romance unscripted


Today is my anniversary. Eight years of wedding bliss.

Pardon me while I cough.

No's been a great eight years. Ten if we count the time before the I dos. What can I say, I am a sucker for a good romance.  I almost always lean in that direction when I’m writing.  I tend to favor romance when I pick a book to read.  And there's nothing better than a good romantic comedy on a girls night out. 

So why does romance always look a lot easier than it actually is?  Why don’t writers tell you about morning breath and bodily functions? 

I write my characters with bladders, and toothbrushes, and lots and lots of showers and baths.  I think it adds to the comedy of it all, because at its core romance isn’t always all that romantic.  Sometimes it’s a Three Stooges skit, and often times the third character is an inanimate object.  I know that’s the case in my life.

Despite my draw toward grand romance, my husband would not normally be considered an overly romantic person.  He was never big on the flowers and candy, definitely not prone to burst into spontaneous poetry, and absolutely never planned secret getaway weekends for just the two of us.

Until three years ago, on our anniversary.

After five years of marriage, my husband went through a miraculous transformation and became a romantic.  I didn’t ask questions, I just went with it.

We arrived in the night, on the scariest drive I've ever taken, up the side of a mountain. On a dirt road. With a drop off on the passenger side of the car that had me muttering obscenities the entire way.

Once we arrived, and my husband plied me with enough wine to calm my panic attack, we spent a quiet evening by the fire.  The stone fireplace went all the way to the vaulted ceiling, and a large deer head was hung above the mantle.   The ceiling and walls were tongue and groove pine, as were the wide plank floors.  The cabin was decorated just enough to make it homey without looking too decorated.  And the best decoration of all was the magnificent view out the windows.


So, I wrapped myself up in a blanket and stepped out onto the back deck to check out the scenery. I expected to find a hot tub on the back deck.  There is something romantic about an outdoor hot tub in the dead of winter, especially while on a romantic anniversary getaway. The brochure promised a hot tub, and I was somewhat disappointed that I had yet to find one.  In the absence of a hot tub, I decided to look for bears.  I was determined to find at least one bear on this trip. 

I did not see a single bear, but I did discover the elusive hot tub hiding on a lower porch under the deck.  I looked around for a way to reach the porch.  It wouldn’t be easy to get down there.  We would have to go around the cabin and down the back stairs to reach the bottom.  As perilous as that sounded, I was ready to take a soak.

I've decided everyone should be brave enough for naked hot tubbing at least once in their lives, and I was ready for my turn.  I had a hard time convincing Mike.  He thinks of things in much more rational terms than I do.  He was concerned because reaching the lower porch in the best of conditions would be tricky, and it was not the best of conditions outside.  It was snowing pretty steadily, we didn’t have robes, and there were cabins nearby that could potentially see.  But, I wasn't discouraged.  I had a brilliant plan.

My plan was to undress inside and wrap up in the extra comforters to get to the tub.  We could toss the comforters over the railing to get in.  The water would be piping hot, and I figured the layer of steam directly above the water would cushion us as we got in and out of the tub.  We could grab the comforters and wrap up again when we were finished to make the dash back to the cabin.  It was perfect!

I slipped my bare feet into my slippers and Mike put on his sneakers, and we set out for the our romantic rendezvous with a bottle of wine and two plastic wine glasses , courtesy of my brilliant husband.

The plan went off without a hitch.  We slid the cover off  before shedding our blankets and swiftly slipped into the water, draping the comforters, just within reach, over the railing.

The water wasn't as hot as I'd hoped, or maybe it was just that the air was much colder than I expected.  However, I refused to be discouraged from my chance at romance, so I switched on the jets as I held my cup out for Mike to pour the wine. 

My perfect room temperature red wine quickly got too cold to drink.  I tried holding the cup partially under the water to warm it, but it wasn’t working.  It was just too cold.  In fact, anything not completely submerged in the water was getting too cold.  We slid down until only our faces were exposed to the whipping wind, and attempted to cuddle against the warmth of the underwater lights. 

I glanced at the thermometer to discover the water temperature was going down as the wind picked up.  My perfect plan was losing steam faster than the hot tub.  We wordlessly agreed to abandon the hot tub and take the romance inside where it was warm...a good plan in theory.

Getting into the water was infinitely easier than getting out.  I lifted my shoulders carefully out of the water to help drag the cover partially across the top.  The less time spent standing in the frigid air— soaking wet—the better. As I discovered, it is nearly impossible to pull the cover over while sitting inside.  The cover slipped back over the side and out of our reach.  Mike refused to worry about the hot tub.  It would surely survive for a while without the cover.  We took several deep preparatory breaths to steel ourselves from the bitter cold.  Mike got out first and proceeded to drag me by the arm until I was able to pull my leg over the side to get out.  It was cold.  Ice-freaking-cold!  We grabbed our comforters at the same time and I let out a shriek.  They had frozen into the shape of the railing.  How the hell two dry comforters managed to freeze into the shape of the railing is beyond me.  I shoved my feet into my frozen slippers, pulled the ice-pack that was my blanket around my wet, naked body and made a run for it. 

Yes.  I ran. 

I ran as carefully as I could possibly run up the back stairs, around the cabin and back through the front door.  I only slipped twice, but managed to stay on my feet the whole time. We left the wine, the plastic cups and the hot tub cover on the floor of the porch for the morning. 

Luckily for us, the fire was already blazing in the hearth and we let our comforters fall to warm our bodies as close as possible to the flames. 

Romance finally won out that night, even if completely without a plan.  I think sometimes that’s the best way for romance.  Plans are overrated. 

I never did see any bears.  As it turns out the only thing “bare” outside of the cabin that weekend was us!

Until the next time…I’ll be avoiding plans of any kind—at least until I come up with something new!

Copyright © 2000-2018, Erica Lucke Dean. All rights reserved. Any retranscription or reproduction is prohibited and illegal.
Posted on December 18, 2012 .