Years ago now (thank god!) I was dating a man who was the best worst boyfriend I ever had. He was handsome, smart, talented, and MEAN. One Valentine's day, he completely failed to give me any kind of special love: no card, no gift, no thoughtful meal, no nothing. As I sat with him at the kitchen table after giving him a card with lightning bolts raining down on a Southwestern landscape (I thought it was a symbol of our electrical chemistry; it might as well have been the harbinger of our going up in smoke), he droned on about what a lame holiday it was, how it was a holiday crafted by Hallmark, that whole nine-yard cliché.
I mean who the hell cares if it's a holiday created by a card company? It's still an opportunity to let your loved one know you love him or her. You don't have to buy a hallmark card to do so. And furthermore, I don't even think the Hallmark part rings true; it's just an excuse for lovers who don't really love. It's an excuse for haters.
So I'm sitting in our kitchen, crying because I've tried to make the day somewhat special -- the card, the special meal -- and he hasn't even bothered to say "Happy Valentine's Day" and give me a kiss, and I think to myself, "this is the last straw. This guy is SHIT;" still, it takes another five months for me to extricate myself from his cheating heart. And I'm crying hard because I feel his cold heart growing colder. So I drive, snot streaming down my face, to Fiesta -- the supermarket around the corner. I'm getting a bottle of wine in which to drown my sorrow. In the checkout line, I can't even look at the checker because my eyes are buried underneath my swollen eye sockets. I can only stare down at the check-writing platform and wait for my transaction to be over. Tears fall from my face to the platform, despite my best efforts to keep them in.
Suddenly, a red rose appears in my peripheral vision. I suck my snot back into my nose and look up to see the store manager extending a long stem red rose toward me. "Happy Valentine's Day," he says. He hands me the rose. "For you."
I break into a sob so pitiful three checkout lanes stop their transactions to stare at me.
I tried to thank the manager, but my heart broke so loudly I couldn't muster any words. I left the store, hyperventilating, holding the rose, completely wrecked by the fact that I'd received more kindness from a stranger than I did from my own so-called boyfriend.
Best Worst Valentine's Day EVER.