CAMBRIDGE, MASS – With already three years tenure under her belt with boyfriend Mark Brooks, I ask ‘Katie’ what’s left to be excited about this coming Valentine’s Day, days away? If her answer could be shortened for brevity’s sake to a single word, it’d be in my estimation: validation. But in her own words: “All we want is for your world to revolve around us for a day.” The ensuing silence stings after I flippantly interject reminding Katie of Galileo’s heliocentric view, – a view that similarly Galileo (judging from the sudden change in her demeanor) I came close to paying for with my life. Despite my badinage she continues unperturbed: “We want to know that our partners are willing to indulge in the Valentine’s Day charade for the sake of our happiness.”
In retrospect, perhaps asking Katie moments after such an impetuous demand to go into detail with what she had planned for Mark, was ill-advised. I had already forgotten Galileo’s profound discovery which wasn’t that the earth revolves around the sun in as much that for every system there is only one focal point. After the passage of 900 plus days hurtling through the recesses of shared memories and time together that the focal point was Katie. After a lengthy pause, Katie admits to having purchased a cute Papyrus Valentine’s card. Pressing forward, I proceed to inquire if Mark even likes cards? Subsequently an exasperated Katie, in a tone approaching a shout, tells me: ‘I’ll just share my fucking candy with him, alright?!’
Katie’s declaration was certainly an affront to my sensibilities. However, a sudden shock can allow our minds as it did in my case, to fashion associations that were always waiting, hovering close by in the vicinity of our thinking. Few know that St Valentine is the patron saint of the plaque and epilepsy a disease in his time thought to be caused by demonic possession. Feb 14th is the closest experience to a plague of demonic possessions. Where else can one witness adult men cower in supplication to proffer gifts to the unholy despot of their own making, all for an empty promise of her acting agreeable one day or penultimately not having a headache when they find themselves in need?