Saying, “I love you” with A Tank of Gas

How do you tell people you love them? We know that Gwen does it through sloppy joes and unwanted (sometimes uncooked) food. I did it, today, with a tank of gas. This is either 31, or this is love.

In the place where we met – we look and love different than we used to.

My husband has the absolutely infuriating habit of never checking the gas guage. I don’t understand this selective blindness – he looks at the spedometer, how does he not see the gas guage blinking right next to it? Even moreso I don’t understand the selective take on reality, as in, “I will get out of this car tonight with less than 10 miles in the tank and tomorrow morning I won’t have to deal with this it will fix itself.”

Well last night we rolled in – literally – to our temporary home. We’d run out of gas at the top of the hill two blocks from Gwen’s, so we coasted down the hill and to a stop on the street outside. I offered to go right then and there to get a tank of gas. It was dark and rainy and I really didn’t want to do that, but I also knew I’d worry about it until the morning. 

We went to bed, I worried about it for a bit, then I moved my alarm up 40 minutes earlier and fell asleep with a plan. I figured I’d borrow my mother-in-law’s car, go get a cannister full of gas and come back before calling my Uber to go to the airport. 

My plan didn’t include turning on my mother-in-law’s car and discovering it, too, had zero miles left in the tank. Is this nature or nurture? Risk-taking spontaneity, or forgetful carelessness? Let’s not delve into that too much, but I was stymied. 

Ready to give up and get back in bed for an extra 30 minutes, I fretted about Matt waking up and being stressed about the gas. Matt hates mornings. He’s also not very good at mornings. I hate that he hates mornings, and I show my love by (trying — not always succeeding — but almost always trying) to make his mornings quieter and smoother. I couldn’t give up on the gas. 

Uber to the rescue. Roberto picked me and my red gas can up at Gwen’s, took me to the filling station, back to Gwen’s and onto the airport. 

Sending that, “Morning! Red can of gas sitting outside Cappie’s fence” text was better than any love note I’ve ever left in the bathroom. 

Love at 31, love in 2020, it looks a little different than at 21 when it was all dance floor make out sessions and hypothetical futures. Perhaps love at 41 will look like never letting the tank go below half full?


Alicia Amling View All →

Recovering journalist who discovered a life outside of news leaves you time for things like getting angry, cooking and traveling. Plus, hopefully, writing. I’m a wife, dog mom and Washingtonian.

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