The Perfect Valentine’s Day Date in a Pandemic
For many lonely lovers out there, Valentine’s Day is a day we wish would just come and go. However, this year, I made a resolution that no matter what, I was going to have the perfect Valentine’s Day. Why would I do that to myself?(someone may ask) Well, have you ever spent the night crying in your car when someone stood you up? That was me last Valentine’s Day. No date, no man, no husband. I don’t even get the luxury of being someone’s divorce. In other words, I’ve never had a successful Valentine’s Day, even when I was in a relationship. So I made it my personal goal to have the best Valentine’s Day ever this year. Are you with me?
The first thing I started doing in January was searching around for potential candidates. I wasn’t going to throw any money at the situation and think that would solve it. For a full month at only $69.99, the perfect man could be mine at The Love Doctor dating site.com. No, thank you. I wasn’t doing it. Whoever heard of them, anyway? Instead, I just hopped on Facebook. The social media site that everybody knows. Facebook dating, ummm . . . I started searching through the stack of profiles within a fifty-mile radius of me. The cute ones I swiped right and the ugly ones I shot to the left. Then I thought, wait a minute. I better start reading their profiles before I end up with some incompatible wacko.
So my first candidate was a man named Geary. I messaged him my number and we started chatting via text. For a few late nights, we sat up and talked to each other on the phone. Nothing raunchy. He didn’t send me any pics of his little friend, either. Thank God! He commended me for my military experience. He had a lot of positive things to say about his own life. We shared the same type of values and he even complimented my hair in one of the pics I sent him. He seemed sweet and kind enough. ‘Sure, I’d love to go out on a date with you,’ I told him.
I met him at a Mexican restaurant that allowed dining outside on their patio. Geary stumbled over to my table, in need of a cane. I held my manners together by only pulling out his chair for him. He maneuvered both of his twisted legs over to the seat and sat down. Of course, he forgot to mention his condition. I managed to get through the date without saying anything crude. Instead, I tried to maintain good conversation. Even though I felt betrayed, I was going to try to enjoy the date anyway.
Back at home, I stared at my computer, feeling defeated. I couldn’t let that one bad date discourage me from trying again. There were at least five million people in the city of Los Angeles alone. I was only asking the universe for one good pick for me. I grabbed my silver MacBook Air and placed it on my lap. I navigate to Facebook, searching for another man who could potentially give me butterflies on Valentine’s Day.
My next candidate was the same age as me. Twenty-seven. Yay! Someone my age. His profile read that he didn’t have children. Well, that’s a shock! Most people have a least two of them by our age. His name was Ricky and I got right down to business with him. I asked him if he wanted to meet in public and he told me he’d like that.
I figured, this time, instead of letting him win me over with the gift of gab, I’d first see how he looked. What kind of impression would he hold on me. Ricky explained that he didn’t have a car at the moment. It was smashed, but he wasn’t injured. So, he wanted me to pick him up from his house. I didn’t have a problem with that. A car wasn’t everything. At least he had a home. Driving to his house, I scanned the neighborhood. I pulled up to an average size house in the nicer parts of Costa Mesa.
When I went to pick him up, a handsome, broad-shouldered man opened the door and climbed into my car. We hugged each other and it seemed he was glad to meet me. He looks pretty decent, I thought. Phew. I let out a sigh of relief. Then he smiled and I realized he didn’t have any teeth in his mouth. That’s okay, I tell myself.
Ricky took me to a famous pizza parlor just down the street. When he started rambling on about his life, I learned that he lived in a sober house. He was from the east side of Detroit, a recovering heroin addict who moved to California to start a new life. Wow! His introduction blew my head off. Still, he was attractive, but not my cup of tea. Most people would have headed for the hills. Yet, I believe in being a sweetheart.
We headed out to Newport Beach for a quick journey along the boardwalk. He caused me to laugh at his jokes. We talked to a fisherman on the pier. Then we went shopping for surfboards and fishing equipment. Before we knew it, we were holding hands and eventually, we kissed. I knew I needed to keep searching, but we were making the best of life.
