Here it comes again, Valentines Day! The day I hate.
Every year on this day, I battle with my emotions remembering how what was to have been my very first Valentine’s Day was ruined by two people I thought loved me.
It was supposed to be my first celebration, but it turned into a complete nightmare.
Since then, the 14th of February has never been good to me.
Growing up, I used to envy the bigger girls when they bought presents and gorgeously designed dresses just to impress their boyfriends.
With dreamy expressions, the girls would talk endlessly of how they were looking forward to seeing their partners, how the partners loved them and how they knew they would be spoilt on V-day as many lovingly call it.
I had a male cousin whom I looked up to and we would walk around, specifically to see how each year people celebrated the big day. Though everything just looked the same, I was still impressed and wished one day to be swept off my feet by a dashing Knight.
We would do this thing like others who were hopelessly in love. As is tradition, we would wear red clothes, step out hand in hand out of the house with me clutching red roses and a teddy bear.
We would step into a restaurant where there would be red roses everywhere, red wines flowing like the Red Sea and chocolates to spoil me rotten.
I couldn’t wait to be in love!
I really looked forward to growing up so that I could also find myself a perfect guy who would spoil me like my cousin spoilt his girlfriend. In fact, the respect for Valentine’s Day ran in the family.
The day is respected and celebrated every year. This made me eager to celebrate the big day as well.
My cousin was the personification of ‘Knight-in-Shining-Armour’ on this day. He ensured he handled the pots and utensils in the kitchen. If he were working, he would come home early to perform house chores and cook dinner.
He would whisper his insistence to baby mama not to do household chores, but to relax and be beautiful for him.
For good measure, he would hide new sexy lingerie inside one of the rooms, which he would have clandestinely brought into the house. I admired that.
So, because everyone in my family celebrated the big day. I thought that eventually my blessings for Valentines Day were automatically granted. I guess I was wrong.
When I came of age, a few years ago, my now ex-boyfriend and I made preparations for Valentines Day. We had planned for it since the previous year. We had even saved up some money so that we could have that perfect day. We wanted to make our first Valentine’s Day the most memorable.
“Finally, my dream is just about to happen,” I sighed thoughtfully. That week was the best week ever. I couldn’t wait for the 14th to arrive. I went an extra mile to buy myself a very beautiful dress so that ‘my beau’ could feel proud of me and show me off to his friends.
I bought him a very elegant watch and expensive perfume from my pocket money.
Things were perfect. We exchanged sweet messages every day of that week. We were happy; at least that is what I thought.
At the time I was doing Form 5. He was two years older than me and was at tertiary school.
Then, the big day came. I dressed up and made my hair. I couldn’t stop looking at myself in the mirror, alternatively pestering my female cousin if I looked perfect. She made my hair. I even asked my neighbour how I looked, and felt prettier when people looked at me in admiration.
I waited patiently for Thabo* to come pick me up so that we could start celebrating the big day together. I waited, but an hour passed by. I waited and waited. I started becoming anxious because it was not like him.
He was never that late, or if he was, there would be a valid reason. I tried his phone but it was off air. That was when I became more apprehensive that maybe something bad had happened to him.
“If he had an emergency he could have called. If he can’t come he would have called me,” I thought with mounting dejection.
I tried his friend’s phone but they said they hadn’t seen him. I became worried. I waited and waited but still he did not come. I called his sister who said he was not home and that maybe he checked on his friends who stayed at the University hostels.
When night approached, I was a bundle of nerves. My good mood was totally ruined. I could not even pass time anywhere as my friends and relatives had made plans.
I cried the whole night. Sleep deserted me. My heart was aching too much for me to close my eyes. My dress was soaked in tears and sweat. I was stressed and disappointed.
Thabo avoided me for two days after that. I tried calling him, as I was worried something bad could have happened to him. I only learned later that he was actually dating my friend and that as I moped at my place, they were together exchanging sweet nothings on Valentine’s Day.
The hurt I was feeling was indescribable. I vowed I would never celebrate that day ever again. I felt that because of it, I lost a friend and my first love.
As time passed by, I learnt that even though it’s never said, many people lose their loved ones due to this day. This made me hate the day even more. Some people are known to have broken relationships because of that. I also heard that some people even leave their partners on Valentine’s Day.
I believe that even though the day is supposed to be celebrated for good reasons, some people had gone against its significance. Families break up. Children lose the love of both parents.
All I know is that after my worst experience, I will never celebrate that day. Never have and I never will. I felt inferior and stupid that day.
I remember crying and being worried for a person who was busy enjoying himself with a person I thought was my best friend.
Imagine I had told her all about our preparation for the big day but she decided to snatch my boyfriend! I just hate Valentine’s Day.
Where do I run to or hide tomorrow?