I hate Valentine's Day, usually. There's no one who wants to give me anything, so I sit back and sadly watch my friends get gifts, year after year. Well, not this year. I finally think I may get a Valentine just yet, and I may get to give one as well.

     There's a boy. He's not new or anything, I've known him since middle school. Let's call him Leo. Only recently have I realized that Leo is looking pretty good these days. And I think Leo may be thinking the same thing about me.

      We became friends earlier this year, but now he hangs out with me, and just me. He even gave me a hug the other day.

      It makes me very happy, but there's still this niggling little thought at the back of my mind: what if this is all in your head? Boys like him- normal, nice boys- they don't want girls like you, whose favorite place is the comic book store and whose wardrobe consists of metal t-shirts. But I am confident enough these days that I can brush these thoughts aside- sure they do, I tell my brain.

     Since tomorrow is Valentine's day, I think I am going to go out and get something for Leo. He likes gummy bears, so maybe Wal-Mart has a good selection. Since I don't know him that well, I think I won't get him flowers. Tonight, I'm going to bring my best friend, Ana, with me. She is really good when it comes to this kind of stuff- my mother says it's because she's "boy-crazy." Even if she is, I would appreciate some assistance on this front. Even she agrees that Leo and I would make a very cute couple.

     Now, these days I'm feeling pretty good about my chances, but I am not always this confident. Usually I'm ignored by everyone but Ana and Leo, because I'm very quiet. The shrink my mom sent me to thinks that it's "severe social anxiety," or something of that nature, anyhow. I think it's just that I have a quiet personality, and that's why many don't talk to me.

     Maybe I could write Leo a nice letter. Writing is a skill set of mine, and I already applied to NYU for their writer's program.

     Since it's already four, that means I have to go pick Ana up. She's going to the store with me and then we will come home and pick out a "presentable outfit," as she calls it; a nice pair of pants and a button-up shirt. She's been joking at me all week about it, calling Leo "your boyfriend," or "your Valentine," often slipping the words "young love" into a sentence. 

     Not that I will admit this to anyone, least of her, but it may be love. When he looks at me, my guts get all swoopy and my face gets hot. The way my body reacts, I'm relatively certain this isn't lust, but something more meaningful.

     Once I let my mother know that I'm going to get Ana, I grab the keys to my dad's old car, which I have affectionately named Rick. Rick is a 1970's Volkswagen Beetle, and I love him. An upside to having him is that other than Ana, I don't have to give anyone a ride, ever. There are only two seats.

     As I drive to Ana's dad's apartment, I wonder what might go down tomorrow. Maybe an invitation to a date? Go to the movies? Or- I shudder as I think this, but it is best to be prepared- I get turned down. Ana told me that she saw a boy last year offer a girl a box of candy and some roses in front of the entire cafeteria, and still she turned him down. I shudder as I pull in front of her place. I don't think that will be a problem, since I'm not going to do it publicly.

     I honk the horn, and the door to Ana's house flies open only mere seconds later.

     "There you are!" She cries as she gets into the car. "I was beginning to think you forgot about me!"

     "Don't worry," I tell her. "It's only 4:15. I got stuck behind a tractor-trailer on the way here." 

     Laughing, we drive to the store. Once we get there, we go straight for the candy aisle. I want the Valentine's Day mix of gummy bears, but Ana stops me.

     "What? Why not?" I ask.

     "That's too forward. Plus he's always eating the Tropical Mix. Get those."

     I oblige, wondering how she knows that, and we wander to the card section.

     "Yes or no?" I ask.

     "Yes, but get a simple one."

     After a few minutes of hunting, I find one that has a rose on it, and the inside simply says Happy Valentines Day. Ana and I make our way to checkout, and go home.

     Once we get there, Ana goes straight for my closet, where my funeral dresses and button-ups are.

     "Gosh, why do you have so much black? It's like you're a vampire-oh wait, you probably are." 

     After lots of harping at me about getting something other than grayscale clothing, Ana picks up my nice black jeans, which don't have any rips in them, and a fitted black button-up shirt, with mother of pearl buttons.

     "Now, shoes. I'm not letting you wear those awful Vans that you wear everywhere, so we're gonna get different shoes." Ana decides this and I plan to ignore her. She opts for a pair of black flats that I haven't worn since my grandmother's funeral.

