Valentine's Day Memories

I received my first Valentine’s Day card at the age of 14.

I took it to school and showed it to my friends.

They were less than impressed.

It was a cheap card with a couple of masterfully anonymised words written on the inside, ‘Be mine.’

“Who do you think it’s from?’ one friend asked.

I shrugged my shoulders and walked away with an insouciant air, but inside my chest my heart was thudding, like a bird flapping its wings inside a locked cage, it was going nowhere, it certainly had no home in a mysterious admirer.

I had bought the card myself with money stolen from mum’s purse, written on it with my left hand, and sent it to myself.

I look back at the girl that was me with so much compassion now. For many years I hated her: she was awkward, quirky, and so God damned alone.

The first time she heard the words ‘I love you’ would be two years later when her then boyfriend was trying to undo her bra straps. She had no concept of love: it was mumbled in her ear by a succession of hormonally charged young men.

This year I will send her a Valentine’s card: it will tell her how worthy of love she was. It will tell her she is perfect, that all the fucked up messages of love she was about to encounter were leading her to her heart’s true home:

Herself.

She knows it now.
‘Dearest girl you are perfect.
I love you.
Be Mine.’ XoXoXo