Morning Coffee | The Ghost of Valentines Past
Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!
Er, I feel I have to acknowledge the date on the calendar, even although this year Terry and I are postponing the Valentine’s celebrations until next week. It’s not that we have anything against the day itself, I hasten to add: I’m not one of those people who like to get all high-and-mighty about how you “don’t need a special day to show your love!”, or anything like that. And, I mean, it’s true that you don’t need a special day, obviously, but it’s also true that any excuse for champagne and a nice meal is a good excuse as far as I’m concerned, and if it happens to come courtesy of a Hallmark holiday, well, so be it.
No, we’re postponing Valentine’s day purely because we didn’t get our act together in time to book something for tonight, and as we’ve never really attached huge significance to February 14th, anyway, we weren’t all that bothered about it. We’ll try to arrange something for next week, instead, but I’m not ruling out the champagne for tonight. I never rule out champagne…
Anyway, as the week has been another uneventful one, I thought it might be fun to stick with the Valentine’s theme for this post, and take a look back at some of those old journals I’ve been keeping since I was ten years old, to see what I had to say about Valentine’s day in the past. I imagined the diary entries from my younger self would provide a hilarious dose of teenage angst (because nothing says “Valentine’s Day” quite like the relentless misery of a 15-year-old who didn’t get any cards, is there?), and maybe even a few random acts of stupidity, for good measure.
As it turns out, though, in all of those many years of journalling, I actually only wrote about Valentine’s day a couple of times. One of those times was during the epic bout of self-loathing that lasted from my early teens until well into my 20s, and it was honestly SO full of angst (and yes, self-loathing: how novel!) that it was too painful for me to even read it all, let alone want to reproduce it here. I mean, SERIOUSLY. I wouldn’t be a teenage girl again, even if you paid me in solid gold shoes, or calorie-free Creme Eggs. Best years of your life, my ass.
The other diary entry was this one, from when I was 14 years old:
“Valentine’s day, and the postie didn’t bring anything for me. X [my best friend at the time] didn’t get anything either, so it wasn’t too bad. [Because yay! Thank goodness my friend didn’t get a card! That would have REALLY sucked!] Wednesday is our school’s half day, so when I got home I checked the letterbox and there was a pink envelope their [sic] with ‘Miss Amber Louise McNaught’ on the front with no stamp or postmark. It was a Valentine’s card with no signature, handwritten verses or anything, it just said “Annon” . I’m sure it was my Grandad who sent it, either that or my parents, the writing is mature. I only wish, though…”
OK, so although “mature writing” sounds dodgy as hell, I’m pretty sure it would’ve said ‘Anon’ (Unless ‘Annon’ is someone’s name, and I’ve been wrong about this all these years…), and the spelling and grammar in this entry makes me cringe, I do remember this card, and in many ways this was the best Valentine’s card I ever got.
The thing is, I didn’t just suspect the card was from my grandad: I was 100% sure it was. The (mature!) handwriting was definitely his, he was one of the few people in the world who would address me as “Miss Amber Louise McNaught”, and, well, it was exactly the kind of thing he would do. I knew this at the time, and I remember (although apparently didn’t bother recording) that it almost made me cry to think of him going and buying it, and then driving round to the house while I was at school to post it, just so I’d know someone loved me. I was so stupid, of course, that I wished the card was from that boy I liked from school, but now I’m glad it was from my grandad – I only wish I had told him that at the time.
I wouldn’t be 14 again if you paid me: but if I could, I’d go back in time just once, and tell my 14-year-old self to forget that boy who would never love her, and cherish the people who did. That’s what Valentine’s day should be all about.
(I’d also tell her about the differences between ‘there’, ‘their’ and ‘they’re’. Because that’s important, too.)[separator type=”thin”]
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