Valentine's Day Virgin

By: Penny Wylder



“Thank you very much,” I say with a smile as I hand the woman her absurdly large box of chocolate. Finally, a breather. I’ve been going non-stop for what feels like hours. This is always the busiest time of year for the ‘I Love Chocolate’ stand. Valentine’s Day is in three days and everyone is stocking up, buying gifts for their special someone.

I haven’t been stocking up on chocolate. Vodka is a different story. I'm going to need that in a couple of days when I'm home on Valentine’s Day alone. Again.

I just missed it again this time, too. Bryan broke up with me a week ago, and even though it wasn't great, I would have liked for it to last through the holiday. I've never had a boyfriend for Valentine's, and it sucks.

Iris keeps telling me that it's not my fault, that the guys I'm seeing don't seem to realize how great I am and that's why they keep leaving. That's pretty hard to believe when the same thing keeps happening over and over, but God bless my best friend for trying to make me feel better whenever I call her. She ends up consoling me while I cry into a bowl full of ice cream.

I take a chocolate from under the counter and bite down. Cherry filling. Not the worst, not the best. A kid running away from his father knocked into the cart and landed on this box. I had to damage it out anyway, the non-squished chocolates might as well not go to waste. It's the most excitement I'm going to get this weekend anyway.

It's Wednesday, and Valentine's is Saturday. Which means we'll probably be twice as busy as we normally are. And of course, I have a shift that day. Retail, go figure. I can't even just stay home and ignore the fact that no one wants me.

If Iris were here she'd smack me for talking to myself that way, but I can't help it. I work at a chocolate stand. All I do is see people buy little gifts for their significant others. And they all seem so happy while they're doing it. Is it so wrong that I want the same thing?

Of course it's not wrong, but deep down I know what the real problem is. I look around, even just thinking the thought makes me anxious. Somehow I've made it to twenty-five and I’m a virgin. That's the problem. I'll meet a great guy, and we'll get along, and suddenly when I tell him that I still have my V-card, he freaks out and leaves.

I don't get it. I thought that guys were supposed to love virgins. Primal instinct and all that. But every one I've encountered gets the same uncomfortable look on his face, and within days, they're gone. Bryan was the same. I cried a little, but I'm mostly over it now. It's happened too many times for me to expect anything different. There was a feeling in my gut when he called me and said he wanted to meet. Like suddenly I just knew.

A sigh escapes me. I'm just cursed. Something somebody did generations ago has made it so that I can't have a boyfriend on Valentine's and that nobody wants to fuck me. I know I'm a virgin but I'm not an idiot—I think I could be a pretty good time in bed if someone actually gave me a shot.

There's a couple walking by the cart, and they're perfect. She's wearing a red dress that looks too formal for a Wednesday but also perfect for her. He's tall and is laughing at something she said while her arm is tucked into his. The way he looks at her, I have to look away. I want that, and I hate that I do. I hate that my chest aches when I see people like that who seem so blissfully happy.

I lean down on the cart, eating another chocolate, caramel this time. Just once I want to be wearing the red dress. I want to be the one who's funny, who has someone look at me like that. We could go dancing, and in my mind a ballroom unfolds with perfect fancy music and people dressed from a different era. I'm swept across the dance floor by a tall man in a brilliant tuxedo, and I can feel my stomach do a little flip-flop as he dips me backwards. There's a smile on my face even though I have no idea who he is.

The vision is faceless, but it's the feeling I want. That sensation of being completely loved and accepted and cherished. I've never had that. Not in the way I hoped. I had a couple boyfriends who came close, but even if I pretend otherwise, I'm a romantic at heart and I want nothing more than to be swept wholly off my feet. But if I continue to fall for guys who make up excuses for why they don't want to be with me, then it's never going to happen. They'll pretend it's something else, but it's always the sex. I'm not stupid.

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