It was the early hours of Valentine’s Day morning and I had skipped work. On the south end of the Strip, near an old Budget Suites, I was sitting at a dive bar with the guy I’ve been seeing. A loud, slurring woman sat several seats down from us. She was very sociable. “Are you old enough to be in here?” she asked, loud enough for all five people in the bar to hear. Perhaps the light from the neon beer signs and the television’s sports coverage was especially flattering. I laughed. She was playing video poker and drinking one tall mixed drink. She only drinks and smokes these days. She no longer does speed.
“I’ve been five years clean, I swear to God,” she said with intensity and wide eyes. She looked the part of a tweaker, though. Besides the intensity of her mannerisms, she had worn-out skin and her remaining teeth were crooked and discolored. With out any warning, she pulled her own shirt down and showed us her boobs. She let me squeeze them after I asked if they were real. Las Vegas bars are full of incredible characters.
The guy and me were pretty affectionate. I had one hand on his leg and the other holding a cloudy, dirty martini. Old Mrs. Tweaker wished us a happy Valentine’s Day. “Are you guys getting married today?” she asked with the same intensity. She raised her single thick dark eyebrow in anticipation of the answer. We said we were thinking about it. We kissed. “Munchkin loves Puppy!” she yells at us. I’m Munchkin, apparently. It was true and evident that my feelings for Puppy were strong and getting stronger with every sip of the cloudy drink. We stayed at the bar until the sun began to come up and the clouds were the color of fire.
At Puppy’s house, there were flowers for me. I stayed in bed all day and woke up to chocolate-covered strawberries in bed. That night, we did the typical Valentine’s Day thing. We went out for dinner and then lurked around at a nightclub and some bars. I had a very nice Valentine’s Day weekend. Puppy handled judgment day exceedingly well. He even left a toothbrush for me in the bathroom. I guess I’m officially not single.
Perhaps I’m more romantic than I would like to be. Lord Byron wrote that, “Man’s love is of a man’s life a part; it is a woman’s whole existence.” Unfortunately it is easy to get caught up with thoughts of love. Valentine’s Day put love in the forefront of the mind but a few days have passed, the flowers are dying and it’s time to roll up our sleeves and get back to work.