As far as I’m concerned, there is pure joy, after a long and stressful day, in sliding into a hot bath with a paperback book at hand and soft music just audible in the far corner of the room. Note: If you’re a shower person, you might as well leave now, because you’ll never understand.

There’s more to a bath than just getting your skin clean, although I have to say that is one benefit, too. But the soothing, warm cuddle of the water is the delight of the thing. A bath should be approached seriously, with proper attention given to the ambient temperature of the room, the size and fluffiness of the waiting bath towel, the choice of bath salts or bath oil or not todoay, thank you. And I want a half-hour, minimum. The prune-y look will go away quickly (honest!) but the comfort stays with you until the world creeps back in.

My pink bathroom is pretty, now that we’ve replaced some rather extravagant dark pink wallpaper with a gentler, abstract flower pattern. There’s a tall, white wicker etagere near the faucet end of the tub; I’ve put some towels there, just in case I forget to set one out, and some paperback fluff (the stuff you can read without thinking, you know), and a big basket of bath goodies that someone gave me long ago. It’s utilitarian, but pleasing to the eye.

One day last year I felt that I particularly needed and deserved my cozy bath time–I don’t remember why–and I got everything set just the way I wanted. The room was warm, the water was perfect, the music was Chopin, and the book was an old friend. I slipped into the tub and leaned back to rest my head on the edge of the tub. Then, as I settled into the familiar bath-read pose, I glanced up at the etagere and there, stuck to the underside of the topmost shelf was a sticky note that said Somebody loves you. Pure, unexpected bliss!

The note is still there. I check every once in a while to be sure that I add a drop of glue when it needs it. It’s a secret between him and me. I know he loves me; he says it a hundred times a day, although not necessarily in words. But that day was a special joy. He told me later that he’d put the note there several days before and I just hadn’t looked in that direction yet.

Wow! The love is all around us, if only we take a moment to find it. Who needs Valentine’s Day?

I’ll see you again, after the commercial.