This issue is dedicated to Edward E. Levine, September 25, 1912 to Feb 13, 1980.
A whole lot of little girls everywhere are disappointed on Valentine’s Day because they have a crush on the little boy who stepped on their foot while they were waiting for the light to turn green and then laughed at them but it was the most attention anyone had ever paid to them so when Valentine’s Day came around they went through the whole pile of white envelopes from everybody in their chess class until they got to the one with his writing on it and inside there was an ugly picture of a skunk on it and it said when it comes to Valentines — you stink.
And then you walk home in the Springtime looking into puddles on the ground hoping to fall in and somewhere along the line the whole idea of Valentine’s Day gets all gopped up in sticky stuff, large globs of honey dripping, much like rain off full-blown apple blossoming trees which also occur in February and soon if it isn’t white lace, it isn’t love.
And finally you’re a lady. You sleep with your cat, wash between your legs with washcloths, and go to the bathroom with the door closed. Lead weights fall on you. Your parents kissed only when they were drunk. Your sister got married first. You can’t get up in the morning and it’s harder to go to bed at night. Your father is dead.
Your father gave you Valentines every year even when you wore braces and had funny-looking glasses in the seventh grade. He pretended to be mad at you when you talked back but kind of liked it and told you later, in secret, that he thought you were brave. He held you and touched your little body; he danced with you and touched your hair and sang songs and knew he wasn’t a very good Daddy but he didn’t think he was a very good anything.
And then like a carp in fibrillation he gave you on February 13th a Valentine’s present you’ll never forget: a phone call from your Uncle Buddy saying your Daddy is dead. And you spend February 14th in an airplane, dry, while the rest of the goddamned world is in the middle of the blastingest downpour but everything is too loud and the whole goddamned airport is playing lovesongs and when you get off the plane it’s “My Heart Belongs To Daddy.” And you’re clean out of lace. And he’s out of hearts. And you’re clean out of Valentines. And there isn’t anything in the whole goddamned world that is going to bring him back and the knowledge of that stays with you forever creeping up all year and sitting madly on your back every February 14th when little girls everywhere are being disappointed by little boys.