Valentine’s Day. 1982. I was ten years old and had my first boyfriend. What does it mean to have a boyfriend at ten? It means all sorts of fantastic things like having someone to walk to school with in the morning and playing tag and picking blackberries from a tree near your apartment and bike rides and sharing snow cones.
In the days leading up to Valentine’s Day of that year, my boyfriend, the great love that he was to me, bought me presents each morning before we walked to school. One day it was a Pee Che folder and the next morning it was Hello Kitty erasers. A day later it was a bag filled with little Mexican candies that we ate on the walk back home from school that afternoon. And on the day before Cupid would make his arrival in our little National City apartment complex, it was a pink bracelet with a charm on it that looked like a deer.