Strangers on Valentine’s day

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To be or not to be, that is the question – Shakespeare

Winter post December, I feel, is often bittersweet, slow and quiet. The dreamy christmas windows, mulled wine, pop up eateries all fade away. We timidly wake up from the picture-perfect postcard life with a fresh serving of new resolutions and a blob of good old procrastination on the side. Busy weeks pass by like a fast-forwarded dream and then we stop a little; it’s February 14th – a day to celebrate love. 

I stand in a queue with a bottle of roasted peanuts in hand and a dismal five dollar bill. “Next customer please”. I walk up to the cash counter, to a tall brunette. “How are you today? Happy Valentine’s day, if you are celebrating.”

To you as well, I said. She had a thick layer of sparkles on her eyelids, glittering in silver and blue.

“I’m not celebrating.” I could tell. Beneath the dramatic makeup, it was an easy give away. She handed the receipt. “I love what you have done to your eyes.”, I said. She lit up a bit. “It’s NYC, if you would like to try”.

Waiting at the train station earlier that morning, I caught a whiff of romance and passion in the air. After-all, tonight is the night. Crisp red roses, fancy hairdo’s to go with crimson red gowns, last minute scurry for pretty gift wrappers, lots of scented candles – lavender, cinnamon or just anything labelled love with a cupid and a heart and surprise dinner reservations. Oh yes. The evenings are beautiful. The tables are decked with special candles tonight and a complimentary tall vase with roses, carefully placed in the centre.

“Well, it was nice, different from the usual bottle of wine and red roses, you know..” There was a trace of doubt in her voice. She walked past me, phone on one ear, her slender form enhanced in her pencil skirt and suede pumps. Here is a day reminding us about love (or the lack of one). I look at happy faces inside cars at a traffic point. With blow dried hair and red lipstick, she buries her nose into a velvety bundle of red roses. It’s a day of plentiful reflections; reflections of love, happiness, life.

It’s that time of the year again when most of us are in romantic harmony. We dress. We groom. Dine. Drink. Walk under moonlight. Exchange expensive gifts. Get surprised. Act surprised. Kiss each other goodnight and snuggle up in love. It’s a beautiful life. If only we could stop for a while and think – maybe love needn’t be just a one day celebration. It’s sunrise again. Until next year, it’s time to instagram #aboutlastnight and get back to work.

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