Valentine’s colours (Get Inspired, week 7)

I hate those pink and white balloons in the stores around Valentine’s Day. They always remind me of blood on the snow.

I was trying to run, but the snow was so deep that all I was doing was exhausting myself. Now, that memory feels like one of those dreams where you can’t move, and all I really have are flashes; the metallic taste in the back of my throat; the dark splashes that could have been shadows, but were my twin’s blood; and the sound of my lungs clawing for air.

I’d found the note in her schoolbag. An anti-Valentine, if you like. It had probably seemed funny to whoever had stuck it in there, because I was the only one who knew that Carrie had been cutting herself for months. It was the only outlet she had for the defiance, the anger, and the bone-deep exhaustion that she sometimes showed only to me, her brother. Everyone else, because my sister should have been in goddamn Hollywood, just thought she had a thing for retro bangles to the elbows.

By the time I finally found her, she’d stopped bleeding. Because we were both just fourteen when she died, I didn’t go to jail for what I did to that boy. It would have been a waste of time, anyway. I know what I did was wrong, and I don’t regret it.

Yes, I am a real cynic when it comes to Valentine’s Day. At best, it’s a way for Hallmark to make money. At worst, it could be renamed Singles’ Awareness Day. Like diamond engagement rings, to me it feels like a ‘buy me things to prove you love me’ exercise. While I’m fully aware this is a really unpopular viewpoint, if you need diamonds and pink bows to prove you love someone, you may have bigger relationship issues.

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