat in a small garbage pail full of ice on another. When I took my coat off, you pressed play on an album of Shakespeare’s sonnets set to music.

“Wow, Gabe,” I said, once I’d hung my coat in the closet. Everything you had done floored me, but also somehow made me feel a bit unworthy. I hadn’t done close to this amount of planning for Valentine’s Day.

“I figured it was too cold out for a picnic under the stars, so I brought the stars to us. Shakespeare’s stars.”

I kissed you, hard, then slipped off my heels and sat down with you on the blanket.

“This was the best way I could think of to celebrate you and me,” you said, as you picked up a triangle of grilled cheese. “Hungry?” you asked.

I nodded and you held the sandwich while I took a bite. Then you took a bite yourself.

After I’d chewed and swallowed, I looked up at you. “My present for you isn’t quite as…extravagant.” I said. I walked across the studio and pulled a wrapped bundle from underneath my side of the bed. It was a cashmere scarf that I’d knitted during a month of lunchtimes at work—the same exact blue as your eyes.

“Happy Valentine’s Day,” I said, as I handed the gift to you.

You opened it, and your smile lit up your face. “Did you make this?” you asked.

I nodded, feeling less insecure about my gift.

“It’s so soft.” You wrapped the scarf around your neck and left it there the whole rest of the night. “I love it,” you said, “almost as much as I love you.”