He showed up at my third floor Avery dorm room (UNC-CH) dressed in a coat and tie. It was Valentine's Day, 1987. I immediately thought, I'm under dressed, no doubt, in stirrup leggings and an over sized sweater. I need to change, I said. No you don't, he said, you're dressed fine. We had only be dating 4 months so I had believed him when he told me he was taking me to a restaurant where he knew the owner, the kind of tale I would learn to suspect as time wore on.
After he pulled my roommate aside to let her in on the "secret", they convinced me that I didn't need to change. Holding hands, we were down one flight of stairs when he abruptly stopped and said, I forgot my wallet, and headed towards his suite to retrieve it, me in tow. The door opened and I was greeted by a dank candlelit room, aromatic with Chinese take-out (or was it the funk of of he and his two roommates?). He had his parent's china, borrowed from his last trip home, laid out over a cloth covered trunk. We ate and then slow danced to tunes played on his cassette player, taped from the radio earlier in the week. His roommates were sweet to accommodate him. Of course, they were boys with raging hormones, so I'm sure they were expecting reciprocation when they were in the same position.
I don't have any vivid recollection of any Valentine's Day after the first, apart from the one where he showed an hour late, his just-bought greeting card in hand, and found his carefully planned dinner(and me)cold. But this is our 20th together, something to celebrate. We have never felt the need to submit to the commercialism of the Day but have always done some little thing. We have said that we will save the celebration for this weekend, when we will be somewhere sunny and warm, without our boys. Perhaps, though, I'll find some way to mark our 20th VD together. I'll have to think on it, but if all else fails, I'll take a shower and we'll have sex on a school night - that's outside the norm. Sad but true.