Looking back on last Sunday I must confess it was a good day, not that I did anything special but it was St. Valentine day or as the rest of you call it Valentine’s or Lovers day, I don’t know, take your pick. My man and I went to mass and later had lunch with some friends and later headed home for our normal Sunday routine. It ended well with some Netflix and chill as I asked about which pair of trousers, he would be wearing the next day to work, you see, normal day stuff.
As we sat down later that evening after supper enjoying some personal down-time, he paused the movie suddenly and turned to ask, “You are not disappointed we are not out there doing what other couples are doing, right?”
“I am good; I promise you I am okay.” I said.
He however did not look convinced, a part of him thought I was just saying that to ease his mind. You may be wondering why we were not going out this valentine, it is simple, we could not afford to spend so much this year. The impact of 2020 can still be felt in one way or another, and as we are struggling to make it work we can’t afford going away for the weekend or maybe an expensive dinner at some posh restaurant because his business is not stable yet again. Such added expenses to our budget may just derail all our plans and our dreams therefore, I was not going to press him to get me that expensive bottle of perfume I have been drooling over.
Maybe am okay not going out because he takes every possible opportunity to take me out on dates and treat me amazingly so I don’t feel the impact of missing out on valentine. When going out on dates, gifting, and personal time is a part of your daily life, when he does those little things every other week, you don’t need valentines coz you have a valentine every other day of your life.
Later that night, I gave him my gift, he loves shoes, so I got him this pair that I know he loves, definitely because I know a guy. Apparently he knows another guy too; he got me my favorite chocolates, so we were even and happy. As I went to bed that day I was smiling so hard, I wasn’t done with my chocolates and I could not wait to get back to them. The day had been quiet, we had worked together and I felt content. From the smile on his face I could tell he was content as well.
The little things do count
I suddenly realized that sometimes the flashy dates and expensive gifts don’t say it all but a touch here and there goes a long way to reaffirming ones feelings. Valentine’s Day for me was reaffirming. Last year we had a flashy valentine weekend getaway which had schedules and sight-seeing I barely had time for me and him alone even just a quiet moment. We could only be us in the evening after dinner and by that time we were both exhausted from the day’s activities.
So the change this year felt good, there was no rush to catch a ride or see something or someone. We woke up a little late, enjoyed breakfast, walked to the bus stop, and we had a good time with our friends at lunch. Am not trying to get him off the hook for not taking me out on Valentine’s Day but I loved this valentine much better.
So what is valentine about?
Growing up catholic St Valentine’s is a day we commemorate the death of two different persons named valentine who were murdered by emperor Claudius II in the third century. The martyrdom of these two persons is celebrated by the Roman Catholic Church hence St. Valentine’s day.
Valentine has however, changed significantly over the years. I remember when I was younger and valentine was this big affair. The streets of Nairobi would be painted red with all kinds of dresses on the streets. Then there would come the flowers, roses of all colors; short and long stems, real and manufactured, the teddies with I love you cards, people went all out. It was not about the dinner dates or lunches it was about gifting and holding hands. It was about lovers coupling up for once. On this rare occasion that came once a year, couples would kiss in the middle of the street something that was new in the Nairobi environment back then. It was a wonder.
Back when I was in class 3, we got back from mid-term on Valentine’s Day, the elder girls especially those who were boarders came back with bouquets of roses gifting our teachers and staff. This was the first time I learnt that valentine was not really a couple thing only but an expression of love to the people around you. The school’s vases were filled with flowers and the smiles on people’s faces as they presented happy valentine cards to each other were phenomenal and memorable.
Today valentine’s day has become a romantic affair in which people compete on who is more romantic than the other. It is about who can throw off the most luxurious of dates or weekend getaways. I am in no way against this idea but at the same time, I believe we have lost the innate meaning of valentine’s day. The drama and flair of valentine come at a price that prevents us from celebrating love in a special way.
So valentines, yes this day valentine’s how I wish we could understand you more. How I wish we could treat you better with more ease and more understanding. And how I wish we would not overrate you more and just take you slow and easy, you know like the way you take a bottle of scotch.
Anyway valentine’s, you came and went, now let us start saving up for the next one and this time maybe we are going to show up or miss out who knows, the expression of love is what counts.
Happy Belated valentine’s y’all.
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