In honor of the holiday, a story meant for those of us without a “standard” Valentine’s day to enjoy.
Chocolates On Valentine’s Day
She broke my heart earlier today, with a soft push to get past me, and a look of severe discomfort. This woman, the one I looked at for so long, the first person to ever let me have the strength to be this brave, shattered me.
The way only a person I care for can.
“The worst she can do is say ‘no.’”
Wrong, wrong, wrong. WRONG. She can do a lot more than that to me. Just by my own human weakness she can crush my little heart with just a look.
“Well she wasn’t the one then.”
I wasn’t looking for “the one”. I’ll admit it was more primal than that. So much more basic. Chasing away loneliness, not some quest for someone to grow old with.
“Don’t worry. You’ll find her.”
How do you find her without looking? How come you are so goddamn calm? Atheism is at an all-time high you know, so most of you probably believe in one life, one degrading soul, and you find it frivolous or acceptable to wait for something like that? To not chase with every iota of your being?
I don’t understand you at all.
“I’m fine being single. I like all the ‘me’ time.”
The speaker of the newest words proceeds to walk away from me now. Wearing the same pink shirt as all the others, and I sit down with a huff. My coffee at my table still leaving a trail of smoke and heat.
I take a sip of it, and lean my head back against the couch.
“Are you okay now, Eustace? Done making such a fuss?”
My friend, wearing a pink shirt as well, picks up a plaster mug and takes a long caffeine clogged gulp. I can hear his metal ring clinking against the side.
“I just don’t understand why they think they can just lie like this.”
He sweeps back his hair with his hands and gives me a long look. He squints at me and shakes his head.
“Why do you assume it’s a lie?”
“Because it clearly is. They just wander back and forth and mouth off to me if I even try to get some advice out of them.”
“Did you expect something else?” He jerks his arm back and splashes the nearest woman with scalding hot coffee. She keeps shambling along. “Why would you want their advice in the first place?”
“Because they seem happy. Or at least unburdened by singleness. But all they give me is nothing but platitudes.”
He leans forward and scoops away my drink, dropping in a few pieces of chocolate from the ornate bowl in the center of the table. “Of course they seem happy. They’re the ‘Fulfilled,’ they don’t have any wants anymore. Look in their eyes sometime, they look like they’re literally high.”
“I know; I guess I know that. But, they seem so happy, and after blowing it big time with Karen, I thought they might have something worth telling me.”
I stick out my foot and trip a little kid. He falls forward on the bridge of his nose. He’s completely unharmed when he stands up. He looks at me and smiles, before wandering back into the crowded coffee shop.
My friend chuckles at the sight before turning his attention back to me.
“Look, I know how much it can hurt. Before I found Heather it was hell on me too. But, like those guys say, you will find someone for you. It just might not be on Valentine’s Day.”
I feel my shoulders slump. They’re sore from me holding them up for such a long day. “I just want…don’t you just wish…? But what if no one I’m compatible with ever comes along?”
“Then I suppose you’ll try harder. Search for them yourself. Stop being so passive.”
He gestures around the room at the people with the genuine smiles, who bump into each other with each step. Who hug each other without embarrassment or irony.
“Or you could, if you really feel that way, go ask the aliens to do the surgery. It is free.”
I pick up a chocolate piece—already melting on my fingers—and pop it into my mouth. It leaves a warmth in my stomach.
“No. I don’t want to do that. I see what my parents are like every time I come over. It’s…it’s not for me. But that still leaves me with the same problem. And I’m going to feel pain until I solve it. Regret until there’s not something to be regretful about….”
My friend leans his head forward unto his hands. He gives me a frown that slowly turns into some sort of smile. “If you’ll let me have one more platitude Eustace: welcome to the human race. The few of us left are glad to have you.”
Special thanks to: Bob Gerkin, Collin Pearman, Dylan Alexander, Jerry Banfield, Michael The Comic Nerd, Pulsatilla Pratensis, and Thomas J. West.
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