William S. Burroughs once said that love is the "most natural painkiller there is" and for some reason, today I'm inclined to believe he's right.
I'm not sure if I've ever been truly in love, but every year around Valentine's day it seems that that pesky little feeling comes around again, buzzing in my ear like a fly.
I'm walking around Target on a Tuesday night and red and pink are being used distastefully on every display regardless of product.
Even the sports and lawn aisles have a dash of pink in them, the signal that the "day of love" is approaching. Tell me, what lawnmower needs a pink ribbon on it.
Anyway, there's this giant special section with all kinds of candy. The displays tower over everything creating oppressive shadows of pink and red. The red M & M is looking down at me like a cardboard God, and for a second I see my reflection in his glossy eyes.
I look sallow, like a bird that just fell out of a nest. My hair is a little bit ratted up from all of the coloring I've done to it in the past week. I've been rubbing my eyes due to a faulty contact, so my eyeliner is everywhere. 24 dollars for a stick of that Marc Jacobs high-liner. A completely unnecessary expenditure for someone who is currently rubbing it all over their face.
I look like one of those strung-out teenagers from Trainspotting. Except I'm not strung out, I'm just tired in a Target store on a hapless Tuesday night.
Some people shop when they're bored, I'm definitely one of those people. And as I stalk down the halls of candy, trying to exercise my self-control I see a young couple. Two people who couldn't be any older than me. They're laughing, smiling and clunking around the aisles playfully pushing one another.
For a second there I considered taking my normal course of action: gagging, scoffing and walking off, but instead I just watched them. There was such a beautiful innocence to them. All smiles and laughs, no cares or worries, a shopping basket full of candy and flowers. Her hair done up like a beauty queen and his tie on crooked.
It was like watching a romantic comedy that doesn't make your stomach turn. For a moment it made me smile. And I realized that love is bigger than one or two people. Its more of an inner feeling, and people can talk about that all the time. Loving yourself, loving others, blah blah blah, but until you can watch two people be unapologetically happy without feeling badly yourself, you have no idea what love is.
I was once unapologetically happy. And I'm sure that people scoffed at me, and talked behind my back, making fun of my joy. I don't want to turn into one of those people. Valentine's day may be a joke to me, but that has nothing to do with love.
For me, love should exist every day, in the eyes of your friends and the experiences with your family. It should come to you when you listen to your favorite songs and when you think of your favorite people. Love doesn't exist on Feburary 14th. It's recognized.
As I continued with my sad little shopping trip, I realized it wasn't that sad at all. I got to experience something I hadn't in a while: joy. It wasn't mine, but it was still there to be taken.
Walking out of that store, I passed the globs of red and pink again. This time, they looked a little better than before. Less gaudy and oppressive, more real...sort of like love itself.