     Once all is said and done, it's eight o'clock, we've devoured a pizza and finished two episodes of the Twilight Zone. I drive her home and decide that I should shower. Once I make it home and finish bathing, it's nearly nine-thirty. After wishing my mother a good night, I settle in with my notebook, intent on clearing my mind.

     For the next half hour I do what I do every night: write. I write down everything I can about Leo, and the stupid swoopy gut feelings, to being thankful for Ana. When my mind finally feels empty, I pull out my ponytail, letting my butt-length raven hair free, and take off my glasses. Finally, I click off my lamp and go to bed.

     I wake up the next morning feeling refreshed and excited- but also very, very nervous. The swoopy gut-feelings reproduced into nervous, throw-up inducing butterflies. Calmly, I get dressed, putting on Ana's outfit, and slide on my black high-top Vans. They're comfortable and look nice. I also opt to put on powder and some burgundy lipstick that makes my eyes extra blue. Walking out the door with my bag, I grab a granola bar and pray my mother isn't up yet. Thankfully, she's not. I drive Rick to school and park in my spot, and get ready to wait the day out, until lunch, when it's going down.

     I'm not hungry at all, and can barely stop shaking, I'm so nervous. After second period, I walk with Ana to our third block. Leo passes us in the hall and keeps looking at Ana, with barely a "looking good today, ladies," which turns my stomach. Normally he can't keep his eyes off of me. That sounds bad but I can tell when he looks at me, which is a lot.

     We somehow make it through our art class, and once the bell rings, I tell Ana I'm going to the bathroom and I'll meet her in our spot.

     Once I do my business, I'm washing my hands when two sophomores walk in, and I hear both Ana and Leo's names. Odd.

     I walk through the halls, dodging couple after couple, until I reach the auditorium doors. We pick the auditorium since it's quiet and we help the techies, so the director doesn't mind us in there. I hold the bag of gummy bears in one hand, and wipe the other on my pants. I'm so nervous. I like this guy so much. With my free hand, I open the auditorium door just in time to hear "be my Valentine? I'd rather have you," and see Ana kiss Leo.

     For a good five seconds, I stand there, flabbergasted. How could they? A white-hot rage courses through me, and without thinking, I walk over, open the gummy bears, and dump the entire half-pound bag on their heads. Both of them whip around, obviously caught red-handed. The color has drained from Ana's face as I turn and walk out the auditorium doors, out to my car, where I get in and go home.

     Somehow I make it home before the waterworks start, and once they do there's no stopping them. I take off my shirt and put a giant D.R.I. shirt on before sobbing into my pillow for an hour.

     Once I'm done, I go into this bathroom to wash my face. The tears made my makeup run so bad it resembles black metal corpsepaint. I wash my face and go get some water from the kitchen. There's cookies Mom made the other day on the counter. I take the entire bowl and my water and go sit on the couch. I turn the Twilight Zone back on and sad-eat, complete with tears.

     After a few episodes and more tears, I start scrolling through the internet. Apparently your first love almost almost always ends this way, which makes me feel both better and worse, somehow.

     At four my mom comes home, and when she opens the door, she goes, "Your school called me about you skipping? What in the- oh." She rounds the corner and sees the demolished cookies and my tear-stained face.

     "What happened?" She asks, sitting next to me, and I bury my face in her chest as the tears start again.

     She listens as I choke out what happened, and tells me I need tea, and she would have done the same thing. She also tells me that Ana is no good and I should have slapped her. I can't help but agree. Ana hasn't made any effort to contact me, and I think that I am content being friendless now. What a vicious day.

     Ah, "young love." What a crock.

     I still hate Valentine's Day.

February 18, 2020 00:26

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Maria Windsor
03:34 Feb 26, 2020

I got suspicious of Ana as soon as I learned she knew which gummy bears to get, haha! Really nice story. I can totally relate to some of those feelings in there, nice work!


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Pamela Saunders
13:16 Feb 25, 2020

Good story.


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Emily Crosby
11:16 Jan 30, 2021

Valentine's day... It can either be the holiday for love or for betrayal. Great story!


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15:14 Feb 27, 2020

I really like it!


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Claudia Gollini
12:39 Feb 27, 2020

Great story. Love, gifts and the special day of the love, 'Saint' Valentine's Day.


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