First of all, Happy Valentine’s Day! And to me, and all y’all single people — I wish you a wonderful self-loving day of loneliness. So Fappy Valentine’s Day to you, good single people of planet Earth. Know you’re not alone.
Here’s a video I made one year ago to celebrate my loneliness on Valentine’s Day. I swear, I’m working on the next in the series, but the restaurant we were working with bailed on me so I’m still looking for a new location.
As I wither away from the lack of all human contact, I’d like to tell you all a story. I’ve never told this to anyone.
Some years ago I was on a Valentine’s Day dinner date at Alinea, also known as one of the most expensive, lavish, and best restaurants in the world. Everything was going smoothly, and she seemed happy. We laughed, joked, reached across the table and held hands like any happy couple. When I looked at her, I saw our future blossoming in the reflection of her eyes.
I saw this:
We’d wake up late on Sunday mornings and have brunch in bed while watching Say Yes to the Dress while eating Eggs Benedict and waffles. Well — Eggs Benedict for me, waffles for her — she hated the taste of Hollandaise sauce. It was a textural thing, really.
I pictured us traveling the world, on risky morning hot air balloon rides in the rugged lands of Cappadocia, Turkey. We’d slip away into izakayas in Tokyo, drinking until the sun came up.
We’d get a dog, name it Marley, a picture-perfect Golden Retriever puppy that we’d take to a park to run around, playing with French Bulldogs until it tired itself out and fell asleep in our arms. I’d make jokes about how Golden Retriever puppies were the Aryan race of dogs and she’d laugh at my jokes, even though I’d tell them over and over again.
I saw children. Three girls. Late sleepless nights, holding a crying infant and consoling it so she’d go back to sleep, while I got the other children ready for school, frazzled. But our love would go stronger.
I could see us growing old on the coast after the kids moved out, staking their own fortunes in something they loved.
But it wasn’t going to happen. After our picture-perfect dinner was over and the waiter was clearing our table, she looked down at the table, a melancholy expression on her face.
“Dannis,” she said, “I have to tell you something.”
My heart started thumping, loudly. I could feel the blood coursing through my veins, rushing into my ears like the sound of the vast ocean.
“I don’t know how to say this, but I’ve met someone else, and I think I’m going to get married to him.” She looked me in the eyes. The silence felt like an eternity. I thought I was going to throw up. “We’ve been seeing each other for four months.”
Finally, I spoke. Except the words came out louder than I expected
“This can’t be happening. This is some kind of joke, right? Four months? Four fucking months?!” The older couple next to me turned and stared. I don’t know what I said after that, but it was loud and angry and full of expletives. The waiter came over.
“Sir, you’re going to have to lower your voice. Even our kitchen staff can hear you,” he said, with an apologetic look on his face.
So I shut up. I shut the hell up. As we waited for a cab outside in a dark silence, I could see the swollen pucker of her lip. Maybe it was an expression of remorse, I couldn’t tell. She motioned at the ATM vestibule, so we walked over. I felt sick. I stayed outside as she got her cash, staring at the back of her head. My eyes ran over the curves of her delicate neck, the neck I loved so much, the one I stole kisses from while she was asleep.
As she turned around to come out, I noticed her eyelids were puffy. Maybe she did feel terrible inside, that she knew how deeply she had hurt me. She pulled on the door. But it had somehow locked. She was trapped, and she slammed her palms against the glass, over and over. I found out later she had a bad reaction to the shellfish, and it wasn’t remorse on her face. It was an allergic reaction.
I turned around and walked five miles home in the snow.
But the thing is, things are all right now. I’m finally doing okay. I’ve come to terms that she never loved me to begin with.
Because I made this whole story up.
Happy Valentine’s Day, suckas!