Yes, I bemoan the day every year. Even when I’ve been in a relationship and actually been in love, I have always felt that an obligatory recognition of one’s coupledom didn’t mean much. (Not to be a total cupid basher, I do like the red hot heart candies. Had I planned ahead, I could have bought a bagful and wolfed them down by the handful, not having to share and not having a mate to gaze with that knowing look of revulsion.)
Thankfully, this year’s Valentine’s Day proved rather uneventful. Had it not been for a plate of pink-frosted cupcakes in the lunch room and an odd display of cut-out hearts and champagne flutes at my regular bakery stop, the occasion might not have registered at all.
But then I picked up my schnauzer from doggy daycare after work. Clive, the owner, leaped from his seat and fiddled with what I assumed was some paperwork as a chorus of small-dog yips attempted to instill fear in me. Go away. Go away. Go away. I waited patiently for my pooch to be released, a dopey smile plastered on my face. The delay mildly perplexed me since the end-of-day handoff is usually so quick.
Finally, my dog came running from the pen and Clive handed me a red heart-shaped sucker and a Valentine’s Card, the kind kids buy in packs of ten at the drugstore. I thanked him, loaded up the car and allowed myself to fantasize about the card as I drove away.
I feel slightly ashamed to objectify my doggy daycare provider, but Clive is an enticing piece of eye and ear candy. The first time I dropped off my dogs two and a half years ago (once has since died), I was completely taken aback by Clive’s hunky good looks. He’s in his early thirties, stands about 6’2” and has a nicely not overdone gym body. Add the English accent and I had a hard time looking directly at him for the first year. (I’m more bashful than a certain Dwarf when I am attracted to a man.) Many of the women who drop off their dogs seem to linger during the dropoff or pickup, but I still cannot have a prolonged conversation with him.
Dating Clive is not a real possibility for any of us who support the business. Clive wears a wedding band that I seem to spot every day as I look downward, unable to maintain eye contact. Still, a quick trip to Fantasyland is an amusing diversion when I have a clear understanding of unattainable reality. Clive’s gentle head-tilting demi-wave is a lovely morning sendoff each morning as I head to work.
In my car, I imagined for a moment that dear Clive, he of the boyish charms, had purchased a kiddie pack of Valentine’s just to charm me with daring disclosure of true infatuation. Yes, Clive! I feel the same! Thank you for finally telling me how you really feel!
The first red light came all too soon. I opened the silly little card and read the message:
Yes, I knew all along what it would say. In the doggy daycare world, getting a card from your dog is entirely plausible. A note from an amazingly sexy man? Pure fantasy. Still, the temporary deception left a smile on my face. And, on February 14th, that was more than I could have asked for.