Wednesday, February 14, 2007

so kill me with love

You know what is excellent on Valentine's Day? When you look as though you got into a scuffle with a crack ho and wound up taking a left hook to the chin. And when you are unable to eat solid foods of any kind. And worst of all, you're banned from drinking alcohol for 24 more hours.

Of course, that's what you get when you make the oh-so-smart decision to get dental surgery two days ago. And truth be told, I'm sort of nonchalant about the whole thing, insofar as not being able to go out and make mischief tonight. I've never particularly relished going out on Valentine's Day, whether I've been in a relationship (too much pressure!) or not (too many bitter people who overcompensate how fine they are about being alone). Even if I had remembered that today is this artificial holiday, I'm pretty sure I would have went ahead and had that slice of tissue taken out of the roof of my mouth.

I am, however, thinking of the best Valentine's Day I ever had today, because I talked to my parents last night. They mentioned how the Northeast was about to get dumped with a good old pile of snow. And it's been a long time since I've seen the snow, so I haven't been dwelling on the dreary parts of it, the grey muck and icy slush that follows a snowfall. I've been thinking of the little snowflakes blanketing everything, falling with such vibrant contrast against black hair and black eyelashes.

His hair was blonde though. And we were leaving the science building after some experiment had turned out poorly. We were loitering around where we often used to shuffle our feet, coming up with one more thing to say, one more thing we just had to mention, teeth chattering, hands growing numb. But that night, we walked out of the building, and it was snowing, that thick, lush snow fall.

With the snow coming down, it seemed practical to part. It was the corner of the building, the back of it, an exit that hardly anyone used besides us. From there, he climbed the back stairs towards his place, and I walked straight ahead towards mine. The back, black-iron stairs were carpeted with a thick layer of snow. I worried he might slip and crack his head open. I worried so much about him, even though he was a year older than me. Even now, I still wonder why I was always so worried about him. I think it was because I was always convinced that he did not belong in the world, or at least not in mine, that anyone like that could not exist on the planet for very long.

The truth was that we could not exist in the universe for very long. Not the way we were. Not the way we were that evening. It had just grown dark. I turned towards my path and suddenly felt a swift and sharp thud on my back. I turned to see him mischevously grinning at me, the remnants of snow melting on his hand. Narrowing my eyes at him, feigning annoyance, I gathered up a big, sticky ball of snow and threw it, poorly, at him, pathetically hitting his arm.

After that, it was a mess. It got so that we were hiding behind cars. It got so that I was pushing entire layers of snow off a car just to douse him. We were reverting, as if we had known each other as children. We were moments away from shoving snow down each other's backs. He took a small heap of snow and daintily placed it on my head, like a crown of white against black. He stopped to take a breath and admire his handiwork, pleased with himself.

A man passing by said, "You're a cute couple."

And we replied, laughing hysterically, "We're just friends."

Just friends. As if it could have been called just friends. As if anyone else could ever be just such a friend. A year later to the day, we were not speaking to each other, vexed about one stupid thing or another. But about a decade later, I can't remember why we were fighting. It's all a haze of fights, snowball or otherwise, and a kind of love that can never be touched, a kind of love so pure it can never be resurrected with another human being. It may sound schmaltzy, but since this day is all about schmaltz, I will go ahead and embrace it today.

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