Let me start by saying I am not big on Valentine's day for couples, I love it for kids and exchanging cute cards and crafts and Sweet-tart hearts. But working at Hallmark for five years in my teens really diminished any affinity for the holiday I had as an adult. Seriously, the pragmatic side of me would be pissed if I received flowers that were paid for at exorbitant Valentine's day rates. I'd be ecstatic if they were purchased the day after at half the cost. When I worked retail I volunteered to work on Valentine's day because the commissions were huge and I didn't want to go out. I have a horrible attitude when it comes to Valentine's day and expectations having to do with it, but even my dark heart was softened when this happened.
I had completely forgot this happened, then the other day I was driving up St.Joseph's toward Second Street when I had this incredibly vivid flashback to Valentine's Day circa 1996. I hadn't thought about it in 10 years, and the visuals came flooding back. This cinematic super 8 reel played back in my mind's eye as I drove towards Second Street on this narrow avenue.
It was pouring rain and I was on my way to work, I had the mid-morning shift, so there was no reason to be late, unlike my 5:30 a.m. shift that I was often late for. So yeah, pouring rain, and my little Toyota Tercel that my mom and I affectionately called "Thumper" stopped thumping. That car was the bane of my existence, constantly breaking down, always inserting drama and huge repair bills in my early twenties. Now that I think about it, that damn car created a lot of interesting situations for me, I should be thankful for all it allowed and didn't allow me to do. Where was I? Oh yes, trying to get to work at the coffee house.
So Thumper stops. Will not start. I manage somehow to get it to the side of the street, and this part is fuzzy for me: I don't think I had a cell phone. If I did it was an inch thick and was used only for emergencies such as this...but I think I ran back to my apartment on Argonne and called first my mom to see if she could give me a ride to work and help me push it to where I wouldn't get a ticket, and then called work, to let them know my car broke down and I'd be there as soon as I could.
Once my mom arrived she got in and steered for me while I pushed. Down Second Street (a busy thoroughfare and popular shopping area.) In pouring rain. No one helped, but I didn't blame them, it was pouring. I mean step outside and you are soaked kind of rain; who in their right mind would jump out and help me? So I push it down the block and turn down Argonne when a pair of hands land next to mine. Someone has gotten out in this pouring rain to join in the push. And as I look up to say thank you, a familiar voice asks, "how far are we going with this?" My heart is racing just thinking about it. This boy. This boy who weeks earlier told me he needed our relationship to be platonic while he pursued a long-lost love (or something like that). This boy who was supposed to be snowboarding in Mammoth at this very moment. This boy appears in the pouring rain like a knight in shining armor to help me push my broken down car.
That is pretty much the story. I don't remember much after that. We got the car to safe spot, I said thanks, and had to get to work--we went our separate ways. I changed out of my wet clothes and my mom drove me to work, my hair still sopping wet. And I was grinning from ear to ear retelling the story of what happened to my boss and coworkers: "Guess who appeared out of nowhere and helped me push my car?" Even my anti-Valentine's day heart was lifted with this twist of fate. It was one of the most romantic things that has ever happened to me, I can't believe I forgot.
Oh yeah, and I married that guy.
Wishing you a happy heart today.
Feel free to share a story of your own, I may not love Valentine's day, but I am a sucker for romance.