“Today is going to be the worst day of your life,” I told myself. Staring at my freckled face and frizzy hair in the mirror I continued, “You are ugly. Who could ever love you?”
I silently beat myself up on the bus ride to school. The girls around me were all chipper talking about who was getting flowers, stuffed animals, cards, and what they hoped they’d be getting.
I thought maybe today would be the day HE professed his love for me. Who was I kidding? I didn’t need the proof of humiliation. I knew it wasn’t going to happen.
In between classes I watched boys and girls arm in arm walking the halls. Some carrying flowers or balloons. Others, candy. And some just that smitten smile I so hated. I counted the bouquets of flowers until I lost count.
Then in one class the girl who sat in front of me, a girl I didn’t think had a boyfriend, one who even I considered homely, got flowers delivered to her. I leaned over her shoulder and said, “lucky you.” She whispered back, “not really. They’re from my parents.” I thought if that was me I’d probably lie and say I had a boyfriend that didn’t go to this school. For a moment I was consoled with the thought that probably half of those flowers came from parents. Then I felt depressed mine didn’t think to send me any.
My day among the happy go lucky girls in love soon ended and I headed home. I knew there was one last chance. At the bus stop where we changed buses. HE was older and wasn’t in school any longer, but he often came by the bus stop to talk or give me a ride the rest of the way home.
Sure enough after sitting at the stop a few minutes, HIS car pulled up. I kept my head resting between my arms against the seat in front of me, pretending not to see him. He walked over and banged on the outside of the window. I pulled the window down. He made small talk. No offer of a ride home. No card. No nothing. I could feel heat spreading across my face. I held back the tears as my heart was being ripped wide open. He even had the nerve to ask me how many gifts other boys had given me. I nearly died to have to say none. I wanted to tell him I’d gotten something, anything at all, but the resident jerk was beside me smirking and I knew he’d call me out. Still no card, no nothing. He left. The resident jerk said something snotty like, “not even a card?” I wanted to punch him.
The rest of the evening I sulked at home. Then I had to endure the questions from my mother about whether any boy gave me a card or anything. And then I had to listen how it was their loss, not mine. Mothers try so hard to be kind but tend to make things worse.
Valentine’s Day when I was sixteen sucked. I mean totally sucked. It meant I was grouped in with the unloved. You know the “girls WITHOUT boyfriends”. Yep, that’s how I was defined. At least by me and I thought by every girl in the school WITH boyfriends. Yes at sixteen, having a boyfriend made you someone, someone who was loved.
Thirty-three years later I sit here reading Facebook comments. A couple read, “Valentines is over-rated” and “Valentines is too commercialized”. They’re right, but the bottom line is they don’t have significant others. I want to tell them it’s much more important to have someone who shows you he loves you in small ways every day rather than a big display one day of the year. You see, I’ve lived many Valentine’s days since that really awful one. I’ve received great displays of affection over the years…in all honesty, I’d rather have the million little things every day that prove real love, a deep abiding one, not the kind on show for the world. Some years I get flowers, candy, a card, or dinner out. Sometimes all of those things. Don’t get me wrong, they are nice, but truly not necessary. I think every day should be a heart day. Shower those you love with affection daily…that’s the most important thing of all.
This Valentine bear was bought years ago by one of my sons for his girlfriend who broke up with him a few days before Valentine’s Day. Wylie is chewing up the bear…my husband says this is what you call poetic justice!