February 14, 1978: In kindergarten, on Valentine’s Day, someone’s mom made sugar cookies shaped like hearts with pink icing on it. One boy in my class (let’s call him “Brad”) put his thumb in my icing after using the bathroom without washing his hands. This was the first of my Valentine’s Days to end in tears.
February 14, 1983: In fifth grade, despite the fact that all of my classmates knew that I loved both chocolate and Duran Duran, not one person gave me chocolates shaped like Nick Rhodes’s synthesizer. I still haven’t gotten over the disappointment.
February 14, 1989: Possibly my first Valentine’s Day on which I had an actual boyfriend. Unfortunately, he decided on this day that he liked my friend Kelly more than me, and dumped me during 6th period study hall by handing me a note. The rotten jerk didn’t even have the decency to include some token pity chocolates with his stupid note. Still hate you, “Scott.”
February 14, 1994: I was in college, dating a guy named “Tom,” who unfortunately was much more in love with me than I was with him. Call me fickle, but I can’t stand it when a guy worships the ground I walk on and thinks I can do no wrong. That’s a high standard to live up to, and it will ultimately end in disappointment (for him). He sent me a dozen roses, which the cat I illegally kept in my apartment promptly ate. Honestly, you can tell a man a million times that you prefer chocolates, and they still give you stupid red roses. It was inevitable that I would dump him. I wrote him a note, and neatly tucked it into a Whitman’s Sampler box. That’s the way to break someone’s heart on Valentine’s Day, Scott.
February 14, 2000: I lived on Block Island and was married to the most useless human being that ever stained the cushions of a couch by not moving off of it. My best friend and I went out for chocolate cake and chocolate martinis. I may have stayed over her house that night instead of facing the dreary misery that was my life. Good times.
February 14, 2007: Jason and I celebrated our first Valentine’s Day together by going to a movie. He gave me a book on movie monsters as a gift. I guess I could live without chocolates that year.
What I’ve learned over the years is that the only man I can count on to give me my heart’s desire on Valentine’s Day is my father. That’s right: every year, without fail, since I was a young’un, my dad has given my sister and me heart-shaped boxes of chocolates. Sometimes the boxes have pretty pink lace on them, other years, it’s been a plain, deep red. Doesn’t matter. They're always filled with chocolates, from coconut creams to caramels with dark chocolate coatings. It turns out that when it really matters, my father will always come through with the goods. Thanks, Dad.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Be sure to visit me at Queen City Kamikaze on Sunday, February 16 in Manchester, NH! I'll be the only woman (not complaining) at the Books & Boos table with talented writers like Dale T. Phillips, Vlad Vaslyn, Gordon Bean, and T. T. Zuma! One of these four gentlemen has already promised me chocolate!