valentine on 105th street

For many of us Valentine’s Day is one of those “artificial” fair weather holidays; when it’s good it’s GREAT and when it’s bad, it’s shit storm ROTTEN.  It all depends on whether or not your see saw is balanced.  When it’s balanced, there’s somebody to play the cupid game with and the sun shines.  Not balanced … nobody to play with, it’s  rotten, and the in-your-face onslaught of hearts, flowers, candy, diamond/jewelry advertisements that begin as soon as we step into the new year adds fuel to the bonfire.  And THIS year (and the next two) folks were calling it Valentine’s Day WEEKEND.  Yippee.  THREE days of moping.

So, yeah, sour grapes.   Once again, my seesaw has no one on the other side and every day closer to VDay I’m sitting a little lower.  Sure, there are other people upon whom to shower love on this designated day of decadent love and sparkly things.  I have wonderful friends and family who I love dearly.  BUT THAT’S NOT WHAT THE CUPID THING IS ALL ABOUT!!!  CUPID IS THE GOD OF DESIRE, EROTIC LOVE, ATTRACTION AND AFFECTION.   And Valentine’s Day just serves as a reminder of being “less than” in the realm of desire, erotic love, attraction and affection … a reminder of being somewhat broken when it comes to intimate, spiritual love.

And so, in preparation for the big day, I normally make plans to stay in and dive under the covers for a day or two until it blows over.  NO walking around amid the lovers on the streets for me … not no way, not no how.  Misery loves misery.  Just stay in the house, under the covers, listening to love and anti-love songs.  And dredge up memories.  UGH.  This, too, shall pass.  It always does.  And when it’s all been said and done, all I’ve lost is a couple of days in the world.  Has anyone noticed in the past?  Nope.

But … What the WHAT?!?!?!  And WHY the drama?!?  At my core I don’t believe in the need for a specially marked day or a big spectacle of a gift to demonstrate one’s guilt, I mean love.  I feel the same about mother’s day and father’s day … EVERY _ DAY should be spent showing love in small ways to all the people we cherish.   That’s my take on it.  And this year the plans were the same … stay in.  Under the radar; under the covers.  Maybe some wine.  Maybe some whine.  Maybe lots of hibernation.  And then, when it was over, back to life.

But, as fortune (or the universe) would have it, my plans were changed.  A dear friend had foot surgery a few weeks earlier and was holed up in her apartment recuperating.  I’d been spending Friday nights hanging out with her watching movies, eating good food and chatting.  She texted and asked about the soft plan of getting together on Friday as usual and, Valentine’s Day be damned … movie night was back on the schedule.

At around 6pm, I headed uptown with the intention of stopping at a nearby Dunkin’ Donuts to pick up coffee and some treats.  Fortunately, they were out of the special donuts but I did leave the store armed with a large coffee in each hand.   The streets were still a slippery mess from the snowfall and finding a clear corner was sometimes like finding a four leaf clover.  But the corner of Amsterdam and 105th street was clear so, rather than walking through the slush and snow to 104th, I stayed on 105th and made my way across to Broadway.  As I walked along the snowy path that was carved only wide enough for one person, I noticed a large, older man walking toward me.  His beautiful white hair was alive in the street light but his legs, which were quite bowed, were giving him some trouble walking.  He listed slowly and carefully from side to side while navigating the tricky sidewalk so I stepped off the path and onto a snowbank to allow him the right of way.  As he passed he looked at the coffees, smiled at me and said,  in a beautifully resonant voice, “You’re SOMEBODY’S hero tonight!” I smiled back and out of my mouth popped, “Yes, I guess I am.  Thank you!”

In that nanosecond, on Valentine’s Day evening, his sweet words and his acknowledgement were like a Valentine’s Day kiss from the universe to my heart; one of those “cosmic winks” I used to experience regularly when my heart wasn’t so crusty.  In that nanosecond, my heart softened.  It was so good to be out in the world and NOT losing days under the covers.

As I continued walking a collage of images rushed through my mind.  I smiled and thought, “Yep, I am a hero.” And, for once, I truly believed it.

Peace & ❤





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