Ed. Note: I wrote this on Valentine’s Day, even though it won’t be posted until the day after. Just so there’s no confusion.
I have a complicated relationship with Valentine’s Day. I have always professed to hate it, and I do, mostly, but it’s for more complex reasons than I normally admit. I would tell people when asked (and sometimes unprompted) that I deplored the commercial aspects and being told that I have to buy lavish gifts to demonstrate my love. I firmly believed that you could show your love in many different ways at any time of the year, and I didn’t need Hallmark to dictate when I should display my love, damn it. That was all true and sincerely felt, but there was a deeper, darker reason I hated it so much–it’s because it consistently let me down. Yes, even I, as jaded and bitter as I was, I had bought into the promises and dreams Valentine’s day had fed to me, lies, really, during my teenage years and into my twenties. I wanted the romance, to be wined and dined, and to be made to feel like a queen. I wanted happily-ever-after that was the bailiwick of fairy tales and Harlequin Romance novels. When I was in a relationship during those years, even though I would pooh-pooh Valentine’s Day, I would secretly hope that my partner would surprise me with a magical night. It never happened, and each time it didn’t, I became increasingly bitter. Even though I tried to pretend I was fine with having a low-key Valentine’s Day, I wasn’t. In other words, I was a lover scorned being spiteful towards my ex-lover.
During my thirties, I tried to make my peace with Valentine’s Day, even though I dreaded its arrival every year. I was not in a relationship more often than I was, and each Valentine’s Day was a stark reminder that I was single. Our society is very couple-centric, and it’s not like I need another day to shove my alone-ness in my face. I get enough of that wherever I go–you really can’t escape it anywhere. Back in my thirties, I desperately wanted to be in a relationship, although I would have vigorously denied it. I was an independent, strong woman, damn it, and I didn’t need no man or woman to make me complete. Yet, there was something inside me that longed to be one half of a couple. I couldn’t squash the feeling, no matter how hard I tried. So, much of my bluster about Valentine’s Day was because it made me feel my lack of a romantic relationship keenly, and I hated feeling that way.
Ed. Note: It’s been a week sine my baby has died, and it still hasn’t completely sunk in yet. I wrote this post several days ago, but I haven’t been able to publish it yet. I don’t know why. I thought now was the right time.
My Raven died Saturday night. I think it was a heart attack, but I’m not sure. Ian tried to revive him, and we rushed him to the Emergency Vet, but it was too late.
That’s how I’ve started the messages to my friends about what happened to Raven. Writing it again doesn’t make it any more real, nor does thinking about it.
The first time I saw Raven, nine years ago, he was named Midnight, and in his picture, he looked like a scared, scrawny black cat. I noticed that he had a brother, also black, named Shadow. They were nine months old at the time. Shadow’s bio said he was psychic and knew that I was looking for two cats. I fell in love immediately because I WAS looking for two cats, and these two looked exactly like what I wanted. In addition, they were going to be at an adoption fair at the PetSmart/PetCo in a city near me the very next day. I felt it was fate, and I hurried to see them at the adoption fair.