HALLMARK CAN NEVER SAY IT ALL! HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY By Mindy Ohringer

There’s a beautiful Dar Williams song, “February”, which captures heartbreak in winter.

“…The everyday turned solitary, so we came to February…And February was so long that it lasted into March…and found us walking a path alone together. You stopped and pointed and you said “That’s a crocus.” And I said, “What’s a crocus?” And you said “It’s a flower.” I tried to remember, but I said “What’s a flower?” You said, “I still love you.”

He’s dead at fifty-six, a college crush admired from afar. He had beautiful bluish-green eyes and a soft beard. He was three years older, but only a year ahead academically at Columbia. He was way too cool for me – or so I thought. He died a year ago, the information surfaced in my alumnae magazine, discovered only because I read about the graduates of other years…Only the people older than me. The younger ones are not particularly interesting as I’ve been there and done that. He was divorced and living in northern New Jersey. These days, there’s nothing about a divorced Jewish guy from upstate New York and living in New Jersey that would intimidate me. Clearly, I’ve changed. There’s a Facebook Remembrance Page. He had progressive politics. We even have a mutual friend. Someday Facebook will be a cyber-graveyard and he’ll be in one of the earlier plots. I haven’t thought about him for many years as there was no point. I’m sure I barely cast a shadow upon his illuminated landscape. Perhaps he glimpsed me and my best friend blushing, whenever he and his cute friend in a black leather jacket, passed by. I know better now. When it comes to men, I am no longer silent. I ask for what I need and seek out what I want.

It’s a lousy time of year. I’m simultaneously adrift in February 2008, February 2011, February 2014, and February 2018. It’s only the latter that doesn’t bring me acute pain. In fact, the present promises rebirth. There are hints of a phoenix rising from the ashes, an avian entity and theoretical construct providing much more comfort than any emotional support peacock ever could! But I still need to excavate dark, frozen places as winter signifies a countdown to heartbreak and, at some level, this will never change.

In February 2008, I was in the early stages of writing my novel. I watched the improbable ascent of Senator Barack Obama’s presidential campaign while struggling to make sense of why my trust in a treasured comrade in arms was suddenly betrayed. In February 2011, my father battled pneumonia and nearly died while I was vacationing in Florida. In February 2014. my dearest friend was dying of breast cancer. I slept over at the hospice, keeping her company until she could die at home in accordance with her wishes. In February 2018, I’m finishing my novel “The Wife in Winter: Seduction of The Muse” and finding the courage to face more of the rejection that’s part of the writing life. A short story was passed on this weekend. There will be more to come. Whatever the disappointments may be, they cannot compare to the losses I’ve sustained. More importantly, they cannot negate the work I am on the verge of finishing.

The novel has been a labor of love. Completing it is my Valentine’s Day gift to myself. It is a love offering to the universe. The writing is an entreaty, an exhortation across frigid starlit skies, an eternal encapsulation of enduring political advocacy and passion…VALENTINE’S DAY WARNING: Eros really does shoot arrows! I have been struck three times although, in reality, perhaps I have been the one who drew back the bow? Yet, I’m the one who was overwhelmed with desire and left utterly vulnerable, the one who has deeply suffered and pined.

The First Arrow: Reader, I married him. The Second Arrow: Remains embedded in my heart. The Third Arrow: He died. I mourned, read Proust, and expressed gratitude for having been, however briefly, someone’s Perfect Woman. 

THWACK! TWANG! OUCH! HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY! 

 

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