Oh, Valentine’s Day. We’ve had some awkward times, haven’t we? I could probably write an entire book called “Hearkward: Embarrassing Valentine’s Day Stories.” Instead I’ll share one from my past.
During winter break of my freshman year of college, I broke up with my high school sweetheart (she broke up with me, technically) and obviously I was super mature about the whole thing. By which I mean I started talking to the woman I had dated right before her. (what an asshole, amirite?) Mack and I had our first date on Valentine’s Day when we were 16 or 17, so we adorably thought that it would make sense to reunite on Valentine’s Day. The plan was set, I would drive to the middle-of-nowhere, Indiana where she was going to college and spend the weekend there. It would be magical and obviously nothing would go wrong.
Things started fine, I sang terrible CARaoke the whole five-hour drive and kept myself hopped up on red bull and love! When I arrived we ran towards each other in slow motion and she picked me up and spun me around while we both said “Hi! Hi! Hi! Hi!” over and over again like excited parrots. We grabbed my things and she showed me to her dorm room, which was pretty snazzy, for a college dorm room. Mack introduced me to her roommates and we skipped off to dinner…in the cafeteria.
That night we were sexiled from her room by her roommate. This means her roommate and roommate’s boyfriend were getting busy in the room, banning us from said room. We watched a movie in the common area until we determined it was safe to return to her room. We were wrong. We had just climbed into Mack’s top bunk bed and positioned ourselves in the way least likely to result in one or both of us falling to our death in the middle of the night, when a slow creaking noise started. We looked at each other, eyebrows raised, I whispered “Are they…?” and Mack nodded, “yeah…I think they are.” The slow creaking got faster and then a slapping sound began accompanied by whispered moaning. We should have picked a longer movie.
The next day, we were walking around campus, when I heard my name yelled from around a corner. Then, my last ex-boyfriend appeared and ran towards me. We had dated my freshman year of high school before I broke up with him, explaining that I liked women. I then set him up with my best friend as a peace offering—they are still together (awwww, talk about #relationshipgoals). Apparently he also attended this small liberal arts college—what are the odds!?
That night Mack’s roommate was gone, so we had the room to ourselves. Mack and I had a great night together. The next morning, she had to go to class and told me to keep sleeping. It was not even 8am yet, so I mumbled something incoherent back, kissed her and continued sawing logs. A little while later I heard a person enter the room, thinking she had forgotten something I yelled “back already, beautiful?” I squinted and saw that a guy in a cowboy hat with a dozen roses was in the doorway. He left the flowers on Mack’s desk and exited without saying a word. Turns out that I was not Mack’s only admirer on this Valentine’s Day—though I was the only unclothed admirer, which I became aware of far too late.
I quickly put clothes on, just in case another person came by with flowers or chocolates. When I crawled down from the bunk bed I saw a note addressed to me that told me to go down to the common room. In the common room was a whole breakfast spread, balloons, flowers, and a card. Suddenly I forgot about the mysterious cowboy, distracted by cinnamon rolls and cantaloupe.
Mack returned from class and we spent a couple more hours together before I had to drive back to Kalamazoo. With a farewell kiss, I was on my way. I had driven an hour when I heard a loud thud followed by a terribly annoying scraping sound, like giant nails on a giant chalkboard. What could cause such a horrible noise? I looked in my rearview mirror and saw sparks behind me. Metal dragged on concrete at 65 mph is what could make such a racket. I pulled off at an exit that was labeled with only a number and found a gas station out of a 1950s horror film on one side of the road and a Walmart on the other side of the road, surrounded by cornfields.
I pulled into the gas station and inspected my car, my exhaust pipe had fallen and was hanging from my car, resting pathetically on the pavement. I ventured inside and asked if there was a service station anywhere, to which the zitty teenager behind the counter shook his head without muttering even a mumble. I exited and stared at my car again, pretending I knew anything about cars—I did not. I threw my hands onto the trunk and screamed before plopping onto the ground in defeat. I pulled myself together and decided I would venture to Walmart for duct tape and a wire hanger. As I stood up a grey haired man asked in an Australian accent “Looks like you have a small problem, mate—stay there, I’ll be right back.” He didn’t wait for me to respond before jumping in his truck and heading down the road.
A few minutes later he appeared again and with guardian angel level magic, reattached the exhaust to my car. He smiled and said “That should get you home, at least. Safe travels.” And with that he disappeared. I stood in awe for a while. Was that my guardian angel? Was my guardian angel Australian?
As for Mack and I, she began dating the mysterious cowboy and we drifted apart for a few years. But don’t worry, Mack and I had a couple more chapters left in our story.
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