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  • Writer's pictureThe Human Book Collection

Valentine's Day: It's Complicated

7:56am, Feb 14. Main Street. Two strangers--two neighbours, in fact--are getting ready for their days.

Valentine’s Day has never been my favourite holiday, I thought, as I looked at my cold, frostbitten, and--surprise, surprise--empty hands. The only gift I received this morning was a whole lot of snow to shovel. I turned my hands over and looked at all the random reminders I scribbled on my palms. “Water the plant mom gave you,” one read, in my characteristic chicken scratch.

These need water, I thought, as I examined the crimson petals carefully, each stemming from the green neck with grace yet delicacy. I turned over the letter, now emanating with rosy fragrance, and pulled gently on the fold. “Have a great day, love.” It reads, signed by a clumsy attempt at calligraphy.

I grab my textbook from beside me and clutch it to my chest. I’m in a committed relationship with school, I tell myself. I don’t have time for Valentine’s festivities, much less another person.

I brought the roses close to my chest, imagining the side of his palm swiping swiftly against the page, and breathed in. This came all the way from Vancouver, I thought.

Valentine’s is just another normal day for me; wake up for another horrid 8:30 and hope my prof doesn’t notice me nodding off, spend two hours staring at a beaker and pray for some chemistry to somehow occur, and slave over that essay I should’ve started weeks ago. 8:00am, and I already dreaded getting back to the house with all my friends and assuming my eternal role as a 7th wheel.

Then as quickly as the warmth came, it dissipated, and I was once again left with a stack of notes and three imminent midterms. 8:00 am, snow was starting to melt, but across the country, the sun lay comfortably, waiting for its turn to rise. It would take a large order of coffee, two lectures, and three phone calls before he wakes up, ready to begin his day.

With a heavy sigh, I pulled out my phone and began to scroll through my emails to see if my shipping order was placed for the clothes I accidentally bought during a bout of frustration earlier this week that made my grave of student debt another couple hundred deeper. No one else to buy for except me, but I should probably make sure it doesn’t happen again anyways.

He would be expecting a package in the mailbox, in the afternoon if not the morning, with an affectionate note attached to its side. But I already knew, being the one responsible, that his gift wouldn’t arrive for another three days, by which time it wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day anymore. I refreshed the tracking service page nervously. Mississauga.

I turned off my phone and thought for a moment. Perhaps I would give the bank a call and set a limit to my credit card. Perhaps that’d work.

I silenced my phone and turned to the test I was to write at the end of the day. Perhaps I would give him a call. Perhaps that’d be enough.

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