I have always had a disdain for Valentine’s day.
Okay, not always. I used to love it. It was up there with Halloween. It was a creative candy-filled time of year. Eventually, it all changed. Making cool creative boxes to collect cards. Finding cards that represented how cool you were or what you were into. Reading then eating sweethearts and sometimes taking the message personal, like you are Ralphie. Those were the days.
Elementary was a long time ago.
I woke up to the shame in middle school and hated it. I hated someone telling you when it was time to be in love. I looked down on those who went all out because someone put it on a calendar as something you had to do. The audacity of the commercial world to make a profit off of romance. To turn it from something of a pure relational thing to an interaction of one-up-manship showboating and competition. As if the poor man could not express his love without a diamond. It was a suckers game. Or worse yet a woman waiting to be told she was loved and valued and expected it on that day. As if that day has some magic attached to it. It was all bullshit to me.
But there I was nineteen years ago at work. I looked at my friend, boss, and girl I was friends with benefits with. We had made a bet that the other would be in a serious relationship by Valentine’s day. The bet was a hefty quarter. I lost the bet. I would have to tell her and pay up.
The fact is I was in love. The only kind of love I know. The kind of love that puts someone else first. The kind of love that takes pleasure in the delight and happiness of the other person. It isn’t the consumer kind of love, it isn’t the possession kind of love. It is the kind of love that wants the other person to be happy no matter what, kind of love. This kind of love could take the rejection of the other person because this kind of love wants what is best for the other. I don’t think I knew I was in love yet, but I had the love in my heart. There was a simple delight in being around her. Nineteen years later, that was the best bet I lost.
So, I handed this girl I was kinda with the quarter. She looked at me and I immediately said, “now give it back”. She lost the bet too.
Nothing has changed. I still love her and enjoy her company the most.
Happy Valentine’s Day Brooke.