The yellow transportation device from hell bumped along the road the same way it did every day. I, a veteran of school bus transportation, had mastered the art of laying my head on the window while reading. If you weren’t careful, a surprise bump would catch you off guard and knock your head against the metal bar frames and have you seeing stars. My nose was stuck in some book and our bus made it’s scheduled stops; I didn’t even look up.

Suddenly, the seat beside me sank in with the pressure of another body. That’s weird, I usually get to sit alone.

I looked over into the face that haunted me for years to come. Mr. Mohawk’s hair was blonde (and can you guess how it was styled?), his eyes were warm brown, and his teeth were beautifully white and straight…and I was staring. Throughout that bus ride I made friends with a boy I would go on to be friends with throughout my middle school days and some of my time in high school. I thought he was the most beautiful person I had ever seen, and he was so sweet to me.

We began our friendship during my prepubescent years, where I could count on one hand the amount of guys that were interested in me. Even then, they only would deign to “date” me if I did their homework. This is completely non-fiction; I really couldn’t make that up. A boy, who I also finished high school with, told a girlfriend of mine that he would “go out” with me, only if I did his homework. Then he grew up into an ugly little shit, and I blossomed. Justice for all nerdy women out there.

Anyways, I think I fell in love with him because of the fact that he was so kind to me when every other guy was turned towards the big breasts and short skirts. I also believe that I mistook his kindness and innocent flirtation as interest. I don’t like to think that he led me on for years, but what do I know about it really?

It’s actually very ironic, and if you could see me now I have a grin on my face remembering this, but Mr. Mohawk (who eventually got rid of that hideous haircut) was the first boy to get me a Valentines Day gift. It was beautiful and couldn’t have been more perfect if it was diamond jewelry. It was exactly what I had been dying for since I first locked eyes with his, and I cherished it deeply. It was a hand-drawn picture of a heart with writing on it. It was filled with cute little sayings like, “Be Mine”, etc. I kept it pinned to my wall until one day, out of meanness, my two brothers ripped it apart. It’s funny to think back to the day when he gave it to me. I can picture myself now red with pleasure, and hot with passion. I wanted him so bad; not sexually, I was still very innocent then. I wanted him to love me the way I loved him, and I believed he never knew the way I felt about him.

[Another small digression and anecdote for you, dear reader, is another Valentine’s Day story that has stuck in my memory. I was even younger than my memory’s of dear Mr. Mohawk. I was in elementary school, and you all know that is the age where you have to get everyone a Valentine’s Day card. Well, our class was passing out our Valentines, and I had passed all of mine out and was waiting at my desk for the rest of the class to finish. It just so happens that my crush, at that time, was coming around to the row I sat in. I sat there, pretending not to care, watching as he came down the isle. He gave every single person, in succession, a Valentine’s Day card, but when he came to my desk he skipped right over me. I was so young and fragile and completely devastated that I cried in my mother’s lap that afternoon after school, until my eyes ran dry. Valentine’s Day, as you can see, had never been a happy day for me, unfortunately.]

This went on, me pining after him and him dating other girls while we stayed very close friends, until he eventually moved away and I moved on. You know how guys always talk about how they are “friend-zoned”? Well that was me for years. I never made a move on him, because I wanted him to make a move on me first. That’s the way I was raised, anyways. The boldest I ever was with him was to rub his hair and ask for his jacket when I was cold. Needless to say he gave it to me, and I kept it for a long time after that.

I don’t think of him too often, but when I do it is always with a smile. He never was hurtful to me, and we never parted harshly. He was the kind of love where I daydreamed about him, wrote a beautiful poem dedicated to him, treasured little reminders of him, and was heartbroken often at his frustratingly sweet but distant affections. Before he came into my world like a shooting star with a slow-burning flame, I knew I was a girl. It wasn’t until I fell head over heels with Mr. Mohawk, however, that I learned what it felt to truly be feminine and want to be womanly and desired. That is a lesson I have never forgotten and learned to hone and sharpen, much like a blacksmith sharpens a blade; meticulously and with care.

Today I will be spending Valentine’s Day with the man I love who has quite a job in store for him; topping last year. It was nice, however, to take a couple of minutes and think back on my history with this holiday. Only since I have met Matt have I really ever felt special on this date, or period for that matter. I thank God, and him, for that every day.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!