Than to have never loved at all
My name is Kim, and I have a problem. I’m addicted to holiday-ahol. That feels good. Admitting it is the hardest part. But, even for the most committed holiday junkie, Valentine’s Day can be a test of will.
I have, for the last few years, been lucky enough in love to have a good man to celebrate the holiday with.
While it’s been fun to experience Valentine’s Day like lovers do, I need you to take a walk back in time with me. I am thirteen years old – too old to make tacky construction paper valentines for everyone in my class, too young to be a half of any great romance. It’s hard to go for dinner and a movie when your mom is going to have to drive you there and pick you up. Not particularly a mood setter.
I was in the middle of regretting my decision to break up with my “boyfriend” the month before. We had been seeing each other since we had slowed danced at the Back to School MuchMusic video dance weeks earlier. Neither of us had had the courage to say one word to each other since. That was the hardest “Dear John” MSN message I ever had to write.
So, there I was, thinking of checking in with old what’s-his-name and see if he wanted to hang out and hold hands on Feb. 14, when a thought struck me. Maybe my own problems weren’t the centre of the world.
Shocking as it may be now, I had friends. We were all at that strange in-between stage, each wanting to be seen as grown up and adult, romantic entanglements included. No one buys into the Valentine’s Day hype like awkward preteens.
So, I decided to scrape together any money I had saved from babysitting and I was going to buy each of my friends a yellow rose and would sneakily leave it on each of their desks at some point during the day. (For cost reasons, the roses were downgraded to daisies, but it’s the thought that counts.)
So the day came, and I brought my yellow daisies to school. I spent the day trying to get these large bright flowers into the room without the girls knowing. As luck would have it, they seemed pretty distracted themselves, otherwise I’d probably have yellow daisy potpourri today.
I was feeling pretty good at the end of the day. It was the same feeling I had gotten when I was younger and valentines were given to everyone and the day was spent doing arts and crafts.
Do you remember when it was cool to tell your friends your locker combination? You weren’t really “besties” unless you could break in to that person’s locker and leave sticky notes about cute boys. That day, when I opened my locker, I found a fake rose, a small heart-shaped box of candy, and a cartoon Valentine’s Day card. My friends rocked.
As the years went by, we all got one another through our first real breakups, survived high school with no real scars, learned to drive, and got in our first accidents. I think the reason for our longstanding friendship was rooted in that one Valentine’s Day. It had been the first time in our short, self-centred lives when we really cared about someone else.
Sure, it wasn’t romantic, but Valentine’s Day was about love, and those girls were my very first soulmates.