It was two years ago when I was together with my love for Valentine’s Day. It was two years ago when I was truly in love during Valentine’s Day. And it was two years ago when I fell in love all over again on Valentine’s Day.
The sound of bus engines humming away didn’t bother me one bit. I was in our grey van, preparing myself for what was to come. I just got out of school and my mom was driving, and the intense traffic jams gave me more than enough time to get myself ready. Making sure that my makeup was perfect, I glanced at the mirror and added some more blush, a touch of eye shadow, and a little more lipstick. Turning my head from side to side, I combed my hair and added my gel to make certain that not a strand of frizzy, curly hair from my tight gelled-into-place bun was disarranged. Slowly and carefully, I flattened out the creases of my favorite red dress, sparkling and glowing when hit by light. I redid everything countless times. Everything had to be perfect today. It had to be perfect. It was Valentine’s Day, for crying out loud!
You’ll be all right. You’ll do fine. Everything’s going to go as planned.
I tried to reassure myself. I tried to stop my knees from shaking and buckling so much. I tried to warm my stone-cold hands by rubbing them together and sticking them into my jacket.
Everything is going to be all right.
I walked into the mall. Instantly, I heard the sound of lounge music and pleasant human chatter. I could smell food being prepared, but it did not make me hungry. The enticing sale signs didn’t tempt me this time. I took the escalator up to the fifth floor. Yes, I was buying myself time by not taking the elevator. But still I got to the spot on time, and I laid my things down and began to concentrate.
But it was extremely difficult to concentrate when dozens of pairs of eyes are staring right at you, not even trying to conceal themselves or at least do it slyly. No. They openly gazed at my hair, my makeup, my dress, as if I were simply a mannequin, another strange spectacle.
Ignore them. Do your thing. Just relax. You’ll be fine.
I repeated these words to myself, and it was only after I uttered these words that I realized I was thinking out loud. This led to more curious pairs of eyes. I blushed, brushed off my evident feeling of embarrassment, told myself I’d be fine in my head, and was entirely ready to do my thing.
It was time. I took one deep breath, the deepest I’ve taken in a while, and waited. What happened next?
I stared out through the transparent glass walls. Way up on the fifth floor, everything on the road was miniscule. I let myself continue to think about that to ease my nervousness. At last, I close my eyes. My heart was beating abnormally fast, my hands were cold, and my knees were buckling. I could feel even more pairs of eyes, curious and interested, watching me, waiting.
But I ignored them all, and then I took it all in.
The music began, and so I did my thing. I got into the rhythm, and in no time, I was skating gracefully on the smooth ice. With a confident smirk on my face, I landed my jumps; with fiery determination in my eyes, I executed my spins and turns; and with unparalleled love in my heart, I defied gravity. I savored the glorious sensation of the cold wind rushing past me, of the wicked clang of blade touching ice, of the fantastic feeling of being able to express myself, who I am, and of the delightful realization that I’ve made a conscious effort to give my audience a show and to make them smile.
The world was whizzing past me so quickly, and then in slow motion. No words could give justice to how insanely full of blithe I was during my four minute performance. All too quickly, I was wrapping up my program with my favorite spin. I stayed there, still in my ending pose, for a few seconds. Then I heard the applause, and I smiled. Still out of breath, I take my bow and wave. I leave the ice and hug my mom. She was beaming from ear to ear. The audience was still clapping and cheering and smiling. It was the best Valnetine’s Day of my life.
I did it. I did my thing. I was happy. I made others happy, and that was what truly mattered to me. Figure skating was my love. Performing was my passion. I skated for the love of it. I skated to please an audience. In the end, all I cared about was making others happy.
I got home late afterwards, exhausted from the day’s activities. I finished my schoolwork quite quickly because of my cheerful countenance, and I did some stretching exercises before hitting the hay. Staring at my glow-in-the-dark stickers on the ceiling, I laid in bed that night and smiled to myself. Recounting the events that occurred only hours ago, I realized that I fell in love with the ice all over again. I performed as best as I could that afternoon, and I was thankful. It gave me joy to think that I made some people smile today, and with tired feet, happy thoughts, and an untroubled heart, I drifted off to sleep.