My first real Valentine's day came in 1993. I was a freshman in college and I had been dating David for 3.5 months. I had cautious expectations. We had made a date to see each other on Valentines, but failed to talk specifics. At that time in our relationship, we didn't speak every single day. I heard little from David during the days leading up until the famous "Hallmark Holiday." In fact on February 14, 1993, I was certain that I was going to be stood up by my new boyfriend. I didn't hear from David until late afternoon, at which point I had already shed a few thousand tears. His voice was bright and cheerful and he had no idea that I had already written him off.
I met him in his dorm room that evening. He was waiting for me with a teddy bear and a rose. I melted, like any eighteen year old girl would. I kept that silly bear for years, until, a decade later he met a black puppy who would tear him to shreds. That first Valentine's day we had dinner at my favorite Italian restaurant (Piasan's) and kissed goodnight under a frosty February sky.
There have been so many Valentines Day's since then. There was our senior year in college. I borrowed a sparkly dress from my roommate and David and I shared cocktails at the swanky Barber's Closet, which burned down only a few days later. As we ended the evening we made out in the back of a cab, shivering from the cold and intoxicated with drink and young love.
Not all of our Valentines Days were sweet. There was the dinner in 1997 that ended in tears, after I received "Secret's of Fat-Free Italian Cooking" instead of a ring. And the holiday of 2008 when my husband sat across the table from me at a fine Denver restaurant and told me that I looked like someone had died. I responded teary eyed, that the morning's ultrasound (which revealed our second son) was the death of a dream. I would never have a daughter.