Valentine's Day is tomorrow and my Facebook feed is already filled with images of flowers given, most frequently, from male to female. There's also an accompaniment of singles moaning about singleness or declaring that they're happy to be single. There's a few people furious, spewing hate at Hallmark. Then there's a few people who get to spend there first Valentine's day with this special human in their life or who can tell me that they've been at it for decades.
And there's me.
Yes. I'm still single - just as I've been for 23 years.
This isn't really a topic that needs to be discussed right now. I'm in the place I need to be right now on February 14, 2014.
However, I do want to write about that one time someone got me a rose.
I also just want to throw this over now so I don't have to go on about it after the story. I know that a little flower shouldn't have made me so valued -- but it did. I was 16 and it did. And, truth is, if you get me a flower now (from the farmer's market or your garden, especially), I'll still feel oh so loved for the death of those blossoms. I know some folks got issues with cut flowers. I love 'em.
This blog is for documentation and so now, I'm in the mood to document a moment from 5 years and 9 months ago.
Back in May 2007, I was living the life of a 16 year old running around Italy with about 60 other teenagers representing all corners of our globe. It was probably the most idyllic way I can imagine spending May as a 16 year old human. It was this year that set my feet a'runnin' in a rhythm that has yet to stop.
One of the nights (it was the 18th), the entire crew topped off a day at Lido De Jessolo out at some sort of karaoke outdoor bar venue place thing. They would play music and you would sing -- that's karaoke, right? After the singing we started to tramp our way back to the hostel when our path was intercepted by humans selling roses.
During the course of the year and even that short Eurotour trip, a lot of the exchange students had partnered up. Throw a bunch of hormone-raging teenagers together for a year without parental units and then ship us off to Italy for a few days and, well, you can imagine what happens. As you can likely guess, if you know me at all (and definitely if you knew me when I was 16), no one partnered up with me. There was no romantic fling. No one even remotely close.
Which is fine. This is a good thing and I was just as ok with it then as I am now about being ok about it then.
But then, well, the flowers were being bought and distributed.
The girls that got the flowers were what might be classified as the "pretty" girls. They dressed nice. They looked nice. From my perspective way back then (forgive me), the flowers were for the desirable girls. I certainly didn't feel desirable. I'd love to say that I was like, "I don't need flowers to make me feel loved!" but it was late at night, I was under the influence, and I was 16. I wanted someone to give me a flower and there wasn't really a way that was going to happen.
And then Jorge walked up to me and handed me a flower.
I've written about Jorge before but not in a mighty long time (3.5 years) so it's time I re-write about him. When I was in Switzerland for a year, Jorge, from Ecuador, quickly became my brother. We landed ourselves in the same village and became best friends. We spent countless hours together and became close, despite the odd duo we made. There was never any romantic notions to our friendship. We were just friends. He would call me Little Sis and he was my Big Brother. Simple as that.
And now my Big Brother was giving me a rose and that meant all the world to me. I'd like to say that 16-year-old me would feel great about herself without a flower but, truth is, I felt so wonderful to be able to carry a rose around town. I had a rose! It was tangible evidence that a friend loved me.
Edit: Ok, there was the guy in Russia last that took me to the floral shop and wanted to buy me "any flower you want," but I got a cactus instead...