Love comes to everyone in different forms. The following are relayed for Valentine's Day 2010.
Four years I waited. First, he had to leave his girlfriend who made him feel bad about himself. Second, he had to leave the girlfriend who was so beautiful, if only on the outside. Then he had to see me as more than just the best friend who he had found a perfect relationship with, if only he could be see past me being so ugly. I remember, his exact words were, "You see, I was lucky to have her, people look at her and love her right away, she's not like me . . . or you, who people have to get to know first." In real life, there was no pause between him declaring that he and I were unattractive, but to me, that pseudo pause hit like an anvil to my chest. He thought I was ugly. And all of a sudden, I felt that I was and it became true in my mind. Regardless, I hated him a bit for it, why couldn't he have left me out of his own insecurities. I withdrew from him entirely. I never went out where he was and when I saw him, spoke little. We had spent all of our free time with one another, and all of a sudden, it was only moments. He would try to make me laugh, but I'd be unamused. My heartbreak made it easy. I felt dead inside and was punishing myself, punishing him. He did come back and eventually professed his love. I denied him, twice. I played the "friends only card, twice." And then I gave in and let, "us," happen. I thought I was going to marry him. He found a job somewhere else, a big and exciting city. I couldn't go with him. I had responsibilities that I couldn't walk away from. He tried to make me break up with him. I had to let him do the damage so that I would know what we really were to one another. And he did. Years later, his cousin would tell me that he had cheated on me throughout our relationship. I wasn't angry. I was just thankful that my relationship with him seemed another lifetime ago.
I had the biggest crush on this boy named Patrick. He had caribbean blue eyes and wavy golden hair. His humor was sarcastic and dry, before it became everybody else's humor. At 16 years old, I didn't really know how to get his attention, so I turned to sexy magazines that would give me tips. I did find a tip that I was convinced would bring me Patrick on a silver platter and make all of my Levi commercial jean fantasies come true. The idea was that a woman turns her head and flips her hair. Then she would tilt her head slightly to the side, with a subtle squint of her eyes. The clencher would be that she would then give this amazingly, dazzling smile. We were in in English class, and i had worked my nerve up. I tried it, except that my flipping of the hair was more of a jerk of the neck and hair hitting me in the face. My tilting of the head, wasn't so slight ,and the squinting of my eyes was more like twitching. The only thing I got right was the creepy smile. But he definitely reacted when I did it. He looked right at me and couldn't keep his eyes of me. He didn't say anything after class, so I tried it for the rest of the week, and the next week, until the last time I ever tried "the move," again. On this last time, Patrick finally said something to me, "What's wrong with your eye, and why have you been making that face at me, is something wrong with you." To this day, I have no regrets because I can say, I did it all for love.
There was one Christmas where all we had was our plastic tree and multi-colored strands of light. I think we had some of those tomato, red, velvet bows that have the teeny, tiny brass bells in the middle. My sisters and I thought my mom was tricking us when she took us aside on Christmas Eve and said that this year we wouldn't have any presents. My dad was home from his double shift, but wasn't in the room when my mom told us. He left before we had dinner. We asked my mom where dad went, but she didn't know either. We ate dinner, oblivious and went to sleep, only to be woken up around 3 A.M. My father was still in his coat, greasy gloves, and thick hat. The ink-colored spots were all over his blue uniform that bore his name patch. But his face was lit up brighter than our tree. He pulled out four boxes, one for each of us. Behind the plastic cover was one holly branch pin. He had gone back to work and asked to clean out the giant barrels that held the tar to pour onto the potholes. They had given him less than forty dollars. He then got the pins from the only place that was open - the gas station. It's the best present I ever got.