Forty two years ago, on February 14, I was called out from my math class because I had received a telegram.
The paper kind, with just a few words, and traditionally reserved for outrageously important communications.
All eyes were on me as I opened it. Did someone die? Actually, I don’t remember even wondering what was in it, just the huge amount of attention that distracted me from whatever I might have been feeling.
It came from America. From New York. Which to French teenagers is more American than anywhere on the planet.
Once I peeled off the front flap, there were words, on slightly blurry blue ink.
Words in English, sweet words, words of love and delivered in a way that set the bar pretty darn high for the rest of the Valentine’s Days of my life.
“John di Pierno.”
Originally from Puerto Rico and living in New York, we had met in Haiti and spent a puppy love evening together in the rain. I was 14 and I think he may have been 18.
When my parents took me to New York a few weeks later, he had asked for their permission to see me again. We walked around Manhattan holding hands and I remember feeling weird about him saying that his dad worked for the mafia. As a French girl, he might as well have told me that his dad was a unicorn.
That was it.
Then, months later... the telegram. The over the top telegram.
The years passed and Valentine’s Days came and went. I can count on the fingers of one hand the ones when I was not attached to a romantic partner on that “special” day.
I never got another telegram but one year, I did get cashmere panties, which might be even better (these came from a man who was one day old when I opened “the telegram.” Life is funny that way.)
This year is one of these solo Valentine’s Days and I love the Essence of Ease that is imbued in it. No pressure, no expectation, just the knowing that my heart has loved and been loved. A lot. and still does.
May today be sweet and just right for you. may you remember how loved you are.
It’s possible that I still have this telegram, somewhere.
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