Happy Val's Day! February 2010. Reminding me that right now no-one loves me enough to go through the motions.
The motions being.....
Flowers, chocolates, dinner etc, etc...etcetera...etcetera here in affluent Abuja refers to luxury hampers, designer dresses, even cars!
This time last year I had just broken up with my first, post-seperation boyfriend.
The year before that, February 14th was the day after my ex husband's cousins wedding. The one where he ignored me the whole day, while simultaneously being preoccupied with his phone. The day after the wedding, I made him a big Sunday breakfast then sat with him while he flicked between CNN and Sky Sports. When the boredom started to set in, and I retired back to the bedroom to surf Facebook. He came in and made a fuss of it: "you're always on that thing". I was speechless. Well not quite...we fought. The ensuing row resulted in me having to find my way to Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos- in a 'cabo cabo' non- air conditioned taxi, alone, unaided, loaded down with bags and thoughts. He didn't even see me to the door. I remember feeling embarrassed at the staff's pitiable looks as I struggled alone into the cab. The entry in my journal for that day: by this time next year, I need to have left him.
1 May 2009 I did.
Back to February 14th 2010. I recall dropping into the supermarket to pick up some milk; and feeling irritated at being accosted by red roses, discounted chocolates, rotund hanging hearts, and Barry White on the supermarket radio, "Girrrrrl, it's just you and me...." Then on the drive home, on the car radio driving home, DJ Tilly talking about the many club parties planned for the evening.
I clearly remember thinking 'give me a break' Newly broken up and feeling depressed, having stashed the life-size Valentine's card I'd bought for Clive, because I thought we'd make up...I decided to join friends for dinner, and drinks.
In fact, as far back as I can remember, I've not had a positive St Valentines experience. So here's the thing:
I don't believe in it.
I feel loved by those who love me, EVERYday. In fact the irony of it is that I feel 'less' loved on 14th February than the days before or after.
I know I'm not the only one to have this epiphany, and opt out of the tide of cliché- commercialised-pseudo-romanticism. For many, this is easier to float with than to swim against the tide. Romanticism versus love. Romance for the outside, love for the heart.
St Valentine has it all inside out.
Feb 14th, 2010