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100 Reasons I Love You

posted 30 Apr 2015, 06:47 by Tim Elliston   [ updated 13 May 2015, 10:49 ]

By Aimee DuFresne

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I’m sharing with you a romantic adventure I shared with my late husband Ben from my book Sunrise to Sunset, due out later this year. This was for his birthday and not Valentine’s Day, but it’s romantic all the same and perhaps will inspire some creativity to surprise your Valentine this year.

August 2002:

How do you top the birthday surprise of being taken on a first-class romantic trip to the place you grew up dreaming about going? Moreover, do it on an intern’s budget?

A surprise birthday trip to Paris. The Eiffel Tower is behind us hiding in the clouds.

I want to make Ben’s birthday as special as he made mine. Although clueless about how I am going to do this. We discussed our finances, which currently do not include another trip on our tight budget. I must be creative.

Ben is a romantic and I love him. How can I tell him I love him creatively and romantically? I scour the Internet for ideas. Then I find it. Blow up 100 balloons and fill each one with a message showing how much I love him.

This will be fun. I buy the balloons and think about what to add to them. In one I add a receipt from the first hotel we stayed at together. Other small tokens we have kept thus far in our relationship fill a few others. What next? I come up with the perfect solution – magnetic poetry! I head to Waterstone’s with my colleague Sarah, who is also a big romantic and loves the idea. “OK, what have we got here,” she says looking at the different types of romantic poetry. “Places Romance. Erotica.” She picks up a box of the erotica version and I look over her shoulder. We read the examples of included words and both turn beet red. “OK, maybe not erotica.” she says and fumbles the box back on the shelf. “How about romance?” A little more apprehensively, we look at the examples. They are perfect. “This is going to be great!”, Sarah exclaims. I hope I can pull it off and he likes it.

So, the task is simple. Write just under 100 poems using the romantic magnetic poetry words. Place in 100 balloons and blow up said balloons. Oh, and don’t let the man you are living with know or see any of what you are doing. This has to be a surprise.

We live in a small 2 bedroom flat, hiding 100 balloons is a little tricky, to say the least. Luckily, Ben, unlike myself, is not nosy or looking to uncover secrets. When I tell him he cannot go into our spare room for one month before his birthday due to a large surprise waiting for him there, he obliges without question. He’s excited for the surprise and doesn’t want to spoil it.

Meanwhile, I begin writing poems using the magnets and carefully place one poem in each balloon before blowing it up. This is a little more time-consuming than expected.

The big day is nearing and I have 100 filled balloons taking up a large portion of our small second bedroom. All is well. I am ready. Then a small wrench is thrown in the works.

“Mind if Pauline spends the night?” Ben asks casually during dinner one night. “Her sister is in the hospital in London so I thought she could stay here so it’s easier for her to travel there.”

Of course this is fine but what to do with 100 filled balloons? There is hardly room to walk into the room now, much less sleep and my mind races to find the balloons a new home.

“Sure she can stay. I just need to move your birthday surprise.”

I send Ben out to the store and frantically move 100 balloons from our tiny spare room and jam them into the small closet space in our main bedroom. I remove some clothes so they can all fit and, after some creative maneuvering, I am finally able to close the closet door just as I hear Ben’s key turn in the lock. I tell him he can no longer look in the closet or open it under any circumstances. He agrees and our guest comes and goes without Ben sneaking a peek in the closet. Once the room is again free, I transfer the balloons back when Ben isn’t home so he can retrieve his suits and shirts from our closet himself in the days leading up to his birthday.

The big day arrives and it’s time to move the balloons one final time. I banish Ben to the bedroom as I transfer the balloons to the living room. Pushing together our two love couches, I create an overflowing balloon pit and instruct Ben to enter once he hears the music playing. Balloons are EVERYWHERE, thank God for small spaces! Our living room has transformed into a bright multi-colored playground.

I press PLAY on our stereo and 50 Cent starts rapping, ‘Hey Shorty, it’s your birthday. We gonna party like it’s your birthday.’ Ben enters the room and the look on his face is priceless. I immediately know he loves it as much as I loved Paris. When I tell him each balloon is filled with a reason I love him he loves it even more. He can’t believe I fit all the balloons in the closet. He jumps into the ball pit. Then we hold hands and both run and jump into the ball pit. We land in the middle of the two couches and they separate immediately, with us landing on the floor laughing in hysterics. We set up the camera and start taking pics to capture the moment. At one point a balloon escapes and floats out the window. Ben runs downstairs and out of the building to retrieve it. He pops a few balloons and loves putting together the poems on our fridge.

We head out to London and have a champagne picnic in the park before heading back to play more in the balloons. Jumping into the balloon pit. Can you spot Ben’s legs? Sometimes, it really is the simple things in life that are the most magical.

Sunrise to Sunset is due to be released mid-2013. Stay tuned for more updates and sample chapters! Thanks so much for reading!

Aimee DuFresne