• Marilyn Gardner Woods

The Perfect Man

It’s Valentine’s Day, my third without my husband of fifty plus romantic observances of cupid’s special day.


I dodged several half-hearted invitations from coupled friends and found myself alone at the cold kitchen counter of my daughter’s house, where I am a regular as a widow. They are out of town on a romantic Valentine/birthday getaway.


The house is colder than usual because they are out of town and I don’t know how to operator their fancy heater/keypad thing.


Additionally, today was one of the most memorable storms in sunny San Diego history. Wind gusts up to 75 mph and nine inches of rain in a 24 hour period of time. Feeling much like a pioneer, I made my way up the interstate from my home in San Diego to her home in North County to act as babysitter/companion to my twenty-year-old granddaughter who is working late tonight.


While Carly served romantic dinners to restaurant guests, I dined alone on take-out and a glass of pinot noir before climbing into my Valentine red flannel pajamas, which I leave in the drawer at my daughter’s house next to “my bed.”


At my bedside, a sweet miniature red rose plant with a loving message awaited me. “Happy Valentine’s, Mom. We love you very much.”

And on my pillow, chocolate.


No ordinary chocolate, this one.




“The Perfect Man” was nestled on the crisp white pillowcase where I sleep. A sculpturally perfect, muscularly toned Adonis wearing white boxer shorts splashed with bright red hearts. Nothing else on his bronzed velvety body. “He’s sweet and decadently rich. Just how a man ought to be,” the heart shaped sticker said.

My initial reaction, having been celibate now for almost four years, was X-rated. And then, realizing my dream boat was a calorie laden chocolate statue, I wondered…

“Are my daughter and son-in-law tiring of our occasional multi-generational living arrangements? Maybe once or twice a week is too much. Are they tired of me hanging around? Would they like some gallant figure to sweep me off my feet and out of their hair?”

Alone on the day of romance, hearts and flowers, and love affairs is extremely difficult and sad. Even more so if you feel you are rejected by those closest to you.

I agonized for some time about the hidden intentions in milk chocolate. And then I sprang into action.



My new dilemma…where to start on the chocolate man of my dreams?

A very weird Valentine’s Day.

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