In college, the early years, Bryan and I were often broken up. He was a dick and I was needy. Together we formed one rockin' duo, his hair longer than mine, my heart all dry and puckered, exposed as it was pinned to my sleeve. You know how you have certain memories so clear and fresh that you can still smell the flinty wood of the pencil? One prematurely spring day I sat in a geography class that I had signed up for only because Bryan needed it for a science credit. He was not in class that day. The sun shone into the window of the classroom, smacking my cheek with what I knew was an unflattering glare. As the professor droned on and on about oxbow lakes I bent my head out of the sun and doodled a picture in my notebook. It looked something like this:Titled: Self-Portrait, With Zits, it was a soul searching journey into my nineteen year old psyche. I can still recall the deep sense of loss as I dotted on the pimples--they were the kind that feel as if they greet the day two steps ahead of you. I was just so sad, so deeply, deeply sad remembering a time (probably the week before) when Bryan loved me. I felt forgotten, as if the river had changed its path on me unexpected, meandered a bit to the right or to the left, going with the flow, the path of least resistance, leaving me stagnant and alone. Resisted and zitty. It was Valentine's Day. Later Bryan gave me some flowers that his roommate had gotten from his girlfriend but didn't want. I hung them upside down on my bedroom wall to dry.
In kindergarten I had a friend that was a boy so I suppose he was my boyfriend. His name was Chris and one day he invited me over to his house to go swimming and make Valentine's day cards out of doilies, glue sticks and glitter. At the pool his younger brother kept trying to pull down my bathing suit bottoms but Chris said he would only tell his mom if I showed him what was really underneath. We went behind the shed and I pulled down my bottoms and then Chris went back to the pool and played underwater Storm Troopers with his brother. He never told his mom. Valentine's Day: I am not a fan. Tomorrow night Bryan and I have a date to go see Slumdog Millionaire; the suffering seems appropriate. Do you have any good stories of V-day gone wrong? A time, perhaps, when the Hallmark card would not open, the pages stuck together with a good story? If so, please share. And either way, know that I love you. Someone you've never met, February 14th and beyond. Have a good one. (Or don't. Which is totally fine, too.)