Valentine’s Day was always the weirdest holiday. Especially in elementary school, when on February 12th you would drag your mom to CVS to pick up some corny cartoon-themed Valentine’s cards and a bag of those hard, chalky hearts. It was fun in theory, until you arrived back home and you had to start filling out all of the cards with the same fake message aside from adding a little additional love to your “best friends.” Maybe you would add an extra piece of candy to your crush’s card, but other than that it was repetitive.
It was always interesting showing up to school on the 14th with a bag full of cards and candies. There was such palpable energy in the room—everyone knew they were getting something, but when would the exchange happen? Normally the teachers would wish everyone a Happy Valentine’s Day and immediately jump into the lesson. Business as usual. Maybe you would try to slip your friends their special cards with the better candy, but it would always fail. The chalky hearts were always hit or miss; the white and pink ones were always good but the green had a weird flavor to it. Purple was either grape or some bizarre flavor they cooked up. They really lost their appeal when you graduated elementary school; now they were only good for display purposes, showing off on social media that you had gotten a valentine. As you got older you received roses on Valentine’s Day—tasteful, but when done in big bundles, tacky and far too fragrant. With the roses came a cheap bottle of red wine and maybe a big box of chocolates that you’ll eat your favorites out of before they go stale in the pantry.
I wish Valentine’s Day was the same as it used to be. I want a little Spongebob card and a heart shaped lollipop that tastes like strawberries. I want to feel giddy again about this weird holiday. I wish I could go back in time and be in elementary school exchanging Valentine’s cards instead of thinking about how capitalistic Valentine’s Day really is. I would love to see Saint Valentine roam the streets and look into people’s windows on this Valentine’s Day. I would love to see the look on his face as he takes in how weird this holiday is—how it has devolved. I wonder if Saint Valentine would like the chalk heart candies or if he would find the smell of roses awful or if he would eat all of the chocolates before they went stale.