February 18, 2008

Red and Gray

It’s a rainy day this Valentine’s Day.

I’m slumped in an old bench on the far side of the hall, watching the gray rain-clouds pummel the park outside into submission. Filtered gray sunlight reflects from the cracked marble tiles on the floor, and it creates an eerie haze that lulls my eyes into sleep. I sink even further into the bench, lowered the cap over my head, and tried to doze off the rest of the morning.

On the far right from where I’m sitting there’s a sign taped on the window of our office. It’s an advertisement for an all-you-can-eat “Valentine Buffet” at a local hotel, promising not only a bottomless dinner plate but also a chance to win a night’s stay in a jacuzzi in the accompanying raffle. One of the office staff must have posted it as a gag, as we were more likely to find ourselves taking post in the frosty confines of the Centre than in a warm candle-lit honeymoon suite tonight.

But past the four glass walls of the office, Valentine’s Day is no laughing matter. Just this morning I woke up to a radio station giving away free horoscope-based compatibility tests, with one of the “experts” dismissing a caller as stingy because her name starts with M. And while passing by the high school on the way to work, I saw vendors hawking roses, heart balloons, and other Valentine gifts outside the school’s gates, providing convenience (and cashing in) to the bold hearts of the young. There’s really no escaping it really, but if you were romantic, you’d find it rather sweet. But if you were bitter, you’d find it sickening. But I’m neither, with just a bit of both. Which in turn would probably explain why I’m going nowhere with this Valentines thing.

After 15 minutes of trying, I still couldn’t sleep. I straightened on the bench, stretched my arms forward, got up and headed back into the office. I’ll get myself in trouble if I got caught slacking off on the job, even if there is none to do at the moment. I gripped the knob on the door and swung it open, hoping to salvage what’s left of my Valentine’s Day.

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