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.
In return for each of the gifts I received, I gave presents that I thought showed how much I liked my cute boyfriend. I gave him a baseball and mini Padres bat (ironic that on my first Valentine’s Day heartbreak, that I would give something from a team that breaks my heart each year) and then I bought him bags of Big League Chew so he could have all the gum he needed. On the day before Valentine’s Day we sat in a tree near our school and talked about all of the things we were going to do when we got older. I don’t remember most of it, but I do know that we were going to live someplace even more beautiful than San Diego and we were going to be famous.
And then it happened. On our walk to school the next morning my chatter was met with silence. The silence continued until we got out of school that day and then on our walk home I got the news: My boyfriend was breaking up with me.
See, he had gone home after our date in the tree and realized that we wanted different things. He didn’t want to leave San Diego when he got older and he wasn’t sure he wanted to be famous or just rich. It all sounds sort of silly now, but at ten it was very important. It was big.
And that began a long history of me and St. Valentine not being the best of friends. I don’t hate Valentine’s Day, no, not at all. I love that people love this day so much. I always get A something today to remind her that she is my most favorite person in the world.
And this year, I decided to release a book – my first – on Valentine’s Day because for a woman who has had a lot of love and a lot of heartbreak, I thought it was inspired to do something just for me today.
Happy Valentine’s Day to all you lovers out there.