From the mind of Tom Beland

Creator of True Story Swear to God

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day, Lily

I met her at a bus stop ten years ago.

She smiled at me, spoke with me... and didn't pepper-spray me.

It's amazing what the right person can do to your life. Since the day I met Lily, my world has only gotten better with each day.

Yep. We have arguments... I'm not saying it's always easy. I'm not an easy person to live with. She had to live with someone who's had to adjust to an entire new world and way of life. And when that person is impatient, as I can be, sainthood should seriously be considered.

She's only made me a better person than I was before I met her.

She took a guy who had settled for a nowhere job, who didn't think too highly of himself and who certainly didn't see the potential in himself that she saw.

Ten years later... wow. Look at what I've done.

I made mini comics. I took them to conventions. I made friends in the business.

I made actual comic books. To date, I've made 27 issues of TRUE STORY, SWEAR TO GOD. She's been there through every page. Every panel.

And then there was Marvel. And Spider-Man.

My Lily understood what an impossible dream it was to put words into the mouth of my favorite character of all time. Same with Reed, Sue, Ben and Johnny. And Captain America. And, yes, Dragon Man.

After she gave me the emotional support to write comics, I gave her the support to write her own books. Her new one is now a best-seller here on the island.

When I was in spending my "lost year" in Napa after our divorce, we spoke on the phone every day. Great conversations, laughs and support... from an ex-wife. It didn't take long for us to realize we made a huge mistake and I moved back here to stay. With her.

To show my love for Lily, I cook, do laundry and do the shopping. I'm there with a shoulder to cry on when needed. I tape all her shows on our TIVO, even the shows I'm not all that into.

When I go to conventions, I always try to find something that has Wonder Woman (her favorite) or Astro Boy (her nickname in high school... they thought she had legs like Astro Boy).

I know this is Valentine's Day, where guys out there are trying to prove their love to their women... and the women are waiting to see if their men will come through with something great.

That's not us.

Because love isn't about cards, chocolate and flowers. That smells of desperation to me.

Love is making a meat loaf our of turkey meat, because she doesn't eat meat. Even though you've been craving a beef, pork and veal meat loaf all week.

Love is sitting through Entertainment Tonight AND Access Hollywood because it's her guilty pleasure.

Love is washing her hair when we shower together.

Love is knowing that she'll order Ceasar Salad sin pollo. She loves mojitos.

But I'll tell you what love is to me.

When it's 10pm... we're on the couch watching television. She's curled up next to me, her head on my shoulder. There's a gentle breeze coming in from the patio doors as the coqui frogs are chirping their song in the distance.

At that moment, I can feel the weight of her head sink into my shoulder, telling me that she's passed out. Every time I feel this, it makes me feel special. It's amazing to me how someone can feel so safe with you that they can fall asleep on you.

Love is work. And the reward for this work is the love you get.

Not just one day.

Of course, I'll still make her a card. :)


Richard Melendez said...

Tom, your observations are spot on. As I'm currently with a loving wife with whom I've shared a multitude of ups and downs, I have to wholeheartedly agree that love is hard work, but the pay off is more than worth it. Congrats to you and Lily for making ten years! May there be many more to come...


Tom Beland said...

Thanks, Richard!

Simple night for us here. We went to the movies and saw LARS AND THE REAL GIRL and then to a small italian restaurant for dinner.

I'm always amazed at how some friends of mine wish they had a relationship like we have... and when they find someone, the smallest thing will split them up.

I always laugh at the guy spending uber amounts of cash on this day, as well as the women who build up their anticipation. It's nothing. It SHOULD be no different than the other 364 days on the calendar.

Good for you for finding someone who completes you. Yeah, it ain't easy in the least. But man... aren't our ladies fantastic?

Gary Dunaier said...

What a beautiful tribute to a wonderful person.

As a big fan of your work, I owe Lily a huge debt of gratitude. You have the talent, but her encouragement and support was the key that enabled you to share your gift with the world.

Richard Melendez said...

"But man... aren't our ladies fantastic?"

They most certainly are. I truly consider myself lucky to have found someone as great as my Mica.