a Valentine’s Day story
Every Valentine’s Day I can’t help but think about the one that I let get away.
How did I let her get away?
I’m so glad you asked.
She was always complaining that I never put any thought into my gifts so for Valentine’s Day one year I went the extra mile. At first she thought it was just another necklace and made the face she always did when she was disappointed.
“Wait!” I exclaimed, lest she drive out of sight. “The charm has a special message for you.”
She examined it closely.
“I don’t see anything” she said, the disappointed face quickly gathering back on her face like so many storm clouds.
“It’s a special charm” I began, “You have to hold it up to a wall and shine a light through it.”
A ray of sunshine broke through on her face and she quickly walked over to the kitchen wall and fumbled on top of the fridge for the flashlight we kept there. There was a brief delay as she unsuccessfully scoured our battery basket to find the right size. She whirled and scowled at me, apparently I had broken the sacred covenant about replacing batteries when we had taken the last ones. She crashed around the house until she found what she needed in the TV remote. The way she removed them made it clear that she would have much rather have been removing them from a twitching Duracell Bunny.
“Like this?” she asked as she fumbled to get the light to shine through it at the correct angle.
“No. You’re too close. Back up a bit.”
Dutifully she took a few steps back and resumed fumbling with the flashlight. Eventually she started to see that there were in fact tiny letters making themselves known on the wall. She reminded me of Ralphie trying to decode the secret message from Little Orphan Annie in A Christmas Story. In retrospect she should have been much more Gandalf from Lord of the Rings throwing the ring into the fire to see the secret message that was only revealed with fire.
“What are you on about Manion?” I can hear you saying to yourself.
Have a little faith in my cultural reference would you?
She pulled the flashlight up and back and pulled the charm to the left and the right and eventually she could see that there was a sentence. The suspense was building. Her hands trembled ever so slightly, making the words hard to read. Eventually she took a long breath to calm down. She looked over to me and smiled.
She turned and looked at the wall and there they were. The heartfelt words that summed up that particular Valentine’s Day.
I WANT TO BREAK UP.
So you can see why I get a bit sentimental every February 14th.