Tyler and I had been dating for four months before our first Valentine's day. I surprised myself so many times in those four months - and not in the way you hope to when you meet someone new and wonderful. I'd been single for over a year and I'd figured out how to be alone. But when it came time to be not alone, I found all sorts of baggage tucked into the cobwebbed corners of my heart. Baggage that I'd forgotten was even there, until I was crying nonsense tears in the dark of his bedroom.
But then there was the cake. A hilarious heart shaped cake from the 90s.
Let me explain: Sometime in late January I got an all-over body ache inducing flu, which had me sick in bed for the second time that winter (undergrads. so many germs.) After picking up ginger ale and sorbet, Tyler told me we could watch any TV show that I wanted. So, I picked a completely kooky, decade old episode of Martha Stewart with guest star Bill Cosby. Martha baked a heart-shaped powdered-sugar raspberry genoise cake.
Two weeks later on Valentine's day, I came home from class. And, to my complete surprise, there it was sitting on the kitchen counter. Sixteen steps, two hours, and eight dollars worth of raspberries. It was the first time I'd ever been loved like that; in a way that was over-the-top and so completely guileless. I finally let myself fall in love too.