Valentine's day is like an unwrapped chocolate kiss in a mouthful of cavities. Most other holidays have meaning. Valentine's Day is an excuse, a chance for the loved to brag, a reason for the unwanted to become fat. While visions of cupids fling corny love-arrows at undeserving couples, while I stock up on candies that make me red with hives, while beautiful girls receive millions of valentines and screech in high-pitched voices, "ooh, he's sooo good looking", and even as I wipe the amber-coloured, cinnamon-heart lipstick from the corners of my mouth I feel the electric shiver of tinfoil on cavities. It is a warning. Valentine's Day is approaching, like Cupid's guided missiles batting 50 foot eyelashes at me. The end was nearing. This may be harder than I thought.
I hate Valentine's Day. If plastic cheerleaders in plastic skirts with their mouths covered in vaseline can have red Valentine carnations sent to them anonymously, I'm going to have one sent to me behind my back. High School love is shallow, easy, quick to end and occasionally entertaining, a tornado of victims whose names and faces get tossed around like common garden salads. The cliques, like prune-lipped spinsters, have already preconceived who should receive what from whom and when it is good or bad; and worse than the single, raised eyebrow or the "once-over" stare, is the "whispered comment". It is the last, suspended button on the sweater of pride.
The expressions of pity and insult, the sickeningly sweet smell of gingerbread and cinnamon and icing, the unmistakable feel of fingertips in an empty mailbox, the lump in your throat when you realize that Prince Charming forgot to buy stamps again --- all these awaited me on the arrival of Valentine's Day. On any normal day, friends would ask, "have you called him back yet?" On Valentine's Day they say, "maybe he forgot your phone number". I'd play it cool, and as casually as possible, reply, "He declined the Valentine dinner offer sometime last week". After a second of thought, sarcasm adds with a sting to last until tomorrow, "maybe he's allergic to heart-shaped jello".
Welcome ten unwanted, chocolate pounds, goodbye clear complexion. Hello red and pink, escaping locker-lovers, listening to "daytime drama" conversations, walking home alone, holding back the tears. Goodbye "single and loving it"; hello holding books in one hand, nothing but air in the other.
If nothing else, Valentine's Day has taught me patience, that you don't always get what you want, and that buying out the candy and flower shops doesn't always produce and everlasting love affair. Of all the holidays, Valentine's Day is the one that wakes you up to the real world. It's a lot like waiting for film to be developed ...
"Someday my prints (prince) will come".
p.s. my prince and I are doing just fine