Valentine's Day: A Contagious Disease

Valentine's Day: A Contagious Disease

A Story by Ashleigh

A glimpse into my old high school's cafeteria during lunch hour on Valentine's Day. Beware; it's toxic.



                I find that there is a certain level of crazed fever which comes with the season of Valentine’s Day, especially within a small town, high school cafeteria. I happen to be one neutral observer who has either the privilege or the curse (it usually depends on my mood that particular day) to attend one such educational institution. Today, I found this life situation more of a curse. In my diligent attempt to keep the focus off of my own emotions and feelings, I opted to carefully observe the behaviour of my less than aware schoolmates.

                The electrocuted frizzed hair of a punk goth with a glint of silver hanging from her pierced lip was the first thing I noticed when walking into the cafeteria on lunch hour. Considering that nearly seventy percent of my school is comprised of this exact clone, it wasn’t nearly as obvious as most people would naturally assume. The colour of her eyes was undistinguishable due to the thick ring of coal black around her lids which acted as a veil to conceal the secrets her eyes may have held. I wondered if she was aware of this or if it was something she did subconsciously. I wondered what her parents thought of her choice of appearance. Certainly, my own parents would never let me set foot outside of my home if I looked the way she did. I decided to call her Abby within my mind… she looked like an Abby; a once sweet natured, blonde pigtailed little girl with bright blue eyes who had grown into this unrecognizable ghost. Abby looked around, searching for an equally masked friend whom she knew and once she located one, walked over with deliberate, loping strides to chatter about the “completely unfair” geography teacher whom she apparently hated with a viciousness.

                Deciding that there was no more to add to Abby’s story at the moment, I walked on, painfully conscious of the sweet, velvety smooth, thick fragrance of pink and red tin-wrapped Valentine’s chocolates wafting through the air; in an endless dance with the smells of cleaning fluids and greasy, fatty fries and burgers. The smell of the chocolate intoxicated the vast number of love-struck, hormone-driven teenagers revelling within the romantic season. Although I appreciated the sweet smell as well, I still curiously ponder over why it did not seem to hold the same constricting effect upon me as it did my peers.

                I had to suppress a derisive snort as I leisurely passed by a spectacled boy who had placed a possessive arm around a pudgy girl with a heart-shaped face and broad nose, clearly staking his claim on her among his peers. Was he even aware that no one else seemed the least bit interested in her? I supposed if I were a boy attending this school, I wouldn’t care to take a second look at her either, seeing as how the vast majority of the boys at my school were only interested in Barbie dolls, which she most certainly wasn’t. Thinking this, I felt a stab of sorrow within me. She had a sweet, angelic look about her which I doubted anyone, including her boyfriend, looked close enough to see. Loudly, he talked about the materialism of Valentine’s Day to his friends with almost pompous zeal, taking furtive glances at the scarred angel he was holding to see if she was impressed with his boisterous speech. Scarred Angel gave reluctant smiles and chuckled whenever he said something which he intended to be clever, but soon became completely enraptured in the undignified horror of a fraying thumbnail. I could see the terror in her flawed, yet perfect eyes that the boy holding her would notice and would cease to hold her the way he was holding her now. Yes, Valentine’s Day in my cafeteria was the picture-perfect example of true love.

                Too saddened by Scarred Angel’s precarious relationship, my attention swayed to a tall, raven-haired boy with the beginnings of a beard speckling his face like chocolate sprinkles walking by me with an almost ominous and dignified gait. The thick, pungent odour of melted cheese on a slab of dead cow confined into the crevice of a rubbery-looking bun situated on a cheap paper plate; held within his pale, bony hands assaulted my nostrils and I looked away, my stomach launching a righteously indignant protest at the choking stench.

                As I sternly scolded my illogical queasiness, I glanced around, trying to zero in on anything that would appease my stomach long enough to last until the end of this most unfortunate time frame of forty minutes. The white, creamy smear of lost Caesar salad dressing adorning a soggy piece of green, lying forlornly on the floor caught the slightly revolted gaze of my eye. Vaguely, I wondered if it would still be there a week from now as it was passed by and trampled upon by hundreds of oblivious feet, and many more unseeing eyes. With a wryly amused twitch of my lips, I came to the conclusion that yes, the Caesar salad dressing on a soggy green leaf would forever stand as a monumental witness to this most glorious, romance-filled day. After all, it wasn’t as though the school custodians were too concerned with the hygiene of myself and approximately eight hundred other young adolescents. I realized that this kind of pondering was not proving beneficial to my mood and desperately wished I had my best friend with me… Berry Burst Moisturizing Hand Sanitizer. What a name! I wish I had a name like that.

                Laughing inwardly at my own ludicrous idiocy, I decided that Valentine’s Day must be contagious and I was displaying the first symptom: unexplainable stupidity. I thought it would be best to quarantine myself before any more damage was done. However, on my way out to the crisp February air, I accepted the sweet, smooth taste of a chocolate rose handed to me by an infected acquaintance. It caressed my tongue like two lost lovers being reunited after many years apart and I smiled in sugary satisfaction, in grave danger of succumbing to this incurable disease. Valentine’s Day certainly was… well, unhealthy.


© 2008 Ashleigh

Author's Note

I'm still working on trying to rearrange the run-on sentences in this piece, so please forgive me. Otherwise, I quite like this piece. It is one of my favourites that I have written.

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I adore this! Such a cynical, satisfying, hilarious perspective on Valentines Day :) Each observation is so detailed and characterised and the random jumble of scenes fits together so perfectly. Beautiful writing :D

Posted 12 Years Ago

" I decided to call her Abby within my mind� she looked like an Abby; a once sweet natured, blonde pigtailed little girl with bright blue eyes who had grown into this unrecognizable ghost."

Perhaps a colon [:] should be used between "Abby: a once sweet..." since the writer is supplying the additional info of the definition of an "Abby".

"I had to suppress a derisive snort [as] I leisurely passed by a spectacled boy who had placed a possessive arm around a pudgy girl with a heart-shaped face and broad nose, clearly staking his claim on her among his peers."

I have bracketed "as" in this sentence because of it's use as an element of time. "As" should be used only as part of a description (i.e., Jennifer was as pale as snow) and never used in place of "when" or "while" to indicate a moment in time.

But enough of that. I only took the time to point out a couple of errors because Ashleigh has achieved an earned respect from this commentator for obvious writing talent. There is a there here and, if Ashleigh persists on the path where desire to be merges with professional, publishers will trip over one another to buy everything she writes.

Posted 12 Years Ago

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2 Reviews
Added on December 18, 2008
Last Updated on December 19, 2008



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