I feel as if I should apologize to all the single people out there in North America who are being bombarded with Valentine’s propaganda from every side. It’s not enough that chocolatiers and florists and card shops are advertising – I’ve even seen a cupid swinging over a display of grapefruit at the grocery store. Nothing says love like wireless headphones. Or an Audi. It’s as if ever since we took down the Christmas lights (a wee bit later since we have such a strong Ukrainian community hereabouts) we’ve been tripping over hearts and flowers and enforced romance.

And I never really noticed how pushy and insensitive all of that red and pink folderol can be. And I am sorry I was so blind to your pain, if we can call it that. More like a twinge, or a sad sense of being painted out of the picture, while staining your tongue with cinnamon hearts.

This year I am noticing for the first time how frenetically pink everything has become at this time of year. Full disclosure: I’ve been separated from a 21.5 year marriage for a scant 24 weeks, something that came a bit of a surprise to me, that really wasn’t my idea. So this year, everything is different. And it’s not just that I am still shocked, sad, in denial or whatever level of KublerRoss-iness I happen to be in this week. I am alone.

I am navigating the world solo for the first time in more than half my lifetime, because before this last marriage began I had my kids from a previous marriage at home (a marriage that, I have to admit, I ended on a February 13, before I had to deal with what would have been a hypocritical bouquet of roses). And before that first marriage, of course, I was in those cigarettes-and-Donini university years where people disdained holidays foisted on them by card companies (except for one girl who seemed obsessed with the possibility of her boyfriend proposing on that day, as I recall). And before that, if you were handing them out, everyone in the class had to get a Valentine, so that no one felt left out.

But now, tripping over this pseudo-holiday, I understand that I cannot be the only one in the world who feels besieged – and no galentine celebration or email from your auntie will fill the void. Also, I am not sure whether it is worse for those of us who took it for granted that all the messages on the love hearts would be valid forever, or those who have never been part of the cupid club.

All I know is that roses are red and some of us are blue.