My mystifying Valentine


Valentine’s Day. I used to make trays of heart-shaped cookies with pink icing and hand them out to family, friends, strangers. Until once I left a lovingly wrapped an ribboned package in the postbox of someone I had a crush on. When I coyly asked him, weeks later, whether he’d had any sweet surprises on Valentine’s Day, he said no, nothing. Then he thought for a second and said, “Well, unless you count some biscuits that arrived in the postbox. But I think they were an advertising ploy. Either that, or they could have been a poisoned gift from my flatmate’s ex-wife.”
“What happened to them?” I asked.
“I think they just sat there for a few days, and eventually we gave them to the cleaner,” he said.
So much for coy hinting. I had to find more explicit ways of cracking that particular nut.
The last few years have not involved cookie-making. One smart friend tells me that if you want to play the game of rituals this day presents, the best you can possibly hope for on Valentine’s Day is an unexpected bunch of flowers (or card or Godiva chocolates) from someone lovely and not too scary. The last few years have not involved those either. I was intrigued, however, to receive several Valentine’s text messages. The most peculiar of which said “Hope you have a great Valentine’s.”
I looked hard at the message, but I honestly couldn’t figure out what to do with it. I couldn’t take it out of its cellophane and put it in a vase of water to look pretty and wilt fetchingly over the next few days to suggest the fleeting prettiness of romance. I couldn’t unwrap it and try to figure out which bit contained hazelnut praline. I couldn’t even tear it up and bin it, had I been so inclined.
Can anyone tell me what this means? What exactly is this person hoping? What were they trying to do? What sort of inspired reaction were they hoping to incite? Translations welcome.

About Lisa

I live in South Africa with my husband and two small children, doing things, thinking about things and sometimes writing about them.
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