my first valentine
charlie brown – charles m. schulz
i was in the second grade in the philippines when i came of age as far as valentine is concerned, thanks to a classmate who sat in the front row of our class. she was really cute, especially when she came to school in a white dress and a flower on her shoulder-length hair.
i thought of giving her a valentine card that year. but when i asked my mother for money, she refused. she said i was too young to be thinking of such things. it was a lesson learned. it was an instance when honesty didn’t pay. i would have had better luck if i said it was for ice cream instead.
she remained my crush all through grade school. whenever she was around, i felt an itch in my heart that i couldn’t scratch. many times she must have caught me staring at her, but she didn’t seem to care. i suppose she got used to being stared at. after all, i wasn’t the only one. the other boys were doing the same thing.
as we moved up the grades, i saw her beauty further blossomed. she was consistently voted class muse.
back in those days, my dream was to have her as my dancing partner during p.e. class where we were taught folk dancing. but it wasn’t meant to be. the teacher handled the pairings by asking the class to form two lines, one for the boys and another for the girls, starting from the smallest to the tallest. those occupying the same spot in their respective lines became partners.
under this scheme, she was beyond reach. she’d be somewhere in the middle of her line and i’d be towards the end of mine. being at the end of the line also meant not having a partner in the event the boys outnumbered the girls. the boys without partners had to contend dancing with an imaginary one. in the event the girls outnumbered the boys, however, the girls without partners were allowed to dance with each other. up to now, i still don’t understand the rationale behind it. but then, i digress.
shortly after graduation, we lost touch. she and her family moved to another province further north. as i went through adolescence, many more crushes followed. i had sent them valentine cards in all shapes and sizes with or without my mother’s permission. some even got chocolates if i had saved enough money from my allowance. i guess they deserved all my adoration. funny, but the one i remember the most is the one who never got a card.