Valentine’s Day 2004: The honor of my second-worst VDay goes to my first boyfriend as well. (Sorry.)
Although I didn’t realize it at the time, I was cool when I started college. I’d graduated high school a year early, backpacked through Europe and decorated my dorm room with maps from National Geographic. Best of all, I had a boyfriend, and not just any boyfriend but a bone fide foreigner.
When I returned to campus after the holiday break, having received a satisfactory Christmas present from my boyfriend and an official “I love you” (in French, no less!), I began to realize that I was one of the enviable. Sure, my parents were going to send me a care package for Valentine’s Day, but I was going to get something from my boyfriend too!
Mail delivery is something of a spectator sport on most college campuses— at least it was on mine, or so I thought. The student mailboxes were housed right in the middle of main student center, between the book shop and the cafeteria just above the cafe. Packages were indicated by a colored strip of paper in one’s mail box and given that the front desk flanked one of the main thoroughfares through campus, everyone could see who received (and who did not receive) a package for Valentine’s Day.
I made every excuse to check my mail box in the week leading up to the big day. With each afternoon, however, my hope began to fade. Had he really forgotten?
“Check again,” my roommates urged. “One of my classmates does work study for the post office and she said they just got some new packages in this morning!”
Off I’d go, traipsing across the quad, mailbox key in hand, student ID ready, celebratory drinks waiting in my dorm (or not actually, seeing as I was still obeying the statutes of my substance-free housing agreement at the time) but time and time again, my mailbox was empty.
Sometimes, one of my roommates came along for moral support— I was the only one who had any hope of receiving a genuine Valentine that year—but at last the big day came and went with nary an envelope.
A week later, a banged up mailer arrived. It contained, amongst other things, a card, a few photographs of our last visit with funny handwritten captions and a photograph of the heart-shaped fudge he “would have sent had it not melted.”
I was beyond disappointed. And not only because my love of chocolate threatens to eclipse just about everything (and everyone) but because I was embarrassed. Egocentric college freshman that I was, you see, I talked about my off-campus boyfriend pretty much non-stop… after the Valentine’s debacle, I worried that my friends would think I had made him up.
Fortunately, my disappointment was good preparation for V-Day 2006, which really would prove to be my worst Valentine’s Day ever.
As for the boy? We broke up the following Christmas and although I’ve spent the past two days complaining about him, he did eventually make me a very lovely fudge-like cake. Furthermore, he remains the one and only ex-boyfriend with whom I still correspond on occasion and judging by the fact that he’s now married, I’m going to guess that he’s gotten better in the gift-giving department.
Moral of the story? If you haven’t already sorted out your Valentine’s Day gift(s), please do so. And if there’s any mailing required (especially mailing of the international sort), stop reading right this minute and get yourself to the nearest post office—for your sake. Trust me on this one.