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Just to be clear: I don’t like Valentine’s Day.

Never have. It’s just another made up event encouraging people to spend, spend, spend.

Plus, I’ve never actually had a good V-Day, even if I’ve been in a relationship. Never. A bit like New Year’s Eve, it’s generally a fizzer, I find…

And if I was at all superstitious (I’m not), I’d probably say I cursed Valentine’s Day for myself, long ago.

Coz the last time it was Friday 13th before Valentines Day, I was about fifteen and I broke someone’s heart.

Life had moved on since N. Sorta. I mean, still, no one talked about it. I was ashamed of what happened, though I didn’t know why. I muddled along…

And despite my general broken-heartedness, I’d somehow ended up with another boyfriend, T.

He went to my school but I’d never noticed him ’til one of my friends did.

T’s friends were nerds (I was in the ‘weird/outer’ group with links to the nerds and the popular kids), and if it wasn’t for his tall, dark ‘n’ handsome good looks and sporting prowess, he would’ve been considered a nerd, too.

But my friend P noticed him, and I realised – yeah, he is cute. Somehow P and I both got invited to his birthday – a co-ed pool party in his backyard.

We played childish games meant to titillate, as in the pic below… (T is the guy, my friend P is the girl). Getting so close and personal at that age was endless amusement.

And throwing pretty girls in the pool…

And then there was Truth or Dare, played out with a bunch of us in the pool.

T took a dare and was dared to kiss me (guess his friends knew he liked me). Embarrassing, in front of a mixed crowd, but we did kiss… I have no idea why he liked me instead of P (to my mind she was much prettier).

After the party I was wondering… hmm, how to get to see him again? Someone suggested the old ‘scary movie’ trick. Y’know… sit next to the cute guy and lean towards him when things get scary. I invited him to come and see Alien with me.

It worked.

Before long, we were hanging out. Optimistically, he tried to teach me tennis (yeah… ummm… I tried to tell him how clumsy I am). More hanging out at school, after school, playing touch footy, swimming in his pool…

Then, there was a date at the roller-disco skating rink (think 80’s, Nutbush City Limits and Time Warp played without fail) – I borrowed my sister’s zebra stripe singlet and matched it with my denim mini, prompting my parents to label me ‘jail bait’ before I walked out the door (where was their common sense??).

T was gentlemanly to a fault though. We’d only kissed a few times. But that date was sort of our ‘coming out’ to our school mates as a couple. T was bailed up by some guy wanting to know if we’d rooted yet (terrible Aussie slang!).

Sadly, T’s fatal mistake (for our relationship) was relaying that conversation to me. Between the lines, I realised that he was hoping for sex. Not straight away, but at some point. Soonish.

I couldn’t do it.

We’d been going out for a few months, from the end of the year and over most of summer. February was approaching and I was getting more and more worried. Unlike N, T never pressured me. But just the expectation was enough.

He sensed something was up. I wanted to tell him, I did… but I still felt pretty bad about everything that’d happened, and I just couldn’t share it.

So I broke up with him in the playground ’round the corner from both our houses after school. He, with his friend D in tow, and me with my best friend, M. He cried.

He’d been thinking about ‘us’ as a long term thing, while I’d just been trying to get through the day.

His little sister cried too, so I was told when we met up the next day (V-Day), at his insistence. He’d written me a letter, and stubbornly gave me the card he’d made (with his little sister’s help) and a necklace, packaged in a box on which he’d drawn a heart and written Don’t open unless you’re my Valentine.

But I had to open it anyway, feeling guilty and horrible… because he asked me to.

The letter (long since discarded, it made me feel too guilty) said, amongst other things, perhaps it was the force of evil that tore us apart on Friday the 13th, but I’m hoping the power of Valentine’s Day can overcome that and we can get back together.

We didn’t, though. I couldn’t.

T left my high school to go to a private boys’ school – guess his parents thought it gave him a better shot at higher education or something.

I saw him once a couple of years later, working in the local video store for extra cash. He was happy, had a girlfriend.

Somehow I’ve never forgotten him. I see that sweet, brief relationship as an innocent victim of the fall-out from my first boyfriend. Often I’ve wished I could find him (Facebook turns up nothing on T, but plenty of other people I wasn’t friends with at school) to apologise (tho he’s probably long forgotten me by now).

Because I never got to tell him why I’d broken up with him. That it had nothing to do with him, and everything to do with the sad little wounded Self I was carrying around. And that in fact, he’d been a great boyfriend, a really gorgeous boyfriend. Possibly, I’d even felt like he was too good for me.

In the end though, it was the expectation of sex, and my inability to trust him with what I considered my ‘horrible’ story… that caused me to end things inexplicably.

But he never got to hear any of that from me.