I WAS 15 when I sent my first proper Valentine’s card to the school heart-throb in the year above me. He must have amassed hundreds of cards that year because he was the cream of the crop and every girl just thought he was the bee’s knees. I even had the audacity to put my newly-minted mobile phone number on the card. Mobiles were only beginning to become a thing and I thought if he knew I had one, he might think that I was a tiny bit cool.
At best, I thought he might send me a quick text. I nearly fell off the chair when I got a phone call from him! He politely told me he already had a girlfriend. This was in the days when an individual’s relationship status could change in a matter of hours, let alone days. He thanked me for the card and that was the end of the conversation.
The funny thing is, I still know this boy today and he is still as wonderful as ever. The girlfriend he had that Valentine’s Day was also lovely and I knew her well so I couldn’t even hate her for killing my chances!
For a good year after the card incident, I avoided the boy, mortified at my brass neck.
Then, one day he was stuck for a lift home and I knew my mum would oblige because she drove me to and from school every day and the boy’s house was not too far out of the way. I kind of wanted to redeem some semblance of credibility, I felt so ridiculously stupid and it was a miserable way to be. On our car journey, we learned that my mother and this boy’s mother were in boarding school together! I was so relieved I had never told mum about the card, it would have magnified the mortification given the connection, apparently the two schoolgirls used to sit together to study!
Years later, long after school, I was asked to give a presentation to a group of teachers in a school about my experience of having a disability in school. Who was sitting in front of me that day!? Yes, you guessed it, the same boy again! He couldn’t have been nicer to me that day and I was sure the initial Valentine’s card debacle was well and truly behind us!
Fast forward another bit and I met him with his mum in a restaurant while I was with my now husband. I knew it was his mum he was with so I went over to say hi. During our conversation, the boy asked me if it was OK if he told his mum about the card!
To be honest, I just burst out laughing, he obviously thought of the card every time he saw me too.
It was clear I was not irreparably scarred from the event, considering I was sitting at a table with my husband! I was slightly relieved I had left the same husband at the table to order while I had the conversation. He often remarks how I could have been an intense teenager!
Of course he’s absolutely right and if he had heard about the card from the horse’s mouth, he would never have let me live it down!
Now, in my settled married life, I can look back and have a giggle at my own naivete. My husband doesn’t have any truck with all the lovey-dovey stuff of Valentine’s Day. I have no doubt at all that he loves me but we are a far cry from the butterflies of years gone by, thankfully! Happy Valentine’s Day.