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April 15, 2024

Unexpected Valentines

By Dan Mulhollen

It was an impulsive act, but then, Holly was a impulsive person. One dull February night she realized Valentines' Day was approaching. A wave of nostalgia came over her, remembering past loves. She decided to send a note to each of them.

So she sat down at the kitchen table with the statione ry set her mom got her for Christmas and a cup of coffee. Then she thought back over ten years to her "first".

That was Jimmy from the eleventh grade. A linebacker on the school football team; her first and last jock. She pulled the cap off the roller-ball pen and started to write.

Dear Jimmy,

I don't know if you remember me as you don't seem the type to remember very much. We had sex in your back seat to celebrate the victory over Central. That was nice, but I was not pleased with you describing every moment of that to your friends. I mean it was my first time, after all. But I have no hard feelings and hope you are well.


Marcus was a shy black guy who would be her first conquest. Their relationship lasted the better part of two years. His would also be the one heart she would break maliciously.

Dear Marcus,

There are few things I've done in my life that I truly regret. The way I treated you is one of them. I guess you could say I was addicted to having fun and did not realize that a relationship takes effort and requires sharing control. It all hit me over the holidays that year; the bitch I had been to you. I don't know how many times I picked up the phone to call and apologize. But it would take a few more years before I was mature enough to admit I was wrong. And I was wrong with you.


Next up, Stuart, the older man. Can a twenty-year old coed find love with a just-divorced forty-three year old? Probably not, but the few months they were together were fun. Sadly she was the mature one in the relationship and realized when it was time to call it quits.

Dear Stuart,

I apologize for the abrupt way I left. I suppose I should have left a note or something. But that was the fifth time you called my by your ex's name and I was getting tired of it. I mean, really, Carlotta? How is that even close to my name? But I will always remember the good times, and I'll always be grateful for your having taught me to enjoy early morning walks and that underwear is optional.


Then there was Tony; the DJ. Three months of non-stop raves and intoxicants (both legal and illegal). Holly considered herself lucky for realizing if that was the glamorous life, she did not want to be a part.

Dear Tony,

Yeah, it's me, that "skanky blonde you used to hook up with" (well, that is what your "dude" Marvin always called me). I guess spending the night in a Erie, Pennsylvania jail soured me a little on our relationship. Also I discovered that I do not enjoy vomiting, how silly of me, I know. In any case, I hope you are alive, well, and off probation.


Fredrico had been studying in the United States. He was four years younger than Holly and they had spent five months together. Then the realities of June set in; Holly was now working her dream job as a technician at a local TV station, and Fredrico's future was in Italy.

Dear Fredrico,

I think I saw your picture in a business magazine recently (well there was a guy who looked like you standing with a dozen or so guys most of whom were twice your age). But that was your dream, sitting in a boardroom making billion dollar (or euro) decisions. I always preferred being behind the scenes in a much smaller fishbowl. I think we're both happy with our choice.


Gwen was certainly an exception to the rule. Remembering their lovemaking sessions could still make Holly weak-kneed. Romantically, however, they just never clicked. In time they drifted apart until anything resembling a relationship had disappeared.

Dear Gwen,

A friend recently dismissed our relationship saying "everyone makes mistakes.". But no, it wasn't a mistake. You and I argued a hell of a lot less than I did with most of the guys I've been involved with. We had something together, something I have yet to define. But it was good.


George was Holly's most recent lover. She did not understand how their sleeping together could turn this soft-spoken, generous man into an arrogant tightwad. But it was too soon and no matter how she tried not letting any bitterness show through, her notes kept ending up with things like "We already were having a threesome -- me, you, and your ego." and "No, you are not paying extra for the brand name, you are paying extra for something that does not taste like crap." Finally she left it with;

Dear George,

Happy Valentine's Day. Sorry for dumping you but I think we both know it was for the best.


Holly sat back and looked at the small stack of sealed envelopes. She wondered if there were any common threads, any patterns she was following, anything she was doing to set herself up for romantic failure. Maybe she simply had not found the right person; one who could appriciate her for who she is. Yeah, she decided, we'll run with that.

She mailed the letters the next morning. Almost immediately she became afraid, realizing a possibility she hadn't thought of the night before. What if they reply?

Article © Dan Mulhollen. All rights reserved.
Published on 2008-02-11
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