Valentines Day, feared and revered by us all in some way or another. Some (the lonely ones) brush it off as a money making scheme invented by “evil” corporations, others delve into ice cream, movies, beer and the like until it’s all over. A lucky few revel in the beauty of knowing that the one they’re holding is as close to perfect as the idea of a day that celebrates love. Always one to look back in order to see forward I reminisce. 24 years of this day of love changing, thrilling, hurting.
My first memories of Valentines Day, are probably some of the most precious in hindsight. Making little cards and heart shaped cookies for my parents, celebrating that priceless family love that becomes so quickly forgotten in the teenage years when young love and angst take over, until after being emotionally battered enough you return to that family for solace and recovery!
I was blessed that my first love was as intoxicated with me as I was with him. I was fourteen and we made each other clay hearts painted red, one said “forever” the other “together.” We walked the beach at midnight, dipped our feet in the moonlit water, drank a sneaky bottle of white wine and felt all grown up. I broke his heart two years later, out grew the weekend teenage romance of lazy Sundays, making mix tapes and gazing at each other for hours on end. I needed something more..
My second whirlwind romance was another intense character, emotionally distant and yet still all consuming. We danced around the idea of our love for a summer of parties and longing gazes across crowded beer gardens and music festivals. Too shy to communicate we almost let it pass, but on the last night as I sat closely to another he exploded in a passionate expression of angry love that lasted a year. A long distance love with phone calls that lasted all night, absence drove us insane and the few hours we could grasp together we’re never enough. Constant craving killed that short happiness.
Third time round I was a young woman, eighteen and green out of school with my first “grown up” job in a law firm. He came on the first Friday of every month and so wrapped up in the failure of my last relationship I didn’t notice until he proposed a date. Shocked and reluctant I met him for a lavish valentines date that lasted 12 hours. Coffee and a chat in a cute cafe, dinner in the Wicklow mountains, a stroll around the park, drinks and dancing, meeting the friends, an hour drive to drop me home. He didn’t leave my side again for two years. We spent every minute in each other’s pockets, moved in together after three months, took beautiful holidays, found our own apartment in a picturesque setting, settled too soon in to a life of home cooked meals and lonely routine.
A career man, his focus left me as quickly as it had come and his next money making scheme was always the one that would secure us. The schemes came with long hours, new women and a taste of high life, of lust. He forgot. Remembering far too late what we had.
A year of recovery followed (or should I say attempted recovery) the cuts run so deep. Distraught I found myself in all the wrong places for love, clubs and college parties, dancing until I was dizzy, burying myself in a friendship that saved and took me over, my first close girl friend. I’d always been a girlfriend, never available for friendship. We felt on top of the world for a while, no one could reach our safe haven.. But that hope for love always finds its way in, and it did. We met the worst of the worst, liars and cheats, all the things I had stood so strongly against as a young idealist but somehow became wrapped up in. Funny, it was at this time that I had one of my supposedly most “perfect” valentines experiences. Long stalk roses, a house filled with candles, teddies and old movies and another girlfriend I never knew of. The deceit nearly killed me.
Slowly but surely I pulled myself from the seductive downward spiral of clubs and escapism with the unbeknownst help of a beautiful man, who through all my distress and mess saw who I used to be. He stayed by my side silently strong, through too much for most to handle, and gentle but firm showed me the grace of a gentleman. I fought for eight months but my feelings for him were too strong to ignore and eventually I gave in.
Our first Valentines Day was to become one of my most treasured memories. Cuddled and cosy in his apartment, I presented him with a basket of cutesy gifts (with the Fifa game he really wanted hidden under all the love stuff!) and he gave me a white wrapped box containing a Paul Costello vintage look necklace. Delicate and old fashioned, sparkly but sweet… he got me. There was no teenage fantasy, no abashed pretence, no secrets or lies, just pure, gentle, true love.
Miss Nova ★ ☆