14 February 2008


After a long day at work, this is the last thing I have to do before I go home and spend time with the love of my life. Valentine's Day is here again, and for the third year in a row, I've been in a relationship. This means the day is something to look forward to, which was not the case for many, many years beforehand. As I examine this, part of me is stuck by the notion that the anger is missed.
For the better part of my life, Valentine's Day was like a GAP commercial - it merely reminded me that A.) I wasn't beautiful and B.) I did not have what I wanted. It was a day where I walked around in a huff, madly jealous but pretending I was indifferent to all of the displays of love and affection around me. High school was the worst (really, when WASN'T it?), because it was probably the time in my life where my self-esteem was the lowest. Back then, the littlest validations meant a great deal, be they hugs or even little smiles from girls I didn't like. The empty neediness in me knew no bounds.
Once I got to college, it wasn't quite as bad, because I had an outlet for my anti-holiday sentiments: I had the opinion column on the student paper. The apogee of this phenomenon was in 2004, when I wrote a column that humorously bashed the holiday with all of the subtlety of a nail bomb. I was mad, I was lonely, and I wanted the whole world to know about it. The last non-relationship Valentine's Day I spent was with my friend Becky in 2005. I had just been dumped by the first serious girlfriend I had, and Becky and I spent the whole night watching movies and eating candy. I ate an entire back of Valentine's candy hearts (the kinds with the messages on them - speaking of which, do they still make the ones that day "fax me" on them? If anyone knows, fill me in!). After about halfway through the bag, I realized they tasted like chalk. I've really never liked them since.
Last year, Karla and I shared our first Valentine's Day. We'd picked up our engagement ring the weekend before, and it was hard to resist not becoming engaged the minute we walked out of the jewelry store. For some reason, it wasn't as hard to resist come Valentine's Day, because neither of us wanted to embrace what we saw as a cliché. I got her flowers, and she got me a talking Family Guy pen. It was a sweet holiday. and two days later, we were engaged. The engagement trumped the holiday; last year, it was a mere formality for what we both knew was coming.
So, as I finish writing this entry, the hatred and contempt I once felt for this holiday seem a million miles away. They are as alive now as the cold ashes in a fireplace; gray, lifeless carbon that has no chance of reigniting and becoming what it once was. In the end, the anger ended up choking and sputtering on the sweet breath coming from the love of my life as she gently whispered "I love you" into my ear.

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