I had really wanted to write a collection of Valentine’s Day story, but there was one big problem: I really can’t remember most of the Valentine’s Days that I’ve celebrated. I mean, I can remember the guys that I’ve spent them with, and I remember exchanging gifts with the Fiance on ours (I had gotten him a tie from Hermes, his present was, well, private)

Only one Valentine was shockingly clear to me: my very first Valentine.

In fourth grade, I was a scrawny tomboy who hadn’t even had an inkling towards relationships. My friends, on the other hand, were well into the crushes and the notes, and even some into mascara (side note: you can guess at where those girls are now). I’m one of the few that still has my first note from a boy- at first I’d kept it because of its meaning, now I keep it because of the humor. The boy, Harry, had written one of the typical box notes:

                         do you like me? check one
                                  [ ] yes
                                  [ ] no
                                  [ ] i feel awk

Ok, not so typical. It should be noted that the phrase “awk” was popular in our grade at this point- a substitute teach fresh out of college had used it once and it caught on quickly. I obviously didn’t send it back; instead I kept it. More than likely I kept it because, as a usual troublemaker, the teacher had hawk-eyes on me.

In a rather serious manner, Harry approached me during some break in lessons and asked me to meet him in the back of the classroom. He held my hand- I was embarrassed knowing that my friends were watching- and asked me to be his date for Valentine’s Day. And then he kissed me on the cheek! This was my first brush with romance, so of course I had to relay every single word to my closest friends.

And, being middle school, of course there was a giant sleepover the next night for another friend’s birthday. She lived three houses down from Harry, and my friends deviously started planning a midnight meeting (in fourth grade! I can hardly imagine what kids are doing these days!) And then the heart-breaker came.

“Take Lexi with you! And Colleen! They’re his Valentines too,” one of the girls chirped.  I was crushed- how was I to know that my first Valentine had a polygamist outlook? He called me that weekend (my first phone call from a boy that was anything other than a friend!) and I refused to answer it. But I made him a card anyway, and I remember drawing baseball bats and soccer balls on it.

Valentine’s Day that year was a heartbreak- he’d gotten the three of us matching teddy bears and chocolates, with each of our cards signed “Love, Harry”. I’m fairly sure I hated him then, especially when he started dating Colleen the next day (and probably Lexi the next week).

So enough of miserable Valentine’s days. I hope all of you have a wonderful, non-polygamous (unless you prefer that) day with your loved ones.

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