The Last Valentine

“There ya go. Happy VD!”

The cheerful barista turned her smile to the next customer before I could thank her. I surveyed the café, noting the resplendent reds and pinks, couples sitting across from or next to each other, laughing, whispering, leaning close. A single booth became my refuge and I sipped my malt while staring into the empty seat across the table, listening to a conversation behind me.

“Of course I’m ready! I’ve been waiting all day!”

“Well, I was waiting for the perfect moment. Sweetheart, I want to spend the rest of my life with you. What do you think?”

I cringed at her ecstatic squeal. The entire booth shook as she no doubt threw herself at her successful suitor. My insides turned to ash. I pushed my glass away, half empty, wishing I hadn’t ordered anything, that I had stayed at home, away from the reminders.

Words came to haunt me from the next booth.

“Just think, honey. You’ll never have to worry about Valentine’s Day again.”

If only my love had not perished last year.

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