My Once and Future Plan for Valentine’s Day

In Junior High School, the worst kept secret in my class was the insane crush I had on Jasmine Thomas.   The reasons for this crush are irrelevant – can you think of any reasons for your 7th grade crush that have stood time’s test? 

Sometime near the end of January, I decided that Valentine’s would be my day, my time to confirm what was obvious to everyone but me.  I started saving portions of lunch money, my allowance, and snow shoveling earnings to purchase a symbol of my affections. 

The morning of the 14th I left for school early to allow myself time to stop at the drugstore and buy a profanely tacky box of chocolates.   It was hooker red tin foil, wrapped around a heart shaped as large as my 12 year old chest.  The box of confections didn’t fit in my locker so I convinced my english teacher to hide it.  Even though Mr. Rybcyck had just given me detention the day before, he was a sucker for potential – he stashed the candy for me.

Given my twelve year old angst the day alternated between blurring through courses and moving glacial slow.  2:45 would come eventually.

There was no automated bell at this old fashioned Catholic school; the end of classes and the school day was marked by Sister Mary Too Strict ringing the schoolmarm bell.  As the tweenage tide moved left to the door, I moved against it to find Mr. R.  Always a serious look on his face, I gave it no thought when he handed me the package with a stern “Good luck & be careful, Refugee.”

Despite the five minute head tart (typo, but I’m keeping it) I knew that Jasmine would still be around – we all milled about searching for some inner cool.  That and she wore the plastic orange sash of a crossing guard.

When I bounded through the school doors, I looked for Jasmine in her normal spot on the other side of the street.  I took another minute but this box and my courage were burning a hole through me.  I was so impatient that I asked Kathy Blabbermouthson “have you seen Jasmine?”

She took great joy in pointing between the basketball hoop and the maintenance shed and saying “she’s over there…
with her…







In those moments, words really do echo in the space where your heart should be. 

I walked home that day, just couldn’t bear the indignity of sharing heartbreak with everyone who rode the #14 bus towards my house.  I almost threw the chocolates in the trash, in a little creek I passed, but I carried them almost the whole way home.  A mile or so away from home I passed a woman walking in the opposite direction.  “Happy Valentine’s Day” I said before pressing the box into her hands, “I can’t use these anymore.”

I just kept walking even as I heard her shout “thank you, thank you, you really made my day.” Her words did pause my pouting… for a minute. 


All these years later I do not relive that moment, or that heartbreak, though I have been known to occasionally give an anonymous gift to a random woman.  Neither have I ever really celebrated Valentine’s Day – it helped to always have to run a restaurant.  Without that pre-mixed excuse this year, I was especially happy to sign a client for whom I will be preparing a five course dinner.  Here’s the menu:


Lobster & Shrimp Bisque

Slow Roasted Pork Cigars with warm Spinach and Apple Salad

Wagyu Beef Tenderloin, horseradish potato dumplings, Artichoke and Asparagus timbalé

Mezzaluna  Pastry stuffed with sweet mascarpone cheese & fresh berries

Selection of Cheese with Truffled honey, wild berry compote, and toast points



Oh yeah, since it is Wednesday, I took my turn as contributing editor at DC Blogs. Go on  check out that which moved me more than most this past week.

And here are a few links for blog posts I also was digging but couldn’t use for whatever reason:

The Reluctant Grown-Up wrote A very touching story but not sufficiently touching that it makes me want to procreate.

Grateful Dating becomes The accidental advice columnist…

Georgetown Voice examines how the Gender Gap in Elective Politics extends to the Top Hoya Races

Precycling is the New Black according to Twilight Earth


18 Responses to My Once and Future Plan for Valentine’s Day

  1. Lemmonex says:

    Is there ever any reason for a crush?

    the best ones have no rhyme either.

  2. briankainec says:

    Dude, been there and seen that. I remember trying to find Karen G in 7th grade to give a card I bought for her only to find out she was holding hands with my arch enemy. I was bitter as hell for a 12 year old….

    I imagine that the bitterness would not be that much different all these years later, just that we have grown more accustomed to it.

  3. Liebchen says:

    My seventh grade crush (or one of them) became so because he helped me with a science project. I guess that made him a middle school white knight…something like that.

    …and when was the last time you saw this night? did he retain that status?

  4. f.B says:

    My 7th grade crush is probably still amazing. I considered writing, “… because I have impeccable taste,” but the truth is just that she was always a little less obsessed than the other girls with trying to seem attractive. And people get big points for appearing comfortable in their own skin, even if it’s a little more of a show than they’d like to tell.

    but of course she is…

  5. Sara says:

    Truffled honey may be one of the sexiest things I have ever eaten. Great menu.