The Saturday before Valentine’s Day, my phone rang. It was my old military friend named Pierre Williams. We’d deployed to Afghanistan under the same command together. We were side-by-side for most of the time we were in training. My face lit up at the sight of him Face Timing me. Luckily, I was camera-ready from having to sit through so many zoom meetings during this pandemic. Immediately, I answered his call.
I gazed at his smooth skin, big brown eyes, and gorgeous white smile. We hadn’t seen each other in over a year and we immediately started from where we last left off. We were so comfortable with each other that we shared everything and asked each other anything. Unexpectedly, he asked to be my Valentine. Williams asked me what my favorite chocolates were and I told him Hershey’s gold nuggets. He told me he’d make sure I received some. After nearly two hours of Face Time, we hung up the phone. I was stoked. This Valentine’s Day, I’d get to spend it with someone I knew.
I quickly made a last-minute appointment with my hairstylist. I asked her to hook me up with some ringlets so that I could wear them loosely. Then I went to Fashion Island’s Mac counter. I bought eye shadows, lipsticks, and foundation in a hurry. Next, it was the nail shop. They were open for business as long as I was wearing a face covering. I was only lucky that everything was falling into place. It was a hit or miss with businesses during the pandemic. They were either open or going out of business.
Sunday, Valentine’s Day, came around. I was so nervous that I didn’t know what to do with my spare time. I picked out what I would wear for the evening. I sat in a nice hot bubble bath for nearly an hour. I cooked a healthy lunch of salmon, kale and brown rice. In the middle of watching my favorite comedies, there was a knock at my door. The Amazon Fresh deliveryman dropped off a box at my front door. I could tell it was Amazon Fresh deliverer from the packaging. I didn’t actually see the delivery person. It was contactless. So I grabbed the box from my welcome mat and opened it. Inside were my favorite chocolates, a teddy bear, fresh roses and a bottle of champagne. I smiled, already knowing who give me these gifts. I figured he’d come to my door with these in hand, but whatever. The unexpected was so much more romantic.
Six hours rolled around and I hadn’t heard from Williams. I blew up his phone, but he wasn’t answering. I was stunned. Last year, I was stood up on Valentine’s Day and I was single. This couldn’t be happening to me again, I thought. Why am I such a failure that I can’t even secure a Valentine’s Day date? I wanted to call up one of the other guys I’d blown off. Sure, I’ll date you now. Somebody, anybody, take me out on a date. I needed to get out of the house. Even hanging out with my girls would be better than sitting alone, all cooped up in my apartment.
Just then, the phone rang. It was Pierre. He was Face Timing me again. Once I picked up the phone, he apologized, explaining that he was stuck at the airport. His flight had been cancelled. Yet, he didn’t want to miss me on such a lovely holiday. So he called anyway, even though he was certain he wasn’t going to be able to see me face-to-face. That news brought me down, but I chose to be optimistic. We started talking as he had a seat at the bar inside O’Hare Airport. He asked me if I’d received his gifts and I told him I had.
Williams encouraged me to pour a glass of Don Perignon and join him. It was his favorite and he asked me to try it. The bartender at the airport sat down a glass of champagne next to him at the counter. Together, we had our first sip. It tasted like pure paradise between my lips. It was the best tasting champagne I’d ever had. He asked me if I liked it and I reassured him I did. I’d never had a hundred dollar bottle of champagne before. We continued talking. He flattered me with compliments and I assured him he was missed. We ate chocolates and giggled as we recited lines from our favorite romcoms. He kept me laughing at his impersonation of Adam Sandler in Fifty First Dates.
My attitude changed once he lifted my spirits. I almost forgot that I was sitting in my apartment by myself because I wasn’t alone. I ended up staying on the phone with him while he took a shuttle to a hotel and check-in for the night. We rested our heads and had pillow talk. Even though I couldn’t be with him physically, I was with him virtually and the love was still the same.