By Clair DeLune
Clair is one of five winners of WFAEats’ Valentine’s food writing contest. We asked our readers to describe their most memorable Valentine’s dinner. We’ll be posting all five winning entries this week.
There it was a few days ago, its bugle beads sparkling in their shining red glory: the dress I’d bought and skinnied myself to get into for a Valentine’s date many years ago.
“That’s what you get for doing a closet purge right before Valentine’s,” I chastised myself. It wasn’t the fault of the dress, which has always been too pretty to toss, but it still reminds me of a terrible Valentine’s Day…
“Beau” had begun calling on me shortly after the New Year. When we chatted about our Valentine’s date plans the afternoon before, he didn’t answer my question about what time he’d pick me up. That might have made any other woman suspicious but instead I concentrated on looking super-sleek in that teensy slip of a dress by “dream-eating” what we’d enjoy the next evening.
We’d start with a hearts of palm salad with artichokes; then perhaps beef medallions in red wine sauce for our main course.
But it was the thought of dessert that got me through the hours before dinner as I awaited Beau in the dress I hoped would not out-sparkle my wit and charm. The dessert was going to be heavenly – my favorite chocolate mousse – that I’d prepared for us to enjoy upon returning to my house. I baked for several restaurants and was sure the mousse would be the sweet finale to our evening.
I scolded myself for not eating all day. It seemed silly to have worried about looking perfect in that gorgeous, silky red dress. Clearly, the much bigger concern was that my tummy would growl and embarrass me once he arrived.
That is, if he ever arrived.
Where was he? First I worried; then I called. Then I worried some more. As more time passed, it became abundantly clear that he wasn’t coming.
Dinner was off, and so was the dress. I’d gone from plans for a sit-down romantic dinner of pâté to standing over the sink with a plastic spoonful of peanut butter while my dog looked at me sympathetically.
Years passed, and as dust gathered on the shoulder seams of the scorned garment in the far back of my least-used closet, its flame-red color still reminded me of my shame at having been stood up with no explanation on such a meaningful holiday.
Then I found the dress again as I cleaned my closets just shy of another Valentine’s Day. Simultaneously, as if it had the power to beckon him, Beau discovered me on Facebook, and after years without a word inexplicably asked to “friend” me.
I wondered if I’d ever know what caused his rapid exit, but instead I decided to “block” Beau and make for myself this Valentine’s Day that lovely dinner I’d envisioned enjoying with him so long ago. And in that gorgeous dress as I savor every bite, I’ll thank goodness he exited my life, which has turned out so much better than it ever could have with him in it.
Other Valentine’s Contest Winners:
- Best Valentine’s Day Ever
- Romance & Little Birds: A Valentine’s Tradition Since 1973
- Aprons, Cast Iron Skillets & Spices Create Valentine’s Memory
- It Was The Oysters