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Patrick is standing in the sidewalk with "the guys" (a group on pseudo-musicians) humming a My Bloody Valentine song at a low volume when the girl on his mind walks through the crowd. She's so bubbly, so alive, and full of smiles herself. The busy traffic rushing through the towering skyscrapers contrast her beauty. He notices this and attaches a bit of mental poetry to the observation. This woman, really only a girl, wraps her arms around him and squeezes him tight.
"Hey Pat," she chirps at him. Patrick knows his heart is racing and his throat is tight but he only allows his face to show the slightest sign of recognition. His stubby goatee barely conforms to a slight grin as she pulls back and beams up at him. He greets her gently, devoid of the excitement pumping through his veins. His friends glance over at him, snickering and sneering at the couples show of affection. Ever alert to their opinions, Patrick remembered his creed of strength and silence in all things. His mind demanded that he remember all the other girls. Not his girlfriends, for he had stayed away from the cliche of "relationships", but the terrible girls who had ripped his friends' hearts out and left them helpless. He asked himself what his friends had asked him, "would he be stupid enough to fall into that"? He was not. He would not bare his emotions. She could not make him what he was not. He was independent.
The girl stared up at Patrick and wondered what was going on in his head. She loved looking at his curly black hair and blue eyes. She thrilled at talking to him late into the night. She adored fulfilling his sexual appetite. She loved what they had together. Much like that chilly presence that hung beyond sight this Valentine's Day, it was beyond definition. However, she was going to fix that today. What she had with her would change everything. She was excited. A huge smile engulfed her face, and when she looked back up at Patrick all he returned was a stony stare.
"Guess what," the girl said digging her heels into the ground sheepishly.
"I have something for you! Something special...wanna guess what it is?" Patrick glanced over at his friends. They were looking away, talking about corporate America and how they screwed the populace. They were cool. They knew so much about the world they were depressed. They were smart, that's for sure. They wouldn't let love control them or steal away their ability to function normally, and neither would he.
"No, I don't feel like it."
"Oh, come on Pat! You have to," she whined. She used her infamous pouty face at him. It was so cute. Her eyes were big, and her lower lip was thrust out. It melted his heart. He wanted to wrap his arms around her hold her close. Wait...was he losing control? No, as a matter of fact he didn't even care if he was. He knew deep down that all their nights of kissing and talking had erased this care from his heart. He was caving in. A smile broke across his face.
"Uh...I don't know, a flower?"
"No silly," she said smacking him playfully, "but close...think about what day it is."
What day? What was special about today? It was...it was Valentine's Day of course! He grinned. The day for star-crossed lovers, the day of endless love. This was the perfect day for him and her. His heart was glowing. Suddenly he wrapped his arms around her, embracing her tight. And then he heard something that wiped the smile from his face.
"...corporate bullshit. That's what Valentine's Day is, an excuse to sell things. Anyone who would fall for that is a complete drone of this worthless society!"
He knew his friend was right. Suddenly Patrick's body went rigid and his girl pulled away in surprise. He wouldn't let his life be taken away by this corporate ideal of love. Never. And above all, he couldn't let his friends notice his former transgression. He tensed even more.
"Well," she said stiffly, " what did you want to give me?"
"Um..well," she held out an envelope with a heart drawn on it. She was much more uncertain and held it out reluctantly. Her distrust was justified. The second Patrick saw the red heart, he ripped the card from her hands and threw it to the ground.
"A Valentine's Day card...you obviously don't know me. You're so wrapped up in this corporate bullshit. I'm ashamed to be near you." As the words flowed from his mouth, his heart failed. She started crying and when he saw her tears, he wanted to cry too. And he wanted to comfort her too. But all his friends eyes were on him now. And she didn't even reach to him for solace now, she knew she would find nothing in his touch. She just looked up at him miserably and said, "that was special," turned and walked off to cross the street.
"Nothing like that is special," he shouted after her as she stepped out into the street on the crosswalk. He watched her challengingly as she briskly crossed in time with the little walking man signal. She looked back at Patrick once and when their eyes met, they both felt the need to be together, but neither chose to act. Each could only feel their own unhappiness. She was blinded by the sharp pang of rejection, deepened by the knowledge she held in her heart. Something was very wrong in this situation,and she finally saw that. Patrick throbbed with resentment towards her for embrassing him in front of his friends, and deep down, regret for hurting her. He vowed to himself that next time they were together alone he would talk to her. Make it up to her somehow, he didn't want her to be so sad.
Unfortunately, he never had that chance again. Patrick always expected her to call him a few days after their disagreements, but this time that didn't happen. He wanted to call her or go to her home to apologize, but he didn't know where she lived or her phone number. One night he dug through the phone book searching for her number through his tears. After trying endless names similar to hers, he abandoned all hope and cried on the floor of his dirty apartment. He didn't know how she disappeared, or indeed, if she had actually gone missing. All he knew was that his heart felt more alone than ever, eventhough he didn't fit any stereotype of love.
That seemed so long ago. Patrick remembered her pouty look as her turned a dirty envelope around in his hands. It was almost eerie in the dim apartment light, a haunting ghost from the past drifting in his palm. He sighed and opened it, he had to see what was inside. Her last words to him had been, "that was special". What did she mean? He could not pretend like he didn't care anymore. Patrick slid the card out of the envelope's fond grasp. Some heart and lip shaped confetti fell out, showing his covers in glistening red and pink. He tenderly opened the flowery card and skimmed over the mushy words the card company had printed up. And then with a jump of his heart, he recognized her handwriting at the bottom of the card. He momentarily stopped and remembered how much he missed her...if he could only tell her that now. If he only had in the past. He read slowly over what she had written, "Happy Valentine's Day sweetheart... you're a daddy!" He dropped the card, and felt the tears rush into his eyes. None of the pseudo-musicians were here to quiet the question of "what if?" as he stared into the snowy night.
"God grant me distraction."