Valentine’s Day has been a constant reminder that Cupid must be unaware of my existence. For years, I dreaded February 14 but now all I feel is a momentary twinge instead of loss at what could be.
One of my major flaws is seeing how things – and people – could be, should be – and not life’s realities. One notable Feast of St. Valentine I attended a creative writing course (all women, of course) where we wrote and read aloud letters about love and romance. I wore green, the opposite of red, and everyone else, save one woman, wore black. One classmate read a letter to her sexually abusive father, telling him that his long reign of terror was over and that she was finally able to trust a man. She wore red in honor of the love she shared with her first ever boyfriend. She was in her forties.
My letter was to Life, complaining that although I was married I was not cherished, loved, respected or even acknowledged. I loved my husband throughout years of rejection and coldness until it finally withered and died due to neglect, I was a caring, devoted mother to our children, I managed our finances to the best of my ability, I volunteered for charitable organizations, yet I didn’t feel love. To be fair, my husband was a charitable person, too.
Fifteen years ago today I was sitting at my desk in the hellhole aka as my place of employment wishing I had a gun so that I could drive to St. Mary’s Cemetery and kill myself over my husband’s grave and wondering why more people don’t commit this ghastly act. Maybe it is more prevalent than we know but it doesn’t hit the news.
I knew I could never do such a thing because I am terrified of guns and wouldn’t know how to get one; I am also terrified of the incapacitation which could result in a botched attempt; and most importantly I am terrified of dying.
While these horrible thoughts were running through my head, I received a phone call from a friend. Even though I am a coward and would never harm myself, I believe she saved my life that day. Remember that always.
For years I pined over a married guy. Yes, I deserve any comment or judgement you might bestow on me. We met when he uncharacteristically ran across a heavily traveled thoroughfare, against the light, as he spotted me walking down the street. I had been crying over a bullying incident at work and was vulnerable to a man’s romantic attentions. It was winter and I will never forget his white silk ascot loosely tied over his black wool coat and his soulful eyes. He was The Love of My Life and we spent many hours, in half hour increments, of course, making out in his car, because he couldn’t be where he shouldn’t be for any length of time. Aside from the first few dates when he was wooing me, we never went out to eat or did anything else in public. When I asked him to go on a hike he politely declined, causing the love I felt for The Love of My Life to disintegrate and now about the only time I think of him is when a certain commercial comes on. The Catheter Guy looks just like him. After two years he still calls every few months but I never pick up.
Two years ago the guy I was dating was stuck on the Mighty Ohio in a snowstorm two hours away and I was driving home from work, trembling and forcing myself to keep going through the drifting snow. At the time we seemed perfectly matched but unfortunately he gradually drifted away. I’d like to see him again.
This anniversary of The Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre has been quiet, without the drama and disappointment of years past. I’m single but not heartbroken. Earlier in the day I helped the developmentally disabled with their indoor garden at my volunteer job, then came home and scoured the road, picking up aluminum cans. This is a dirty job to be sure, but it is environmentally friendly and the recycled cans generate money for a spay-neuter program. I’m currently cuddled on the couch with The Real Love of My Life, my sweet baboo beagle, and two cats watching Law and Order: Criminal Intent, eating malted milk balls, and wearing jeggings (showcasing my best feature) and a comfy turquoise shirt emblazoned “OVER IT.” Very apropos.