i love to read. always have.

soon as i could link those consonants, vowels, verbs, nouns, conflict, character, resolution;

i was a goner.

while my friends were playing handball at recess i was convening with jo and amy.

exotic vacations with the family i spent burrowed in a book; my love affair with my stories far outweighed  any canyon, tower, or beach.

until the summer of the required reading list.

upon entering junior AP english, students are given the list: books deemed necessary for the following term.

books never to be discussed, quizzed or essayed, but requisite nonetheless.

suddenly 12 books i had longed to read and intended to devour, interested me as much an infected hangnail.

suddenly the sweet valley high twins started to feel cerebral and seductive.

so where am i going with this?

valentine’s day.

last night i finally realized why i’m not a fan

i love.

i love hunkiest. i love my family. i love my friends. i love strangers.

i don’t need a day of red (my least favorite color) to remind me to love.

force feed me something and i’ll come back with a different recipe not so tasty.

most valentine’s day my mind goes to people like the guy on 17th street living out of his shopping cart, or my neighbors who are splitting up.

i can’t help but see all the heart-shaped mylar balloons and pink carnations through their eyes.

february 14th my heart hurts for those who might not be as lucky as the rest of us.

so, forgive me if i respectfully decline to participate in the valentine’s day pomp.

it feels like required reading for the heart.