valentine’s day dearth
no candy or any flowers
no one to spoon…sucks
Bearly Used Books…123
Home of A Great Read
OCC Media Director
123 So. First Street
Historic Old Puente, CA 91744
Iâ€™d been dating Marty for three months when Valentineâ€™s Day rolled around.
He wasnâ€™t the most demonstrative guy, but he knew what he was doing in the sack and that counts for a lot. He laughed at my jokes when he was around to hear them, didnâ€™t have a string of exes or kids to compete for his time. He looked great in a suit, not so great in jeans. His buddies meant the world to him. If I was a piece of real estate I figured I was right up there with the State of Maine â€“ small but solidly on the radar. I could live with all of this as long as Marty hit the high notes. So, the day of hearts and flowers was kind of a milestone and I prepared appropriately.
The steaks were ready, the table set. I was bathed and perfumed. The music selection was lined up. I would start with sweet and move to seductive. I set aside the fake wax log in favor of real wood for the fireplace. Seven oâ€™clock passed by forty-five minutes when there was an insistent knock on the door.
Better late than never, I figured. I also gave him points for being eager.
I adjusted my cleavage, licked my lips and loved the way the fire threw off just enough golden light to make me look warm and inviting. I opened that door real slow, narrowed my eyes, let a smile play upon my ultra-glossed lips. All wasted. I was looking at the old lady from across the street.
â€œYour house is on fire, dear.â€
She stepped back, raised a hand, rolled her eyes. I thought she looked quite nice in the firelight, too. This fire, though, was shooting straight out of the chimney.
â€œDamn.â€ I muttered.
â€œI should say,â€ she answered. â€œI called nine-one-one.â€
â€œGreat.â€ Just what I needed. Company on Valentineâ€™s Day.
On the bright side, Marty would hear the sirens, rush to my side, gather me up, turn my head into his shoulder, whisper he was grateful that I was alright. We would fall in love, marry, have children. Our childrenâ€™s children would re-tell this tale of love at our funerals.
While I waited for Martyâ€™s entrance, I pushed the neighbor onto the lawn and ran for the hose. This was no easy feat. My WonderBra was too tight, my dress too long, my heels too high. I made for it with a sort of whump of a gallop that left me stuck in the thick grass every third step. Breathless when I finally got to it, I grabbed the darn thing and headed back to the middle of the lawn. I hollered at the little old lady as I passed.
She hightailed it over to the faucet, her eyes never leaving the flames that now shot five feet in the air. A breeze kicked up. Cinders flew. Every damn house on the street had shake roofs including mine. The sirens were louder but they werenâ€™t close enough.
â€œTurn it on!â€ I screamed, holding tight to the nozzle.
â€œTurning it on,â€ the old lady screamed back.
I planted myself and waited for the rush of water. My hair was coming loose from its chignon. My arms were tight to my sides. I was Woman – hear me roar. Marty would be so impressed when he arrived.
â€œYouâ€™re not straight dear!â€ The old lady again, pulling me out of my daydream.
She unkinked the hose before I was ready. The water shot out, soaking my dress before I got it on the roof. Then came the red lights. Noise. Men in yellow suits and helmets coming to save me.
It went pretty quick after that. Hunky guys put out the flames while the old lady and I watched. Marty never showed but a damn good looking fireman grinned down at me from his perch on the roof. I smiled back. The evening wasnâ€™t a total loss.
Long story short. The guy wasnâ€™t smiling, he was grimacing. Heâ€™d slipped on the roof I watered down. His ankle was broken. They took him away on a gurney. My dinner burned. Marty never showed. The old lady and I finished off a bottle of wine, toasting our brave hearts. By the time we were done, I didnâ€™t care that mine was just a little bit broken, too.
Not too many Valentineâ€™s Days ago, John and I were broke and in love. No, we werenâ€™t in college â€“ in fact, weâ€™d been married about ten years already. But we were still lovey-duvvy enough to want to go out and celebrate. Since Valentineâ€™s Day fell on a Saturday that year, John came up with a great idea: weâ€™d go to the dollar theater for a double feature!
I love movies! Any kind of movie â€“ action, drama, romantic comedy, you name it. So I didnâ€™t care what was playing. We just needed two films that could be watched more or less back to back. Sounded like a lovely way to spend a Saturday.
