Peggy was that cute girl in class in the third grade whose decorated paper envelope hanging off the side of her desk, marked “Peggy” in red glitter and all my bitterness, was full of Valentine cards by the time the bell struck at recess. Jumping forward a few years, Peggy became that cute girl at the beach in a string bikini with all the surfers trying to catch the biggest wave while she looked on adoringly. At college, Peggy was that cute girl that … well, at college Peggy was actually just a whore. Moving into the mid-20s, Peggy was that cute girl that fell madly in love (probably with one of the surfers from her youth, where they met at their 10 year high school reunion). Peggy was then the cute girl who became a cute woman who then became a cute mother and … agh. Peggy is a whore. Go to Hell, Peggy. And take all your Valentine cards with you.
This is pretty much how I’ve felt about Valentine’s Day ever since the third grade. I was never without love, of course. My parents loved me. My friends loved me. But a candied heart with ‘KISS ME’ or ‘BE MINE’ just did not apply to them. Or to me for that matter. All the way from the third grade until I turned thirty years old, I never once celebrated Valentine’s Day (oh, except for that last-minute flight to New York with Anna and Ashley when we were 21 years old. Three bitter single college girls managed to sit in first class on a red-eye and polished off about 5 bottles of champagne before we even crossed over Colorado).
For the past few years I’ve always posted the Peggy is a Whore card on Facebook or in my Happy Valentine emails to friends. I gagged at the cheesy cards, and heart-shaped everythings, and wondered why is everything red when actually your heart is more like a blue color?
And then it happened. I started seeing hearts everywhere. It started a couple of years ago and has not ceased since. Heart shaped dog poo. Heart shaped cracks in the sidewalk. Heart shaped mountains. The list goes on, but in a way you cannot imagine. My discovery and consequential love for hearts has been an eerie but beautiful ride. In retrospect the I-see-hearts-everywhere phenomenon must have been the Universe telling me it was time to open my eyes and acknowledge hearts. First to see external hearts. Check! Then I started receiving hearts from friends, such as photographs of heart-shaped raw tuna in their skillet, or heart-shaped rocks brought all the way from Monterey to Barcelona. The Universe was telling me, okay, once you see and recognize them, they will come to you! And they did. People now tag me in photos whenever there is a heart in it. And it tingles my blue heart a strange shade of red. Slowly, painfully, I’ve become romantic against my will.
I do not find it a coincidence whatsoever that now the Universe has suddenly presented me with a real life beating heart. Perhaps it is a reward for not beating up Peggy. Or perhaps it was just time. This reward is not a photograph of a heart, as it’s 3D. I’m pretty sure it’s not a heart-shaped rock, because it breathes and holds my hand. And for the first time in thirty years, as I walk down the overcrowded bustling shopping street near to the date of February 14th, all I see are red hearts in the shop windows, and rather than wanting to throw up all over them, I stop and smile.
(This is so utterly disgusting. I can’t believe I am writing this.)
I don’t care if I receive a Valentine’s card this year. Peggy can have them all. Because there is just one beating, sweet candied heart out there that says ‘BE MINE’. And it’s only a quick bite (and bike ride) away.