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3 Gifts for V-Day for 3 Girls

Dear Kim,

Today is Valentine's Day when conforming sweethearts and would be sweethearts try to demonstrate their love in symbolic ways that make the card and candy industry very happy.

Do you remember Valentine's Day growing up? That awful ritual of having the cards passed out in front of everyone grade school and people trying hard to look to see who was getting the most cards? I always wanted to see who got the least. To see if there was a way I could then sneak some over to them.

(Kim: I remember the cards, but not how many I gave or received. I remember in the third grade how people started to be interested in the opposite sex. Never heard of people being interested in the same sex until years later.

How thoughtful that you wanted to give cards to those who didn't get very many.)

I got enough cards. Enough for me.

I was always a weird kid. I was as popular and accepted as I chose to be. Decided I wanted to be popular when I went to U High since it was a new school. At the time, I thought it was the only way to be. Make a splash so then I could see where I wanted to surface rather than slowly trying to figure it out. I wanted to figure it out before it was decided and figured out for me.

I have had so many Valentine's Days.

I remember the Valentine's Day that I spent with Jim, my boyfriend of the time at the expensive restaurant du jour where we ate too much and had nothing to say.

I remember the Valentine's Day when my father brought home three shiny boxes, each holding a matching dress for my mother, sister and me.

I remember the Valentine's Day when Kathleen and I were first seeing each other. She gave me a Eurhymics CD, a refrigerator magnet with a quote from Napoleon and the possibility of love. It didn't work out and I am so relieved.

So here I am thousands of miles away from the place I call home with indeterminate status with Pseudonym, my lover. But I have lots of valentines. Angie, the dog. The shells—broken and whole. The ocean. And the promise of the day.

Most of all, I have myself. To paraphrase Doug Wright’s play,“I Am My Own Wife," I am My Own Valentine. And my favorite.

Later,

Joan

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2006

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