Valentine’s Day (Story #37)

“Table for two,” squealed the tiny 12 year old as her boyfriend squeezed her sides.

The concierge threw on her best I’m single and working on the worst day of the year face while grabbing two red, heart shaped menus.

“Fuck this,” I thought as I casually turned and walked towards my car. To be fair, the children were probably in their early 20s, believed that they were madly in love, and didn’t even pay their own cell phone bills. I’m not bitter though.

The closer I got to my car, the more I noticed that I was the only single female in that whole damn parking lot. Are you kidding me? Even the nerdiest of couples were walking hand in hand, absolutely love struck. My brain hadn’t even connected that today was Valentine’s Day even though Google was filled with pink and red hearts. I was off of work today so I missed the older women acting like middle schoolers, flaunting their gigantic teddy bears and shitty Whitman’s candy box bullshit. Maybe I should’ve known it was Valentine’s Day when I saw the ugly, obviously male written, paint on someone’s car windshield that read, “Marry me?” Or maybe I should’ve known when there seemed to be a billion people holding giant bouquets of overpriced roses. I swear, I’m not bitter.

Either way, I started my car and powered up the radio, only to hear, “What’s Love Got to do With It.” The DJ who decided to play that was probably cheated on by their significant other. I laughed at the thought. The streets were mainly empty. I suppose everyone was either eating out or eating in, but I was starving and didn’t want to cook. I decided to drive to the nearest diner.

The windows had leftover Christmas lights loosely strung around the border. It looked as if the diner was halfway empty. “My kind of place,” I thought. The bell rang when I pushed the door open, signaling a waitress with dark red lipstick to look up. This woman had to have been in her late 60s. Her caked on eye shadow melted into the deep creases of her eyelids. The dark, crusty lipstick sat on her thin, wrinkly lips. “Just one, doll,” she inquired, nearly suffocating me with the smell of old cigarettes. I nodded my head and she motioned for me to follow her to the table.

I sat at the table and waited for my server. When I looked around, most of the other patrons were single. They all seemed very content, but they were also all much older than me. Cigarette scent Sally shuffled back to my table. “Here’s some coffee, doll. It helps with broken hearts.” She gave a sympathetic smile and walked away. Do I just look miserable or something? Honestly, I was just super hangry. Nearly every restaurant in town had an hour wait if you didn’t reserve your space. Even McDonald’s was packed! My waitress could’ve given me a Snickers and I would’ve devoured that shit in seconds. Love was not on the brain; just food.

After an hour, I was happy, full, and on my way home. I felt fantastic. My cat, Hero, brushed against my leg when I opened the door to my house. “Hey, bud,” I cooed as I scratched behind his ears. The evening was coming to an end and I had work the next day. Hero curled up beside me in bed and purred while I stroked his back. “Who the hell proposes via car windshield? What a loser,” I said to my empty bedroom. I laughed until my stomach hurt and fell soundly asleep. Valentine’s Day was just that…a day.

 

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