Letter to my Valentine in Arrears

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Written by Ifeanyi Ibegbu


Dear You,

I’m certain that you already know that I’m not one to talk about, or in this case, write about emotions while they are valid. So you probably already know that this is a letter about love in arrears. And like things in arrears, it is going to be filled with regret and nostalgia and what could have been but is not. And I hope that you will forgive me for ruining Valentine’s Day.

If we hadn’t screwed things up, maybe this would have been filled with smiles and sweet nothings and declarations of love. And me reminding you how we started dancing on a Valentine’s Day, and here we are, still dancing, two Valentine’s days later. But life, unlike the movies that are filled with happy coincidences, is a series of logical events, with causation being the linking force. And so, here we are, at an awful Valentine’s Day letter that is the consequence of the awful things we did to each other.

Like you hurting me with the first birthday present I got you that you did not read-until the aftermath of us. Like me knowing your needs and being reluctant to respond to them, even though I could. Like me leaving flesh wounds where your heart is supposed to be.

But I’m happy I did- leave the flesh wounds, I mean. Because I’d rather have you hurt now and heal later than hurt forever and never forgive. But then again, you don’t even know the whole truth.

You don’t know about the someone I’m hoping will ask me to be his Valentine. The someone I’m letting my emotions recklessly loose around, the way you did to me. The someone I’m wanting a lot more than I ever wanted you.

I know that this is no way to be a Valentine- telling a one-time someone about the now-time someone that is reaching depths that he never did reach. But I need to do it, because each time you call I can still hear how your voice is laced with a hope for something that has been long destroyed, and my ears can smell how long-lasting the perfume is. But you need to take a bath, and get it off.

Get it off because if you don’t, you will continue to smell that way, and that kind of scent repels new love, even with the old people. Get it off, because sooner or later, you’ll need new love, and you’ll need to be prepared for it, because it often comes unannounced. I wish I could tell you without making your wounds sorer, how nice a surprise it is when love- or something like it- shows up unannounced. But I have to be reasonable.

So instead, I’ll wish you a Valentine’s Day that starts a new cycle for you: in which you’ll learn to dance better, hold her waist firmer- but more passionately, and keep her heart safer in yours.

And I hope that unlike me, she’ll want it just as much, and do the same for you.

This, is the kind of love I have for you now.

Happy Valentine’s Day

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