I know it well. It is the season for hearts and heartaches. You love her, but she loves him, and she loves somebody else, you just can't win. The J. Geils Band had it right: Love stinks. Especially at this time of year. I have spent a good portion now of my life without fear of Valentines and their day, but I continue to dread its coming. Its a nervous twitch I can't shake.
Charlie Brown waiting at the mailbox? That was me. I believed that somehow, by force of will, I could command cupid and his shiny bow to pick out a few choice targets for me each and every year. Why wouldn't girls be crawling over one another to send me a little note or box of chocolates to remember the day?
No such luck. I could not, for the longest time, imagine why I was such a pariah. Was I doomed to live a life alone? It was on the eve of Valentine's Day that I set myself up with a date, after years of going stag and slumming the single life. I had no sense of just how much pressure I was putting on this young woman as I made plans for a first date. On Valentine's Day. What was I thinking? It was at this precise moment, as I struggled to manage the time-space continuum that was my dating strategy, I got a call that told me my mother and father were splitting up. I will always be mindful that any antagonism I might feel connected to this holiday can only be the sputtering fuse to the keg of TNT that will always be my mother's reaction. When I got the phone call from that girl cancelling our date, it came as a relief for all concerned.
It took years for the pain to subside, and even now when I try and drum up romantic thoughts for my wife even decades after that night, I wince just a little. Why wouldn't I expect anything but the requited love that exists every other day on the calendar? Nervous, cautious, cynical. I don't want to get caught caring too much or pouring my heart out at a moment that might turn out to be embarrassing later.
Like the what's happening to Charlie Manson. He won't be getting married after all. It seems Chuck let the ninety day period for which his marriage license was issued lapse. Now he and his bride to be will have to re-submit their application and hope that they can find a visiting day that works for them both. Oh, to be young and in love. Or really old and locked up and in love. Okay, just the love part. Good luck to those lovebirds, and good luck to you all on this pending Valentine season.