While the rest of the world enjoys a romantic night out, my parents will be together on another quiet evening in their Wichita home.
Valentine’s Day has double meaning for them, you see. This High Holy Day of Love is also their wedding anniversary.
I’ve never asked them why. This feels odd as I sit in the newsroom, a place where answers are gathered as daily routine.
Some might go through great effort to plan such a coincidence, but I doubt my parents are the type. So on their 31st anniversary, I decide to finally do a little reporting. My dad picks up the phone. I wish him a happy anniversary and start interrogating. Why today?
“We didn’t set out to get married on Valentine’s Day,” he says.
“We were trying to do it before Lent,” my mom yells from the background. She’s been tipped off, somehow.
“It was by default,” my dad confirms.
This was merely a day when marriage would work, a time and place that wouldn’t conflict with the schedules and cares of the world.
February 14, 1981.
My dad notes that no red hearts were present at the ceremony or reception.
I’m sure that my parents consider going out for dinner, but most years they jointly agree to avoid the crowds. They’d be competing with the Hallmarks and American Greetings of the world.
“We could do an early bird special with all the other old people,” my mom jokes. They do actually like to eat early, for the record.
Instead, this happened: She woke up this morning, walked into the bathroom and found a pile of candy. She went to the kitchen after that, and again, discovered another pile of candy.
My dad doesn’t think much of this small act.
“I was always kind of a slug,” he says. “Don’t be like me, son.”
But my dad is mistaken, even absolutely incorrect. He realizes that love can’t be adequately measured in chalky hearts, or anything else for that matter. It’s the other 364 days that prove it true.