Except that Iâ€™d forgotten one little detail. John loves movies, too â€“ but only some movies. He loves movies with lots of action and fighting. (I was so embarrassed when he laughed out loud during the heads-being–off battle scenes when we saw Braveheart opening weekend!) The only way heâ€™s going to see a chick flick is if itâ€™s a guyâ€™s dream come true (movie star chases regular guy in Notting Hill) or if thereâ€™s an actor he really likes in it (Kevin Smith in Catch and Release this past weekend â€“ which, by the way, Iâ€™m going to consider my Valentineâ€™s Day date this year; youâ€™ll see why soon).
We drove to the theater and stood there reading all the show times. It wasnâ€™t a great line-up for Valentineâ€™s Day, but hey, itâ€™s the dollar theater.
â€œHey, we could see Aliens 3, go have lunch, then come back and see The Replacement Killers,â€ John exclaimed with delight. (Reading over my shoulder, he says he did not exclaim with delight. Only women exclaim with delight. Trust me, he was excited.)
So Iâ€™m standing there thinking, itâ€™s Valentineâ€™s Day, the day you show the one you love that theyâ€™re the number one person in your life. And I love movies.
â€œSure, why not?â€ I said with forced delight.
Two hours later, we took a break and walked over to Burger King for lunch. (Yes, Burger King.) â€œWhatâ€™d you think?â€ John asked.
What I was thinking is that Sigourney Weaver was bald and saying the f-word on the most romantic day of the year. â€œNot as good as Aliens,â€ I said.
We walked back over for the next part of our date. I have to admit, I was kind of dreading the next movie. Maybe the people will have some redeeming qualities in the end, I thought, trying to be optimistic.
Um, well, kind of.
At the end of the movie, as we walked out to our car, John said, â€œHappy Valentineâ€™s Day, sweetie.â€
I just looked up and him and shook my head. â€œWhat part of this day had anything to do with Valentineâ€™s Day?â€ I asked with a half-laugh.
â€œWell,â€ John began. â€œSigourney Weaver loves her family and friends so she protected them from aliens. And in the other movie,â€ he paused to think. â€œThere was a lot of blood and blood is red, so there you go!â€
I heard someone snicker behind us. John flashed his fabulous grin at me. I couldnâ€™t help it. I caved and started to laugh as he gave me a huge hug and kissed the top of my head.
Iâ€™m sure Iâ€™ve had some pretty sad Valentineâ€™s Days in the past, but only with people I didnâ€™t love like I love John. The fact is, when you love someone, you can choose to enjoy anything if youâ€™re together.
Still, with Valentineâ€™s Day just around the corner, I took some precautions this year. I bought the Trojan Pleasure Pack today. Regardless of what movie we see or whatever else we may do, I know the day will at least end well!
Kitty Bucholtz is an OCC RWA member, a 16-year veteran of the marriage wars, and currently writing a chick lit novel about a married woman who discovers she has a super power.
â€œOkay boys,â€ my professor addressed our stadium seating Human Sexuality 101 class, â€œWhat is romance?â€
Like the first kernels of Jiffy Pop, one by one the boys slowly popped out with, â€œNaked.â€ â€œWarm.â€ â€œBeing close.â€ â€œBeing together.â€
â€œYes! Naked, warm, and being together,â€ my teacher repeated, smiling because theyâ€™d played right into her hands. â€œOkay, now girls. What is romance to you?â€
Like the boys, we were slow to warm, â€œChocolate.â€ â€œCandlelight.â€ â€œFlowers.â€
â€œYes!â€ my professor exclaimed with the same orgasmic enthusiasm as Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sallyâ€¦
â€œYou see the problem here?â€ she asked. â€œWe are different. We see romance differently.â€
She went on with another of her legendary funny-yet-informative lectures, but I donâ€™t remember it. Great as she was what I remember most of her class was what I learned in that one â€œding-ding-dingâ€ moment.
Maybe because it was reinforced later that week…
See, me and my then-boyfriend/now-husband were celebrating our first Valentineâ€™s Day. And he wanted it perfect because he knew how sentimental I was.
And though he doesnâ€™t like Italian food, he even ordered in from a fancy Italian restaurant because that was neutral ground for a vegetarian like me and a heathen, I mean, carnivore like him.
