Make Me Smile With My Heart

There came a point when Valentine’s Day just provoked a weary cynicism in me.

At the time, I justified it to myself with the usual excuses, whether it was that love shouldn’t be celebrated just one day a year but all of them, or that it was a fake holiday created to sell cards and chocolates — which may be true, but at the same time, what’s wrong with that if it gives some people something to smile about…? The truth of the matter was, I suspect, more likely to be that I knew on some level that I was in a relationship that I didn’t want to be in, and one that I didn’t want to celebrate.

To be fair, it wasn’t as if I’d had the greatest history with Valentine’s Day as a whole; I’d spend them in turmoil when I was a kid, secretly hoping to get one from a secret admirer just so’s it would mean that I had a secret admirer, and then try and play it cool when that never happened. I honestly can’t remember if I ever sent any cards in high school; I had a million crushes at any particular moment, but I suspect that I didn’t send anything in the fear that my secret be figured out and I’d have to be rejected in person.

(I had a somewhat lonely childhood, in retrospect.)

I was, then, primed to distrust Valentine’s as a holiday, with that distrust and disbelief growing as my marriage atrophied around me. It became easier to half-ass even making a nod to it — dinners postponed because of work (on her part; she’d like to work into the night, often, hiding in her office or behind her laptop), plans never fulfilled. After all, what was the point…?

A few weeks ago, I got an invite to a thing for work that was genuinely exciting but would’ve meant that I would be out of town on Valentine’s Day, and I knew I had to decline, purely because the idea of not being with Chloe on that day felt so wrong. I’m writing this a week ahead of the actual day, and we don’t have any set plans yet, but it’ll be enough for me — it’ll feel right, again, using such vague, emotional terms — to just be with her on the day this year. My cynicism is thawing, and I’m ready to become a believer again.

It feels nice. Happy Valentine’s Day.

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