I just looked at my computer clock and realized that today is Valentine’s day, and here I am, on my couch in the dark, alone. I talked with my ex-girlfriend briefly on the phone tonight, asked how she was doing, what she was up to, the same old same old. We were trying to figure out a time to get together for dinner, and she said that Wednesday night was obviously out. And even though I wanted to ask, I didn’t. Because really, who wants to know what their ex is doing for Valentine’s day?
So, what do I plan to do? I’m not really sure, but I imagine it’s going to involve some liquor down at a local watering hole. Maybe my random act of kindness for Wednesday will be to wash away a few of my own memories in a flood of beer, to hang out with some old friends or to maybe reach out with a few shots of tequila and make a few new ones.
It wasn’t that long ago that the blue box program came out in BC. You know, that blue plastic thing where everyone puts their recycling goods into and drops them off once and a while to be recycled. I remember thinking what a good thing it was. Then, one day, I was talking with a friend and I asked what she thought of them. I was surprised when she said that she didn’t support them. The reason is that most people suddenly feel like that’s all they have to do to make a huge difference, and even though it does help, a lot of people simply pat themselves on the back and never do another thing for the environment. It’s almost a simple way to put your conscience at ease.
And maybe Valentine’s day is the blue-box of love. Maybe it’s the day we focus on so that the rest of the year we don’t really have to step up to the plate and remind the people we love what they mean to us. Maybe all we have to do is just throw some flowers in that box once a year, or some wine or chocolate, some bath oil or some scented candles, and pat ourselves on the back for showing we care.
The very first girl I really cared for was girl named Susan way back at UBC. I thought what we had was magical, even though looking back I realize how flawed my perspective was on it all. I wrote her poems, gave her flowers, did little stupid things that only I do. In fact, I just realized that we started dating on Valentine’s day. Earlier in the day, I went with Brennen down to a flower shop on 12th and Alma and bought a dozen roses. Since one of the residence advisers owed me a favour, I managed to convince him to score me a key to Susan’s room earlier that day. We were all out at the Pit that night (Friday), since it was officially the beginning of reading week. When the opportunity presented itself, I left the Pit, sprinted all the way back to Totem Park, filled her room with roses using the key I scored, and ran all the way back to the Pit. Later that night, we parted ways, me going to my room and her going to hers. Twenty minutes later she was at my door and we had our first kiss.
After a few months, I remember thinking how cute a couple we were, and how happy we were. We did most everything together, and often would skip class just to hang out or take a nap. Then one day we were at the bar together, and I was in a bad mood, and she apparently was having way more fun dancing without me. So, I told her I was going home, and that I would meet her back in her room later that night. And when I got there, sitting open on her desk, was her little pink diary.
Now, I’m really not proud that I looked, and if I could go back I probably wouldn’t have, but after a few beers reading that one open page seemed like a great idea. And if you were Gage towers that night, walking back from the bar, or riding the elevator, maybe you would have heard the loud resounding crack of my heart as it echoed off the cold concrete walls. Like some dominos set in my chest put into motion by that first page, one by one each page collapsed, taking with it a little piece of my heart and my childhood. And as that last page fell, and every ounce of hope and goodness that was in that relationship dripped down my cheeks, I realized in that instant, I really had grown up.
But not all love ends in sadness, and many of my friends are happily married now, some with kids or kids on the way. So, I still hope that there’s someone out there for me, someone to sit at home with, to drink wine with, to grow old with, and to someday share the darkness with.
A long, long time ago, I used to read a lot of poetry, so I’ll leave this entry with the words of John Donne.
Yet nothing can to nothing fall,
Nor any place be empty quite ;
Therefore I think my breast hath all
Those pieces still, though they be not unite ;
And now, as broken glasses show
A hundred lesser faces, so
My rags of heart can like, wish, and adore,
But after one such love, can love no more.