Valentine's Day is Not Friendly, Day 500ish
I sit in my bedroom alone, door closed, music on, picture of the heart with the lock and stone wall barrier hung securely on the wall in front of me. It’s the day before Valentine’s Day, but am I thinking about that? Heavens no! Well, maybe a little… being who I am and all. Whenever the thought creeps in though, I chase it right back out and read another quote about heartbreak, handwritten on my, locked up, heart crest.
“If she herself will not love, nothing can make her: The devil take her! -Sir John Suckling.”
“To say the truth, reason and love keep little company together now-a-days. –William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
From the hall outside comes a subtle knock and my Mom pokes her head in. She uses her careful, warning that someone unexpected is here, yet polite, aren’t we happy that they’ve come voice. “Amie, Ryan is here to see you.”
“Oh! Okay,” I say, jumping from my desk chair and fluffing my hair in the mirror.
My Mom swings the door wide and Ryan peers around the edge of the door frame.
“Hi,” he says.
“Hi!” I say.
I don’t know what he says after that, because what he’s holding in his left hand comes into view as he takes a step into my room. It’s a lovely arrangement of roses in a delicate glass vase! It’s beautiful. I’m stunned. I’m looking from the roses to his face. I try so very hard to focus on his words as they fall from his lips. Something about “I wanted to get these for you”, something about “Valentine’s Day”.
I must listen. I must take in what’s happening.
Wait! What’s my face doing? What is my visible reaction to this moment? I am a sophisticated young woman who’s had a genteel upbringing. I must not look as shocked as I feel. Well, maybe appropriately shocked. Just the sort of happy shock that communicates the fact that no boy has ever given me roses before, or anything as beautiful as these.
I must smile. I must gush.
As it turns out, roses inspire a genuine reaction in a young woman, whether she’s sophisticated or not. My genuine reaction is all gratitude, all smiles and gush. I am reverent as the vase passes from his hand to both of mine. I can feel my smile warm the whole room like when the sun comes full out from behind the clouds on a summer day. I push my nose into the nearest bloom and breath so deep that I swoon a little. Adjectives come easily: “beautiful”, “sweet”, “amazing”, “thoughtful”.
He seems pleased by my reaction. This might be twice as scary for him, come to think of it. How brave must a guy be to bring roses to a girl who has, outwardly, only been his friend? Let’s face it, roses are not friendly. Valentine’s Day is not friendly.
He pushes a card into my hand. I won’t read it in front of him. I can’t hold back this tide of emotion long enough to do that. All of my questions will flash across my face if I do.
He doesn’t seem to want to stick around long enough to watch me read the card anyway. We both manage some sort of cordial goodbye… with more expression of my thanks following him down the hall on his way out. I stand there in shock, clutching these tokens until I hear him walk out of my front door and close it behind him.
I fairly toss the vase onto the corner of the desk and plop down on my bed to pull open the flap of the lavender envelope. The card doesn’t say anything that roses gifted for Valentine’s Day don’t say all by themselves. Ryan has feelings for me. Feelings that go to a level other than friendship. A level, that he climbed up a sheer rock face to get to and then had me parachuted in. A level that we can’t get back down from now. The climb has been made. The roses have been purchased. The card has been signed. The gift has been delivered. The view is breath-taking, but the height is terrifying.
I start to cry. Lame, I know, but I’m a fifteen year old girl. Then I do another thing that fifteen year old girls do. I grab the phone and call one of my best friends.
“Tiff,” I sniff, “It’s Amie.” She might not be able to recognize my cry voice.
“Is everything okay?” she asks.
“I don’t know. I… I… Oh Tiff! Ryan just brought me roses!”
“What? You’re kidding me! Oh my gosh, I can’t believe that! Wait a minute. Why are you crying?”
“Because we’ve always agreed we were just friends! We haven’t always acted like it, but we’ve always agreed to it! We can never go back from this!”
“They’re roses. What’s to go back from?”
“What will happen now? Will we hug? Will we kiss? Will we break each others’ hearts?” I glance at the locked up heart picture on my wall. I envision the wall crumbling, leaving the heart vulnerable.
“How can I even have a conversation with him now? Already everything is becoming impossibly awkward! Tiff, I don’t know what I’m doing.”
“I could tell you, but you won’t believe it. You’re crying because someone gave you roses.”
I choke on my tears and laugh at the observation. Tiffany and I proceed to dissect and evaluate every minute detail as only 15 year old best friends can do.
In the end, it’s my parents that help me figure out what I should do. After all, his chess move has been made, and I’m left to take my time and study the board now. We decide I should reciprocate the Valentine’s Day gift giving. I make a giant heart shaped cookie, and endure another quick and stilted exchange at his front door. I walk down our street, toward home, feeling energized.
There now Ryan, it’s your turn again, and the queen is vulnerable. What’s your next move?
Author's Note: The pictures were taken this morning. I saved the card, of course, and also the heart with the wall around it. Does this surprise anyone??? :)