When I was young, Valentine's day was a lovely thing. We got to make mail boxes and hand out and receive cards. In fact often you got the afternoon off from lessons as the giving and receiving took many hours. I was in French immersion as a child, which meant that the cards were also in French. How cool is that? In the mornings my parents would have prepared a card (with a lovely funny poem by my dad on the inside) and some amazingly large chocolate something, like a heart! I looked forward to Valentine's day as eagerly as any commercial holiday.
Even when going through puberty I enjoyed giving cards to my friends. And of course there was the chocolate involved. But then something happened. Something changed.
What happened was this: the dreaded flower/chocolate O' gram. The candy or flowers that you could send in the school anonymously to someone you fancied. I hate to confess it, but secretly every year I would hope that this time round someone would send me one. One year in fact my friends and I were so fed up with not getting flowers, that we each drew a name from a hat to buy one for that person in our little group. My person forgot.
Yes that is where Valentine's day suddenly went wrong. You see, despite my cynicism,I have always secretly wanted an admirer. In the long run I know it is not practical. Someone who lacks the courage to face me in person is probably not going to fair too well with me. But it always seemed like a very fun thing to get those flowers. And also, I mean, really, how darn predictable was it that the popular girls would walk down the halls with bushels of them in their arms? It seemed to lack creativity. "What's that you say? You've bought the prettiest girl in school a flower? My god, why has no one thought of doing that before?!"
Don't get me wrong, as the years progressed and I came into myself in high school, eventually my friends and I would send each other tokens (and remembered this time). And really any day that celebrates chocolate is just fine with me. Still the day remains bitter sweet for me.
And yes it's partly due to the fact that one is bombarded with articles saying how miserable I should be being single, and how to cope in my misery. And yes I longingly look at happy couples walking together, really any day of the week, but I do notice more today as one is wont to do. But I think this O'gram thing has scarred me above any of those.
I think, like Pavlov's dog, when Valentine's day rolls around, without even trying, I automatically hope to receive something from someone oh so anonymously. To feel that wonderful ego boost. To know that someone out there without you knowing it, is thinking about you. To, for the briefest second, have that surge of adrenaline, that can only be achieved by either a cheap carnation or a nicely wrapped trio of Hershey's Kisses.