Ahhh, Valentine’s Day. The day when everybody (except single people) can focus on the things that matter most. The holiday that lets all of us (except single people) recognize our respective loved ones, and shower them with gifts (that single people don’t get). The time to leave the bitter cynicism of the world behind you (unless you’re single), cuddle up to your significant other by the fire (unless you’re single), and whisper sweet nothings into the ear of the one you love (unless you’re single). Not to mention get laid. Unless you’re single.
For us single people, though, Valentine’s day doesn’t have to be about unhappiness. Nay, it can be a time to look back on the times that we have loved, and the people who were involved. The story of my first love is always one that I like to reminisce about this time of the year, while cradling a 20 oz. bottle of Diet Soda to my chest like a surrogate child. Who was this first woman, you ask? Who could possibly be worthy enough of good ol’ patented Walt-lovin? Well gather round, children, it’s high times ye learned a tale of love and betrayal, passion and rejection, searing gas pain and MaLox. Okay, maybe I’ll leave that last part out. Either way, here goes.
I first met Andovina Kovinski Sandrakala when I was but a spritely lad of 8, finishing up my tour of duty with the 795th Marine Batallion. As I walked down the docks, stooping under the crushing weight of my steamer trunk, I suddenly felt the weight be lifted off my shoulders. Looking up, I beheld her: she seemed then to be at least 8 feet tall, mainly due to the gigantism from which she suffered. Wiry hair the color of coal sprung majestically from her chin, and I’m sure that it likewise sprung from the top of her bulbous head, but frankly I couldn’t see that high.
She held my 300 pound trunk in her gigantic, calloused hands with the ease of a really ripped butterfly that eats Creatin and works out all day, and the sun illuminated her pourous and oily features in a manner that would make Michaelangelo burn down the Sistene Chapel in shame. And then, she spoke. “GIVE ME YOUR TRUNK OR I WILL DESTROY YOU,” she bellowed, knocking me over with a soft, yielding double-bass voice that smelt vaguely of raspberries and week-old Orange Smoothies. I was in love.
And yet I had my doubts. True, she was the woman of my dreams, but not so much the romantic lovey-dovey dreams as much as the sort of dreams that only come as I lay in the mud after an all-night Lysol and Bit o’ Honey binge. Plus, years in the rough halls of a Catholic elementary school had hardened me to the soft ways of the world, and I was convinced that I would never find love.
But as I stood there trying to deny my feelings, she spoke again. “DID YOU NOT HEAR ME, PUNK?” She lilted beautifully. “I WANT YOUR TRUNK. AND YOUR MONEY. NOW. GIVE THEM TO ME OR I WILL CUT YOU,” she continued, pulling a switch-blade from the folds of her dress with the grace of a really drunk Goddess who hasn’t had her heroin fix yet. I was powerless to resist; I had to admit to her that I was smitten.
And from then on we were an inseperable pair. Those days with Andovina were arguably the happiest of my young life. She taught me to be a man; I taught her how to make farty sounds with not only her armpits, but also the backs of her knees. We romped through the slag-heaps of Pittsburgh with joyful innocence, and if anybody yelled at us she destroyed them. We asked each other the pointless, unanswerable questions of love, like “How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?” And when we asked that bastard Mr. Owl for the answer and he not only ate our Tootsie Pop but also claimed that it only took him three licks when he SO TOTALLY BIT INTO IT, THUS NEGATING ALL OUR QUESTIONING, well, let’s just say that Andovina made sure he wouldn’t bother us again. And that nobody would ever find the body.
Alas, those carefree days were not meant to last. Tensions mounted throughout the relationship, as we constantly disagreed on Urban Legend trivia. It all came to a head one day after an Ice Cream bender that rivaled the great Ben & Jerry’s flood of Ought-Six. We quibbled over whether eating Pepsi and Pop Rocks would make your stomach explode; I claimed that it wouldn’t and she claimed that I was a tool of the Man. When I ate the two together at the same time without exploding, I thought I’d convinced her once and for all, but she swore that if I took a tone with her she’d gut me like a fish. I said some things that I probably shouldn’t have, as evidenced by the knife-wound scars that I bear to this day, and at the end of the night I found myself cold and alone.
For a long time, I was unable to get over Andovina. I wandered lost through the streets of my fair city day and night, without a purpose and without a song in my heart. Until it got cold out, at which point I went to my friend’s house and played N64 until I fell asleep. Then I ate the sandwich that he was saving for later, but don’t tell him because he still doesn’t know.
And that is my heart-wrenching tale of woe. But rather than dwell on it in a negative fashion, I choose instead to remember the positive things of the relationship, like eight-hour conversations about the integrity of President Taft and nights full of Lemur-punting. And on Valentine’s Day, I like to remember it most of all, since that’s what the holiday is all about.
But it’s also about moving on, so I set out this week determined to find myself a Valentine. I looked high and low, to no avail. I ran endlessly around campus handing out two-dollar bills and wooden nickels to anything that was breathing and had boobs. I even tried to ask my second girlfriend, Sasha Mekinsky, out on a date, but failed to get her attention. The bad thing about 200-foot restraining orders is that 200 feet is just out of hearing range, no matter how loud you yell.
And so I face this holiday Valentineless. But am I bitter? Nay. Resentful? Of course not. I, Jester, have decided to move on. I, Jester, single 18-year-old straight male, tall with dirty blond hair, slim build and blue eyes, do not need a Valentine to reaffirm my self-worth. I, Jester, disease-free and holding not only a good dental plan but also an air-tight insurance policy, am perfectly content to be single this Valentine’s Day, and remember past loves. And if my Mom calls and asks why I’m home alone on Friday, without a date, I’ll lie to her and say that my girlfriend is sick and I’m taking care of her, because otherwise my Mom might ask if I’m gay again, and that’s always an awkward situation.
I know it’s two days early, but have a Happy Valentine’s Day, everybody. I love you all.