It’s February fourteenth again, Valentine’s Day. Did anyone hear that noise? That was the sound of me cramming all the hideous Valentine stuffed animals in the garbage disposal. Just a moment while I get this last gorilla singing Wild Thing jammed in there, good and snug. I wouldn’t want that to be the one that survives. Wait! I nearly forgot. Thank you for your service to me! Ah, that’s better. Just like Marie Kondo says, “If it doesn’t bring you joy- shred it.” Okay, perhaps those aren’t her words exactly. Close enough.
As a romance author, you might assume that I love Valentine’s Day. Wrongo. I’m a cynic. Yeah, I know; how can I be a cynic and write love stories? I haven’t a clue. But, I will bawl with the best of them if I watch The Bridges of Madison County. And if anybody has something derogatory to say about Wuthering Heights, I will slap them - twice. But don’t come to me asking for Valentine’s advice. You will be sorely disappointed when all you get is “Go away, you bug me,” and I peg you in the forehead with a coconut bonbon. I hate coconut, so it’s the only chocolate I’ll willingly part with.
The one Valentine’s Day present I’ve kept for nearly thirty years now is a music box. It’s heart-shaped, porcelain, with a gold plaque in the center where my name is engraved alongside a rose. A boyfriend in high school gave it to me. It was special then. Young love or some garbage like that. Of course, he only worked part-time as a high school student and wasn’t exactly rolling in dough. But he bought that music box just for me with heaven knows how many days’ worth of his paycheck. He did it because he loved and adored me and wanted me to know it. Oh, and let’s not forget the song it plays- Love Story.
If my husband gave me the exact same present today, I would scrunch my nose and roll my eyes- in that order. With age comes cynicism, and I have it in abundance. You may surmise that I wasn’t loved as a child, had rotten boyfriends, or had a worthless husband. None could be further from the truth. I’m just sick to death of pointless romance. That sort of love only exists in the young and foolish at heart or on the page of a book, and that’s a good thing because it could never survive in the real world.
That music box was a lovely present. But most of us don’t get those thoughtful gifts, do we? Instead, we are given the gifts that say, “I was standing in line at the grocery store, spotted this thing, and was reminded it’s Valentine’s Day. So, here.” Gee, truer love was never known, you think to yourself blandly as an ugly, stuffed trout wiggles in your hands singing Fishing In the Dark. And what do you have to do when you get these lousy, unthoughtful, hideous gifts? Paste on your widest smile and say, “Thank you! I will treasure this… until tomorrow when you aren’t home, and I can incinerate it.”
Diamonds? Okay, you got me there. I’ll accept a diamond tennis bracelet any day of the year. Love or not! If it makes you feel better, I’ll lie through my teeth and say I love you as you’re putting it on my wrist. After that, all bets are off. Possession is 9/10 of the law. Those diamonds are now mine. Handwritten poems and love letters? That’s nonsense and should only be done by a child for their parents. Most of us are not the poets we’d like to think we are, and the words “My cuddly wuddley boogeley bear” do not rhyme with any word an adult wants to read.
So, if all that is pointless romance, what is the acceptable kind? Vacuuming, dusting, doing the grocery run, when I have a headache, turn the TV off and watch your big game in another room that you’ve already seen twenty-seven times. But, before you do that, make me a cup of tea and get me my favorite blanket. Oh, and don’t forget to close the door on your way out.
There are more ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day than the typical card and lousy stuffed gorilla. That cake in the picture is one that I made for a charity auction to raise funds for a baby that needs heart surgery. There aren’t many things in this world sadder than a dying innocent baby. I’ve never met this child, but that doesn’t matter. Love comes in many forms. This time it came in the form of a salted caramel Water Lilies cake.
So, even if you don’t have a date for Valentine’s Day, you can still celebrate by showing some love to your neighbor and maybe making someone’s life a little brighter in the process.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Escape is available on Amazon, and everywhere books are sold. The ebook and audiobook are both on sale now for $1.99 for a limited time. (The audiobook is discounted on every site except Audible.)