Thursday, February 11, 2010

Valentine's Blues

Tell me, tell me,
What makes love such an ache and pain?
Tell me what makes
Love such an ache and pain?
It takes you and it breaks you -
But you got to love again

- Langston Hughes, "Love Again Blues"

It's that time of year again, when the whole world suddenly seems to be infected with a disease of the heart - and I'm not talking about angina. Yes, February 14 is just a few days away, and suddenly folks are in a frenzy wondering what would be the ultimate romantic gesture to assure their loved ones of the depths of their feelings. For teens, it becomes imperative that they buy that box of chocolates, that red rose, that bottle of perfume, for their beaus. You are made to feel like a pariah if you don't have anybody to exchange valentines with. Of course, it's beside the point that the entire tradition of Valentine's Day is an imported concept, part of the hegemony of the West. The merchants make sure that you don't forget this all-important day by displaying enough red balloons, hearts, and roses to make you sick.

That sounds like a decidedly grouchy attitude. Don't get me wrong - I have enjoyed and celebrated Valentine's over the years with full gusto. However, this year, I thought I would give it a rest and let other people make all the fuss. Love, after all, can be celebrated throughout the year, right? And anyway, with all the little disagreements and nitpicking moments that a relationship inevitably goes through, I felt love itself was perhaps a wee bit overrated. Or so I thought.

Then something happened a few days ago.On one of those aforementioned, unaccountable, inexplicable, nitpicking moments, I lost my temper over something so insignificant that I can't even remember what it was all about now. As an experienced player in the sparring department (with expertise in such methods as hitting-below-the-belt-when-feeling-particularly-vindictive)I was bringing it on in full force. And my sparring partner just dodged the blows, with no idea why we were suddenly in the midst of a full-blown fight. Before we knew it, we weren't even on speaking terms.

The next day, wallowing in my self-induced misery but too proud to do anything about it, I was fretting and fuming when I received a text message. It asked me to forgive him. He had done nothing, didn't even know why I was being such a pain, but he begged to be forgiven so that peace could be restored. And he's not without his fair share of pride. That's perhaps the nicest thing anybody has ever done for me. Maybe love does exist.

Just because I loves you -
That's de reason why
My soul is full of color
Like de wings of a butterfly

(-Langston Hughes, "Reasons Why")

Happy Valentine's Day, all the Romeos out there... especially mine :)