The Score is in: ONE to ZERO for Valentine's Day

When we call something a pair that always consists of two parts but what's just one part of it called? Well, there is no word for that because it is a ‘we.’ If you are alone, you are called single.

February is one of the bad months. In December you at least get New Years as compensation for Christmas. But for Valentine's Day, there is no such thing. No compensation for singles. So, should you just not think of it, just push the thought of Valentine’s Day away? Or react cynically? Be happy for others? Or go try speed dating for vegetarians and vegans? That was the only offer I could find on Valentine's Day for Singles in Berlin. Most us will fully embrace cynicism and skip the speed dating.

Why such an early report on Valentine’s Day? Because I was brutally confronted about it already on Saturday. And besides, one cannot prepare for the day early enough. I was sitting in a restaurant with a friend. On the table were scattered pink and yellow rose petals. The obligatory candle burned.  Rose petals… I do not know of anyone who has ever privately scattered rose petals in the bath, on the bed or table. Rose petals are only available on the big screen, at weddings, or in restaurants.

We were surrounded by couples. They were couples of another generation, but couples nonetheless. They were likely celebrating their golden anniversary, admittedly an appropriate occasion for rose petals. And it was delightful to watch.

The man and woman next to us had clearly experienced several Valentine’s Days together. When the music got too loud, the man turned down his hearing aid. The woman’s eyes filled with empathy – she knows how painful loud noises hurt his ears.

Once the sauces for the main meal arrived, she advised him to stay away from the spicy sauce: it was bad for his stomach. He took the sauce anyways. When the belly dancer arrived and hugged the man, the woman felt happy for him. She saw me smile in adoration; she smiled back. It was time for a cigarette.

In front of the restaurant with a cigarette in my mouth and a window between me and the happy couples, snow began to fall. It snowed for the first time this year. The trash bins looked graceful and lively, with their little snow caps. The snowflakes, gentle and innocent, fell into the world to lie and die in the filthy double lane street. Witnessing that beauty, it felt hard to be cynical anymore.

By Stefanie Talaska
Translated by Aislyn Rose

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