I was a college bound senior in high school and I fell like a dope in love. He was one of those anarchist punk types that roamed the halls of the school, a dream in steel toed Doc Martens and Japanime-wild hair. My mother screamed, my father tried to talk me out of it, but no use. Have you ever tried talking to a seventeen year old girl about how the boyfriend she loves more than weekends and snow days combined isn’t the best for her? Besides, I was hip-deep in anarchopunk bliss myself--I only occasionally surfaced into the mainstream.
We found ourselves in February. Naturally, I began looking forward to Valentine’s Day. I couldn’t wait for that traditional time when two young lovers could be together and celebrate their glorious relationship. Apparently nothing about my boyfriend’s stance or interests suggested to me that maybe February 14 was a date skipped on his calendar. Wow, was I naïve.
I stopped at a florist for a dozen red roses on my way to school that morning. I’d put on my PG-13 skin-tight bright red mini dress. Believe me, I was Valentine Incarnate. Or maybe I was Lust Incarnate. In high school, what’s the difference? All I knew was that I wanted to give the guy I loved the best Valentine’s Day of his life.
Now you might be thinking that I didn’t know this guy as well as I thought I did. That may be true. But I prefer to think I was a victim of relentless optimism
Anyway, I met my boyfriend at this locker and presented him with the roses. In turn, he glared at the roses and then glared at me. “What the hell is this for?”
I tried to think of what Mae West would have done at that moment. I batted my eyelashes at him. “They’re for Valentine’s Day,” I said. “After all, you are my sweetheart.”
He laughed so hard that reverberations from his mirth echoed up and down the crowded hallway. “Come off it,” he said as he fought to catch his breath. “This Valentine’s Day is an arbitrary holiday where card companies can make a fortune and droves of losers fall deeper into depression. I don’t pay it any attention. Why should you?” With that, he thrust the orphan roses back at me. “You’re smarter than this.”
Guess who I didn’t take to the prom?