I'd even gone on a couple dates with a shy poet I'd known as an acquaintance for awhile but had never actually hung out with before. After a few drinks he loosened up a bit and even turned out to be quite funny. Despite the fact that our similar British backgrounds made me nervous that if you climbed our family trees you might eventually end up on a shared branch, I still took him home for a bit of a make-out. He wasn't perfect for me but he was available and living in Toronto, sometimes you have to get creative with the tools on hand.
I was hoping I could manage to keep the poet around to distract me during my Juan-Recovery-Phase but 3 days after our 2nd date I received an email from him 'So I don't know how to say this but I think you gave me...' I gasped and closed my eyes. I'd never received a message like this in my life, what was I about to be accused of?!!
I partially opened one eye and peeked at my computer 'bed bugs'. What?! I opened both eyes to clarify. Yes, he was definitely accusing me of infesting him. Jeeeez, what was this city coming to? I had done no such thing. I informed him I was 100% bed bug free but that if he found any dead rodents in his shoes or pockets, they were mine and I wanted them back. Then I got back to my regular programming of thinking about Juan.
|The unspoken danger of hooking up in Toronto in 2010|
I barely noticed when Valentine's Day rolled around. It wasn't a big deal to me at the best of times and this was not even close to the best of times. At least it wasn't until my phone rang and I saw his name on the call display. Times instantly improved. I leapt through the air towards it and unsuccessfully tried to act cool as I answered in an excited, breathless 'Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!!!!!!!!'
He apologized for disappearing for the past 3 weeks. He explained that he'd been kicked and stepped on in a particularly rambunctious soccer game. Several people had got their cleats into his legs, he couldn't walk, he'd been lying immobile on the couch, that's why he hadn't emailed me again. But he'd missed me. And he wasn't mad at me. And he needed to talk to me on this special day, this Dia de San Valentin because he wanted me to be his, um, his, uh...
'Your valentine?' I asked (ignoring the fact that most people generally give up the tradition of having 'a valentine' in elementary school)
'Yes, I want you to be my valentine!' he answered confidently.
I considered punching holes in his story. Asking why he couldn't have answered my phone calls while lying on the couch. Why he couldn't have sent a text in return. Why I already had a vague memory of hearing about this injurious soccer game before our little fight had happened. But I fought the urge. I could see that he'd needed time to think. And I could see that he'd forgiven me. He clearly wanted to let it go...but not let me go. And that was all I wanted too. I decided it was time to stop dancing around my feelings, to trust that I had no idea what this meant but that in this moment, it was the only thing that felt right.
'Of course, I'll be your valentine!' I told him, 'I have to be your valentine because, well, because I love you!'