Your baristas wish you and your loved ones a Happy Valentine’s Day! Each of us has chosen a V-Day message to share with you:
Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Boris Parsternak, Dr. Zhivago
Click here to read “Getting Pitched, Getting Hitched,” a very personal, very literary, Valentine’s Day story of how Jason and Rachael Letofsky met and got married last-almost-Valentine’s Day!
Mandy Len Catron’s Modern Love essay, “To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This,” is a podcast from The New York Times personal essay feature, “Modern Love,” which often appears in the Sunday newspaper.
You can now hear the essay “To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This” read by the actress Gillian Jacobs in Modern Love: The Podcast. Look for the “play” button below or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music. To try the 36 questions described below, download our free app for your phone, tablet or other device.
Alex Gray, “Ocean of Love Bliss”
The One That Got Away
It’s funny what you find when you’re cleaning out your room. I was sorting through a stack of old notebooks when I came across a love letter I had written during my junior year of college. It wasn’t something I was ever going to send, (then or now) but it did take me down memory lane one more time. I suppose that’s why I had the urge to take it out one last time and dust it off. Because if Valentine’s Day isn’t the time to remember lost love, then I don’t know when.
I know you are an ideal to me, but what an ideal you are. You are a man, a man who I trust and respect with ever fiber of myself and who commands the same from everyone else. You bring out the best in me, showing me how I can improve, how I can be stronger, how I can be better. You demand self- improvement with a look, and you are my conscience.
With you I can talk for hours on a range of subjects. I am always learning from you and you – I hope – enjoy listening to me. I think of you when I don’t see you for a week and I wish we could spend more time together.
I miss the old days. The days where everything seemed happier, lighter, easier when you were so close. When you only lived two doors down and I could just knock on your door, entertaining a personal haven.
Sometimes we would watch movies, curled up on opposite sides of the couch with only our feet touching each other when we changed position. The light from the television bathing us both in a flickering blue glow, casting shadows, light in the darkness of the room.
Sometimes we would just talk. About everything and nothing all at once. You can make me laugh like no one else can, and perhaps that is why when I leave, I feel like crying. Because you are no longer there to make me smile.
You were there for me when my parents separated, always there. Sending me texts and jokes while my tiny house became a battleground, while furniture and possessions were separated into boxes. A light on my cellphone screen to assure me that everything was going to be okay as my world crumbled around me.
I miss your voice just as I miss the missed opportunity I had to be with you. Because you were just a friend to me then. I had a boyfriend who was nice, but didn’t make me laugh like you did. Who fell asleep when we watched “Iron Man.” I didn’t see you then, and I don’t know when I suddenly realized I needed you. To laugh with, to cry with, to make dinner or buy take-out; to wake up on the same side of the couch with your arms around me. Realized, but was afraid of what would happen if things didn’t go well, if it all fell apart and I lost your friendship along with everything else. So I took a step back, and told myself it would be better to avoid the eventual heartbreak, to just be a friend, because you would always be there, as my friend . . . right?
I know there will come a day when you will find someone else. When I will have to see you with someone else.
Maybe you will finally get Katie, your girl who got away. Or fall for a cute Barista or dog-walker or someone else who isn’t me. But I promise, on that day, I will smile and wish you all the joy in the world because I need you and even if you are just a friend, at least I won’t have to lose you.
But still, my friend, as I watch you walk away, as I let you go, let me whisper quietly – my love – I wish you well, I wish you happiness, I wish you luck.
A few months after I wrote this, my friend found himself a girlfriend, who was apparently everything he could ever want. She was beautiful, kind, intelligent and – though it hurt me to admit it, completely perfect for him. I did have to uphold my promise and do exactly as I had written in my letter: Smile, even though I didn’t want to, wish him all the joy in the world – even though I wanted her to fall off a cliff, and watch them walk away, holding hands while I felt like I was being stabbed multiple times in the chest.
It’s been almost four years since then but I still remember that hurt, that heartbreak. I still wonder if it would’ve been harder or easier, to risk a relationship with him, be willing to take the chance to lose him or gain something so much more. And I believe the answer is yes.
If your world revolves as much around that someone special as my world revolved around my friend, don’t hesitate. Jump in with both feet because he won’t wait forever, and it’s not fair to make him think he should.
I gave up a funny, kind, understanding man who I could’ve been very happy with because I was a coward. Because I was so scared of all the things I could lose: my heart, my virginity ‐ yes girls, I was very young and innocent then ‐ the man himself when we went through a break‐up I considered inevitable, that I didn’t consider all the things I could gain.
I could’ve had a relationship that would’ve been a hundred times more memorable and rewarding than the ones I ended up going through. Definitely more entertaining, he was always a source of constant activity and craziness. But more importantly – even if we did end up breaking up once we graduated and went our separate ways ‐ I wouldn’t have always be wondered, always regretted not taking the chance. Always digging up the past every time I am reminded of him because I never tried. And unless history repeats itself, he will always be THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY. Or to be more specific, THE ONE I LET GET AWAY.
So please, girls. Learn from my mistakes. If there’s a guy out there who you want, GO GET HIM. Put on your lipstick, buy him a coffee, swipe right ‐ whatever it is you ladies of this day and age do to get your man. Get him, because if you don’t, someone else will.
“Je t’aime”, a Postcard from Paris
Mike’s Valentine’s Day Wisdom:
“Beware of Snakes.” — Tucson, AZ
“Jerky will always be there for you.” — Buc-ee’s, Katy, TX