The forecast was bad. Boston didn’t know it yet, but it was halfway through the snowiest winter on record and Valentine’s Day was bringing more than roses and the chocolate. We were hurtling along the MassPike right into the not-so-candy heart of a blizzard. A sane woman would have looked at her husband’s red nose and the trail of tissues left in his wake and said “I know how you're feeling, honey. It’s crazy to go. I’ll call them and tell them we just can’t make it.”
But I wasn’t going to make that call and he wasn’t going to ask me to. So we packed a car with gifts and a shovel and a couple kids and headed out to host a party.
I had no interest in weather or good sense or spousal compassion. My sister was home from the west coast and this was our one chance to throw her baby shower. I was inspired by sisterly devotion, of course, but I admit it: this upstate New York mama needed a night in a hotel in the heart of the city that she used to call home like a wino needs a merlot.
Now, Valentine’s Day stories are tricky. They depend so much on what the reader brings to February’s floweriest moment. Happy endings will either bolster your belief in the day’s inherent sweetness or nauseate you if you refuse to be one of Cupid’s minions. By the same token, if our story concluded with us sleeping at a Motel 6 in Worcester, you could see it as great tragedy or a poetic end to a day that needs to be reclaimed from Hallmark’s devilish expectations.
In reality, the party was lovely and being snowed in at the Prudential Center was great fun. The kids lying between us, we fell asleep watching Titanic and woke to marvel at the drifts of snow twenty feet high.
The next day, we cruised home on bright black pavement just as the last flakes were falling. I didn’t get a bouquet and I doubt I got a card, but it was the best Valentine’s Day in memory.