    Truffled honey is almost like cheating it is so good; I mean how can anything ever be bad when coated in truffled… I’m sorry what was I saying?

  6. LiLu says:

    A crush? I don’t know what you’re talking about. Every time I fell for a boy in grade school I was always MADLY HEAD OVER HEELS IN LOVE.

    You too!!!!! OMFG I thought it was just me.

  7. lacochran says:

    Heartbreaking story. And been there.

    “can you think of any reasons for your 7th grade crush that have stood time’s test? ”

    He’s the only one that got how totally bogus all of this was?

    If that’s not a basis for unadulterated love, I don’t know what is.

    A self-possessed tweenager? That would make him a keeper.

  8. jamy says:

    Since my 7th grade crush was selected because it was necessary to like someone, the reason most certainly hasn’t stood the test of time–it didn’t even stand the test of the 7th grade!

    Thanks for the linkage. I actually have, at times, been a purposeful advice columnist–but I don’t get enough good questions. 😉

    Oh peer pressure, I do not miss thee.

  9. kathleen says:

    adorable. that story reminds me of why i would never go back to 7th grade, even if i was paid real money. it also makes the teller extremely endearing.

    re: your menu… it sounds amazing, but like a ton of food, and at what point do you leave? do things get awkward if the clients become too amorous?

    It is a number of courses, but not a ton of food – it’s all about portion size and timing. To your questions, I think you just gave me a topic for a blog post.

  10. Julie says:

    It’s so funny how you can conjure up a memory like that and magically be transported to the moment your heart broke years and years ago.

    In my case, I left the boy a few jars of red m&m’s with a card in his locker and the next day he told the whole school that I was a fat loser who wouldn’t leave him alone. That still pinches.

    Thank you for posting your Valentine’s Day menu – it sounds utterly amazing. I’m actually shaking my head at how ridiculously sinful it’s going to be. So jealous.

    Heatbreak builds character? Yeah, that’s the ticket.

  11. Andrew says:

    at the risk of sounding risque` – if i’m not mistaken, i believe asparagus may be a bad idea for a romantic night, as well as horseradish. if things go where people would usually like them after a romantic dinner, then those two foods could possibly wreak some havoc later on, when things are more intimate.

    Andrew, you are correct that both of those foods in extremis can produce undesirable, ahem, results. That is only in extremis, however.

  12. Cyndy says:

    I think Andrew meant to spell that word “wreak” or maybe he was heading in the direction of “reek.” I love asparagus. It makes me happy and I just had some. Fortunately so did my husband. If both people eat the asparagus and the horseradish they should be fine. That is one incredibly delicious sounding meal!

    I once had one client who wanted me to cook all of the “aphrodisiac” foods. He didn’t know about his girlfriend’s shellfish allergies until she started choking on the oyster stew.

  13. I love that you did (and still do) give random gifts to strange women.
    I’m not big on the Valentines brouhaha either- when single I like to go to a nice intimate restaurant alone on the day- it seems to make the couples around me uncomfortable and it makes me giggle.

    Making couples uncomfortable on a hallmark holiday sounds like terrific fun.

  14. Lisa says:

    Ouch ouch ouch. As for your planned dinner – how fancy! I hope the client really appreciates it.

    At least I got the story from the whole mess.

  15. ella says:

    i love the way you feel when you’re crushing on someone. 7th grade, college, 37 years old… doesn’t matter – it’s all good.

    The Crush is pure, wholly contained, and perfect thing… until we screw it up.

  16. […] a real pill.  I am rarely harmed by the tweenager spirit that helps me find joy in the simple; but that boy who still hears echoes of rejection can scream with the voice of demons shouting down better […]

  17. Your story is very touching and although your heart was crushed, you probably made that woman’s day.

    After my divorce, I swore off men for awhile and the first Valentine’s Day was painful. I hadn’t realized how commercialized it was.

    Now, that I recently married again, I don’t like to acknowledge the “holiday”. I’d give up that one commercial day for the remainder of the year acknowledging and appreciating my partner.

    ….I love your menu and would love if you share your Pork recipe.


    I think the entire world would be a better place without the aforementioned artificial holiday; and I will email you the recipe soon.

  18. […] You Get Into an Argument on Valentine’s Day… … and my Lobster Bisque can’t fix it, your relationship is really broken.  More on this story on Monday, I promise, but […]

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