Valentine’s Day (Feb. 2005)

I’ve been fortunate enough to have lots of memorable Valentine’s Day celebrations. The earliest was when I was in the seventh grade. My boyfriend, Nathan, was staying with his friend David for a while, so I invited both boys to my house and my mom cooked spaghetti. We had a fabulous time with lots of laughs. At the end of seventh grade, Nathan moved to The Woodlands, and unfortunately I have no idea what happened to him.

Middle school romances don’t usually last that long, so the next year I celebrated with Ryan. He came with me to my choir’s Valentine’s Day fundraiser, where I wore all red and sang right to him. He took me to an Italian restaurant, La Mora, and afterward gave me a single silk rose- with an inscription that said, “the day this rose fades is the day I’ll stop loving you.” It was deeply moving for eighth grade love, and sometimes I still wonder what life would have been like if we’d been one of those nauseating couples that met their soulmate in the eighth grade. The best part is that Ryan and I are still a part of each other’s lives, cracking each other up by e-mail when we’re both equally bored.

Kathleen showed up at my dorm room wearing a beautiful blue dress and carrying a dozen roses. Back then, I didn’t have a car, so she drove me back to her house, where she had cooked a magnificient meal and we laughed about how much trouble she’d gone to in order to pick out a good red wine. Being newly 21, neither one of us knew that much about it, but she’d wanted it to be perfect… but she didn’t have to worry. It was.

Matt and I started dating about a month before Valentine’s Day, so I was nervous about what to do for him. As it turned out, a friend gave us tickets to Tales of Hoffmann, so we went to dinner and to the opera. It was perfect without going overboard.

Last year was funny and memorable… I’d bought my then-girlfriend one of those cheesy get-to-know-you type games and we took it with us to Edgefield. Now, before this story really gets started, you must know that she is one of the most competitive people I’ve ever met in my life. Not only did she want to win, she wanted to WIN BY A LOT. So she spins and the card says, “Count the number of dots you rolled and give that many sweet treats to the person on your right.” We were in a hotel room and all the restaurants were closed. She was going to have to make due, and I knew she was screwed. Though not particularly competitive, I was enjoying the fact that there was NO WAY she was going to work her way out of this one. She’d rolled a three.

She took a piece of chocolate out of the box I’d brought and dug out some of the filling with her finger (in my family, we call that a rectal exam). One down, two to go. There was a Diet Pepsi sitting on the dresser. She gave me a sip. Then things got dire. There seemed to be nothing else. “Well,” she said. “Let me dig through my purse. There’s gotta be SOMETHING in there!” She starts rifling around and I start to taste victory. I am just about to set up for the ticker tape parade when I hear an “A-HA!”

It was a mini Tootsie Pop. Checkmate.

This year, I’m looking forward to flirting with lots of people and hearing stories from my friends about how their Valentine’s Day was spent- so make it memorable!

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