This is the latest installment of The Growing Season by Stephanie Phillips. For previous installments click here.
Being in love is a powerful antidote to the winter blues, and I found myself sailing through January and February without the usual moodiness I felt during those months in previous years. Especially on Valentine’s Day, a faux holiday that the girls and I had typically boycotted in our own fashion: each of us would find and buy the cheesiest, most unbearable card in the world. We would bring said cards to dinner at a restaurant devoid of romance (last year we had gone to Dave and Buster’s so that we could double down on food and games; it was slightly depressing to see how many couples had made the same choice) and proceed to exceed our impressive food intake with an even more impressive alcohol intake. The year this tradition began, VD was on a weeknight. Since that year (and some legendary hangovers), we had observed the holiday on a Friday or Saturday.
But this year was different. In what can only be described as a miracle, all of my girlfriends had hung onto their New Year’s Eve hookups. Abby and Mike had discovered that they were each other’s high school crush and had managed to translate that into a present-day relationship–which meant she had company at her apartment at least twice a month. Our brunches had taken a hit, but she had never been happier. Cara and Ben had turned their mutual hatred of douchebags into a fledgling relationship. They were taking it slow, and I was pretty sure that he still didn’t know the deepest reason for Cara’s Epic Speech, but so far it looked promising. And Kennedy, whose mother had indeed screamed when she was informed that her daughter was dating a Midwesterner (“What the hell is her problem?” Abby had uncharacteristically and defensively asked), was allowing Todd to introduce her to football teams outside the SEC. Brian, on the other hand, had a new boyfriend every week and saw no reason to change that schedule.