be mine

“You’re not getting me anything for valentines,” she said flatly, almost monotonal, and as unceremoniously as closing a door to shut out a draft. It was followed by a— seemingly— violent exhale through her scarf, the puffy cloud of her breath fading into the icy winter air.

“Is this a question?”

She didn’t answer me, and we took some more steps in winding paths over, around, and through the pitted-puddled-pitfallen sidewalks. Her hands were in her pockets, the thin knit gloves providing little to no warmth— I’d made fun of them many times before— and her shoulders were shrugged, pushing the scarf wrapped around her face and neck as high as it could go. Her eyes stayed far away from mine, instead very preoccupied with each step of her muddied faux-Eskimo footwear.

“No,” she said, with the cold air reclaiming the heat of her breath, swirling around us, swallowing us in the poverty of winter. She didn’t have to say anything else. It’s the history— it’s the future. More steps. More breaths.

And while I’d want to believe it’s because neither of us bought into the silly saccharine pink-white-crimson heart-shaped holiday in the middle of February, and that even if we did want to get each other something we could— the real reason was that it would hurt too much to think of a word like “love” when it came to us.

Her place was less than a block away and we’d still make it across the last street even though the light flashed “Do not walk” at us loudly. And like most things, we silently agreed to never bring it up again, letting the conversation disappear white-to-nighthawk-black in the night.