In January, 1997 I started dating a very cool, preppy, musician-type named Jeff.
Jeff and I met at a church function where he offered to teach me how to play the harmonica to which I responded, "Nice. The mouth organ? Pfft!" and flounced off in a neo-hippie huff. Jeff has never been a quitter and within two weeks we were dating.
February 14, 1997 was our first Valentines Day. I hadn't really dated seriously before Jeff so I was really nervous. At 17 years old I had a lot of issues with my self esteem (still do) and was pretty sure that even the slightest misstep on my part would open the eyes of this guy that even my dad referred to as a "babe magnet" and he would run screaming, arms flailing, as far away from me as he could. So I went out and bought him a goofy card, a hideous grey, striped shirt and an big, vinyl inflatable heart that said "Happy Valentine's Day".
Jeff, who is still more romantic than I am, arranged a candlelit dinner of Kentucky Fried Chicken, gave me a gorgeous silver bracelet and a balloon that read, "I Love You". He even penned the word "man" on the balloon after I Love You, in an attempt not to rush things. However, the most enduring gift that Jeff gave me that Valentine's Day, aside from a deep hatred of Kentucky Fried Chicken, we both got food poisoning, and a new respect for Cupid's pseudo-holiday, was a song. Jeff, being the musician- ype that he was, wrote me a gorgeous song for Valentine's Day and as if it was yesterday, I can remember sitting on the pool table in his room trying not to swoon as he sang and played.
Just over five years after that first Valentine's Day I married that preppy, musician-type guy and as a wedding gift he had that song, and two other songs he written just for me, produced and put on a disc. This Valentine's Day will mark our fifteenth Valentine's Day and even though some have been spectacular and others have been more laid back I am always reminded of that day, hanging out in my new boyfriend's basement listening to him sing me a love song and thinking don't know why you bothered to write man on that balloon, I am so totally in love with you.
Now, for the first time ever, I give you Sunshine.
Happy Valentine's Day!