calliope, calliope 2018

on valentine’s

photo credits here

by jolie

piece #1:

for valentine’s day, i was taken out to dinner – an al fresco, borderline ostentatious rooftop restaurant with a personal waiter to boot. he ordered steak, caviar, champagne and nearly every other food that fell under the ideal of an elite Western dining experience. i promptly found a pair of earrings in my dessert, its diamond embellishments sparkling in the light of the elaborate chandelier that hung over us.

he asked me if i liked it, and i responded with a yes. his fingers move to gently hook the jewelry onto my earlobes as i sit patiently. finally, he raises his hand.

the maître d’ briskly strides over to our table. “please take a picture for us.”

“will do, sir.” my fiance hands him the smartphone from his pocket and stands behind me, hands on my shoulders. i adjust my dress slightly. the waiter positions the camera, and begins the countdown. “three, two, one…”

i hear the click of the shutter. a short moment later, the waiter returns the device and carries on with his business. my fiance returns to the seat opposite me, beaming as he inspects the picture. “i think it looks great. shall i post this online with the images of the main course from earlier?”

“of course.” from the instance the hors d’oeuvres arrived to the table till now, the smile has remained plastered on my face. my eyes, meanwhile, travel to my fiance once more, who is scrolling through the multitude of pictures from our dinner, absentmindedly murmuring to himself about whether he should make a collage or post each individual picture.

i take a sip of my champagne, but for some reason, my thirst remains dreadfully unquenched.

before i can set the glass down, my fiance sits upright and shows his phone to me. on the screen is a poster of sorts. “my friends are posting about this right now,” he says enthusiastically. “they say it’s the perfect movie to watch for valentine’s day. shall we?”

since when was there a such a standard of perfection to attain for a day like this? would a flamboyant dinner and overrated show be any preferable to cozying up to each other at home in front of the television and sharing junk food?

is spending the night differently from others a devolution of one’s relationship?

“…alright.” i agree, albeit hesitantly. his face morphs into a smile.

“only the best for my fiancée.”

as smooth as his words are, they only desiccate my throat further.

piece 2:

over-commercialized, pretentious as it may be, i falter when it comes to mind.

with the date around the corner, the places i go are peppered with gimmicks that trumpet the celebration of love. i turn my nose down at them.

for a day that serves no purpose other than for one to lavish their special other with gaudy, extravagant surprises in an attempt to make up for the inadequacy they’ve displayed as a significant other, there is really not much reason to celebrate.

scoffing at the concept of an ideal valentine’s, i continue walking.

but i continue to pass couples, warm hands clasped, their addled eyes mixed with giddy laughs. be it young or old, rich or poor, faithful or unfaithful – when they glance at the person they once professed their love for, what emotions do they experience?

it would not be too difficult to put pen to paper and come up with a sugary sweet answer that would conjure a deceptively silken, mellifluous scene in one’s head – but as flowery as i make it out to be, my writing won’t bring me any closer to the answer i seek.

how does it feel to be loved, i wonder?

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