subject line: this isn't a hallmark story

 

philly

Sometimes I tell people the story of how we met, and to this day, it still makes them laugh. I went to a house party full of strangers. The first time I saw you look at me, I thought, “Ah, crap. This guy is going to ask me out by the end of the night.” And you did. After you chugged two forties. I surprised myself by saying yes.

Valentine’s day was never a holiday I cared about. I had worked in the restaurant industry as a teen, and it absolutely ruined it for me. Every year I stay in and I cook and drink, no matter who I’m with.

Two years ago, it snowed. I walked around in the snow all day, and I was exhausted when I got home at night, but I was so excited to see you. I smeared makeup on my face, changed my outfit, and tamed my hair in the twenty minutes I had between getting home and seeing you. You gave me a bag of chocolates and talked to me about your favorite music. I told you jokes and kissed you. That was it. That was our whole night. Of all the people I have spent Valentine’s day with, that was the best one. That’s the one that puts life into that day for me.

Our time together was short-lived. I’m betting that in a couple years, someone is going to give me a better Valentine’s day. Someone is going to appreciate me in ways you failed to. There was always this part of me that felt like you were a lie. You were some guy I cared about because I was young and you were attractive. But two years later, I think enough time has passed for me to admit to myself, it wasn’t because I was young and impressionable that the ghost of you still haunts me every winter. In that short-lived time, you became the guy the other guys have to compete with. Not because you treated me particularly better than anyone else I’ve dated, but simply because I was crazy about you. I still think you’re an idiot. I’m not going to write you a thank you letter for the time we spent together because quite frankly, you don’t deserve it. I will give you a little bit of credit, though. Because now, when goofy guys I wouldn’t have thought twice about dating before ask me to go on a date, I say yes. And I give them a second date. And I give them a third. Because that is how long it took before you became more than just the guy who chugged two forties before asking me out.