Long story short, it didnâ€™t go well.
That lovely Italian place he ordered from just for me? They took over two hours to get us our food. Cranky and hungry, it was all we could do to not bite each otherâ€™s heads off, much less get all lovey dovey and sentimental.
When the food and wine came, we were thinking, â€œGreat. It can only go up from here.â€
Now, Iâ€™m not a big wine-o and I was ravenous so it took me a couple bites before it hit me that my eggplant parmesan wasnâ€™tâ€¦right.
Did I mention I was pretty hardcore vegetarian at the time?
So I took another bite, chewing carefully. â€œUh, I think this is veal parmesan.â€ (I mightâ€™ve dry-heaved around here.)
â€œNuh-uh,â€ he said in total disbelief. â€œHere, let me try,â€ he speared a bite. Swallowing, his face fell.
â€œItâ€™s okay. Iâ€™ll eat around it.â€
He rolled his eyes, â€œYou canâ€™t eat around that.â€
â€œSure I can.â€
But it was nothinâ€™ doinâ€™. We switched plates so I could at least pick the pasta out of his shrimp dish.
He was so bummed. â€œI just wanted to make this special for you.â€
â€œBut you donâ€™t have to. What makes tonight special is us being together.â€
Hmmâ€¦where had I heard that before? Oh yeah! The Romance lecture!
â€œYou know what would make tonight really special?â€ I asked.
â€œNo,â€ he says, eyes on the floor, the picture of disappointment.
I took my top off.
That got his attention.
â€œTonightâ€™s special because weâ€™re together. The other stuff doesnâ€™t matter.â€
And it didnâ€™t.
Wait! Do you hear that?
That was our door slamming.
Letâ€™s just say, I got my romanceâ€¦and he got his.
Dana Diamond is Co-Media Director for OCC/RWA, a contributor to OCC’s e-zine A Slice Of Orange, and hard at work on her next book. For past interviews visit the Orange Blossom section of OCC’s award-winning website.
It was the worst of Valentines and the best of Valentines because I learned never to settle for a man with a small manhood.
I was a twenty year-old USC student and on the rebound from the break-up with my high school sweetheart. Oh the pain, the torment, the black yawning loneliness. Thank God I threw out that journal because if I reread it today, Iâ€™d only annoy myself.
So after the big break up I met Smallness. He was charming and not as smart as I was and off we went. However, I wasnâ€™t smart enough to realize why Smallness had a tendency to talk about his horrible, evil ex â€“girlfriend. I thought that I was so amazingly wonderful that Smallness couldnâ€™t help but compare her to me. The week before Valentines Day he broke up with me, over the phone, for her.
Again the pain, the torment, blah, blah, blah. But then I went to Sedona, Arizona on a road trip and on Valentineâ€™s Day, walked into a kitschy gift shop for a map of the vortexes. I was hoping a vortex would suck out my misery.
But the store happened to have a huge display of Pueblo Storyteller Dolls. Some are quite elaborate and they had one that stood almost four feet tall. But they also represent the storyteller sitting with her eyes closed and mouth open, passing along the stories of her people to the tiny children she holds in her arms. At the time, I was a pre-med hoping that one day Iâ€™d make enough money as a doctor to retire early and follow my true passion of writing novels. However, I was failing Chemistry 101 and so there were signs that this plan wasnâ€™t going to work out.
That Valentineâ€™s Day, when I found my Storyteller doll (she was the least expensive at $10.95!), I heard the call that I was a writer. Like the Pueblo storyteller who is chosen to bear the responsibility of keeping the myths and stories of her people alive, there was nothing else for me to do but follow my calling. Nothing else mattered, especially men with such a small sense of manhood that they didnâ€™t know a good thing when they saw it!
Ever since that day, Iâ€™ve managed to make my living as a writer and now as an author. There are days when the writing and I make passionate love, and then the days when we canâ€™t stand each other. But man, not a day goes by that Iâ€™m not grateful to have met one of my Great Loves that Valentineâ€™s Day in Sedona.
Read a sneak peek of NAMES I CALL MY SISTER (HarperCollins Avon May 2007)
For all of Mary’s books & blogs please visit www.marycastillo.com
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