In case you didn’t see it shared on Facebook here is my Valentine’s Day special edition piece in the Irish Examiners Feelgood. Yes himself features!
“Are you doing anything for Valentines?” I couldn’t count the number of times I was asked that question in the past week. As my answer is “no,” does that mean I am in a loveless relationship? Should I get rid of Himself now?
I can remember as a young teenager looking forward to Valentine’s Day. The giddy anticipation of whether I’d receive any cards, while secretly hoping for one from a certain young man I’d my eye on. When the cards arrived, it didn’t matter if he’d sent one as I’d pick my favourite and decide most definitely it was from him.
Time rolled by and I met my real Valentine. In the early years we shared many a romantic Valentine’s Day, filled with flowers and gifts…until we moved in together.
We were living in Australia. As Valentine’s day approached, for the first time ever, it didn’t feel as important as other years. I’d become quite cynical about the whole thing. Discussing it at work with a close friend, we decided it was a day created by Hallmark and we were fools for falling for it. We tut tutted as fellow workers told us their plans for gifts and meals out. At twenty-two we were opting out of the commercial circus.
As you can imagine, Himself was thrilled when I told him I was deadly serious. “Don’t even get me a card,” I warned. So he didn’t. All was well until I went into work the following day and my friend bounced towards me, bursting to share details of her romantic evening.
“What?” I spluttered. “I thought you told him to get you nothing.”
“I did, but he knew me better than to believe that.”
It’s a wonder I didn’t kill a patient that day as I fumed. By the time I went home I could barely speak. A card wouldn’t have killed him! Himself was more than a little confused by the frosty welcome and my change of mind.
“You warned me…not even a card!” he said.
I stomped and sulked for the evening as he wandered bewildered about the apartment. The following day I’d begun to lighten up when my ‘great’ friend appeared.
“Well did you kill him?” she said.
“I came close,” I admitted.
She threw back her head and laughed. My heart sank.
“You got nothing for Valentine’s Day, did you?” I asked.
“Not even a card,” she confessed, before losing her breath laughing.
I couldn’t believe I’d fallen for her lies. She laughed all day and even more so when I described yer mans face as I ranted about him not knowing me well enough. Returning home that evening I graciously told Himself he was forgiven, but I might have forgotten to tell him why.
The following year, possibly still traumatised, he decided to ignore my boycott. The evening before Valentines, armed with a large bouquet, he searched for a hiding place and somehow reasoned the downstairs bathroom would be somewhere I’d never go.
Unfortunately later that night while he was out I did go there only to find the door locked. Alone, late at night in an empty house with an unexplained locked door, my imagination ran riot. It must be an intruder! I raced next door for help. As my neighbour and I were tip toeing through the kitchen, Himself arrived home. We explained in whispers about the intruder.
“Happy Valentine’s Day.”
Since then we’ve shared many more Valentine’s Days and have agreed there is no need for cards or gifts. Although I do appreciate the single red rose an anonymous admirer sends me each year.