As I drove the streets of my neighborhood aimlessly, I realized the last thing I wanted to do was go home. It was only about 7 p.m. and I certainly hadn't planned on getting home this early--especially on Valentine's Day night! The guy I was dating at the time had invited me over for a romantic dinner at his place. Things having gone hopelessly awry, I found myself headed back home to spend the evening alone.
I dialed up a friend who lived a few blocks away.
"Hailey?" I said. "It's me. What are you up to?" I could hear noisy ruckus in the background as my friend answered her phone.
Hailey immediately knew I had been crying. "What's wrong!?" She asked without skipping a beat.
"Brad broke up with me," I sniffed.
"Oh, no!" my sympathetic friend exclaimed. "Where are you? Come over! I'm having a party at my place. Come on, it will be fun."
I wasn't really in the mood for a party, tear-stained face and all, but anything was better than going home. Alone. On Valentine's Day.
"I don't know..." I stammered. I didn't want to bring the lively atmosphere of the party down with my melancholy mood.
"Don't go home!" My friend commanded. "You're coming over," she said firmly.
It sounded like I didn't have much of a choice, so I parked my car (I was already driving down her street when I called), and joined the anti-Valentine's Day party. Not wanting to show up empty handed, I brought the expensive chocolates I had just been given by my "ex" (that is...before he gave me the boot!).
The impromptu singles' "party" was comprised of a small group of close friends. Every week, about 5-10 of us would get together for a TV-show viewing party and potluck. It was the same group tonight, so I knew everyone there and didn't feel too bad about telling them what had just happened. I was still clutching the glossy red gift bag, and everyone in the room was eager to scrutinize my break-up gift, so I plopped the box of chocolates on the table.
"Open them!" one girl shouted. "Let's see what's inside!"
We all circled around the table. The fancy chocolates were from a well-known local chocolatier who's Yelp reviews hail the shop's offerings as "the world's finest." As I lifted the lid, everyone hovered, leaning over to peer down into the box lined with rows and rows of the most exquisite hand-made truffles. They were individual pieces of art, each decorated with a unique and intricate hand-pained design, some even etched in gold-leaf.
Are these even edible? we wondered. No one dared to take one, instead we all just stared dumbfounded. The tiny truffles were simply too gorgeous to eat, so we set the box aside for later, and in the meantime, somebody brought out a flight of brightly-colored pomegranate shots instead. Despite the fact it was Sunday evening, the festivities continued as if it were a Saturday night, complete with red and pink martinis, blaring music, and a mini dance party.
The next morning I woke up on Hailey's couch wearing her pajamas, and I greatly doubt anyone at the party made it to work on time that day. It occurred to me this was the second time this year I would do "the walk of shame" in a girlfriend's pajamas--and it was only February! So far, my year was not off to a good start.