The first gift I ever received from a boy was on Valentine's Day. He was a classmate of mine and approached me after school. As he crossed the courtyard, I noticed that he carried a pink briefcase. And he kept getting closer. I panicked. My cheeks flushed from the winter wind and sudden anxiety. I didn't like him. He was pudgy; his face reminded me of a pug.
"Here," he said shyly as he handed me the pink briefcase.
I froze. His hand still extended, I fought back tears. Pug Face shuffled his feet and opened the briefcase. And I ran. I saw Mami coming toward us and I fell into her arms. That's the last time a boy gave me a Valentine in middle school.
This year on Valentine's Day I'll wish for that pink briefcase, which just so happened to carry a Barbie doll inside. I don't need toys but it's the thought that counts. And I don't have a Valentine. While most women in the world will receive flowers, chocolates, and lingerie, I will be sitting at a bar with my sister and her single friend. I will also spend the afternoon with my three-year-old niece, Nila.
My sister and her daughter are coming to visit and I have no plans. No date. No romantic interest. Spending Valentine's Day with my sister and my precious niece is better than spending it alone, or with a man who doesn't really love me. Last year, I spent Valentine's Day weekend with my now ex in Las Vegas. He brought me lilies (my favorite) and hazelnut chocolate (another favorite). I loved the time we spent together. But I later discovered that he was pretending. He wasn't all in…to me, to us. So unlike Pug Face.
Yet I am not saddened this year. Those somber days are over. Instead of wallowing in my single status on Cupid's day, I will cuddle up with Nila and watch a marathon of Max and Ruby (her favorite) before braving the NYC snow and winter with my sister and her single friend. I will buy Nila M&M's (another favorite). And maybe I'll even buy her a Barbie doll in a pink briefcase.