I was 12 years old when I received my first Valentine’s Day gift from my crush. It was the Hallmark crap of a sixth grader’s dreams—a plush, white stuffed bear holding an embroidered sign that read, “I Love You” with a giant Ghirardelli heart-shaped box—from the cutest, curly-haired boy in the grade. Nothing reads Be Mine like caramel chocolates.
This is it, I thought. He’s mine and I’m his. That is, until news broke that He Who Must Not Be Named gifted the same thing to a girl in the grade above. That day in the sixth grade proved two things: Valentine’s Day was nothing but empty words and, sooner-or-later, the chocolate will run out.
That first “love” came with unforeseen conditions. I love you…but I love her, too. I love you…but only if you love me back first. Like a dodgy Valentine’s cutout card, I was left to glue myself back together.
So forgive me when I say I’m dreading my first real Valentine’s Day.