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The Valentine Risk


I know you’re supposed to just, like, send Valentines to the one you’re married to. Pretend you’ve got the secret hots for them and all that, when it’s not a secret anyway. Well, not sure about the hots with Geoff but I’m in love with him, I guess … you know, kind of contented, safe, predictable. Nice house, nice neighbourhood. Job for life.


They say council inspectors have a special sort of contraceptive device. Their personalities. Yeah, say no more. So that’s what they say love is … well, what my mum settled for and what I should be happy with. So she says.


See, she warned me about the other stuff. The enemy of love. The heart-pounding, breathless, sphincter-clenching stuff. It never lasts, she says. Like a bee-sting – it hits, hurts and leaves you with a lump.


So I settled for love and I can’t really say I’m bored. Not really but I just can’t bring myself to send this Valentines card to Geoff. He’d inspect it for grammar and syntax and grumble about the waste of paper. He’d miss the point and leave me feeling a bit hollow. Disappointed and empty. I don’t need that.


But, you know, I wouldn’t mind a bit of that other stuff, that sphincter-clenching stuff, just once in a while. And, if there’s disappointment afterwards, well, I’ve got that anyway, haven’t I?


Geoff’s good with money and saving and all that and likes to quote some old actor who said why dine out when you can have a good steak at home. I suspect the actor was talking about sphincter-clenching at home but Geoff … well, a bit literal for all that.


I know this sounds daft, like, but I’ve never been in a taxi. Geoff says why take one when you’ve got a good car at home. Two good cars. But it’s like being pampered, in a way – just sitting back while someone else serves you. Especially if it was one of those executive taxis, a bloke in uniform and champagne in the back seat with a bit of sphincter-clenching going on.


But Geoff won’t hear of it, especially as I won’t tell him. Be too embarrassing and disappointing to suggest it.


It’s that old enemy, me mum says, the need for lust. Excitement. Your blood comes up, flash in the pan and then you’re worse off than when you started. And Geoff agrees. Wholebloodyheartedly. Maybe I sorta’ married my mum.


But I really wanna’ send this Valentine’s Day card. Bought it the other day. All embarrassed. Waited round in the shop till no one was looking. Got my change out so I could pay for it quick and run, as if they could all see the dirty thoughts in my mind.


I tucked it away so Geoff can’t see it. Bring it out when he’s gone and it’s become a bit dog-eared and shagged round the edges a bit. Wishing I could be shagged round the edges a bit. Oops, did I say that? Yeah, well, you know what I mean. Just being symbolic, really, to be living on the edge of the storm, not in the placid centre.


Taking a symbolic taxi, not my own boring car. On the edge. Take the deadly enemy of love, as Geoff and Mum say. Take the passion for a test-ride.


Passion. Pass I on. Yeah, okay, gotta’ say it. Get it outa’ me gullet. Wanna’ take the bee-sting for a test-ride, knowing I could be hurt, disappointed and all that. Just be nice to sit back, lay back, and enjoy the ride, see where it went, without having to plan and inspect and analyse every little thing.


So, what’s a girl to do? Can I pretend to be what I’m not? Can I bottle up these fizzing urges? I don’t think so. I don’t think I can settle for what Mum calls a life. Others do but I can’t. I just can’t.


Friends, Romans and countrymen, lend me your fears. That’s all I’ve got to lose, isn’t it? My fears. Right, blow it. What do I write?


My Love,

I yearn to plunge to the dark of abyss,

Not knowing if we’ll hit or we’ll miss.

I want to dance naked and unashamed,

Knowing we’ll be judged, charged and defamed.

I want to dive deep, calm and wide,

Not sure if we’ll reach the other side.

I want to do them all with you,

To live each day, refreshed and anew.

Your Secret Risk Taker


Okay, card in the envelope, stamp it, address it, walk to the Post Office, send it off. Yikes, I’m terrified and can’t get the card back. Burned my bridges, burned my bra and it’s all out there for him to see. Yikes, talk about heart-pounding stuff. I feel like I’ve done enough clenching for a lifetime, already, in the last half hour!




As I wander back home, there’s a Valentine’s card in our mail-box. Hand-delivered. My mind and other parts in a fog, I read the contents:


My Love,

I want to be your reckless lover,

But I’m scared and I hover.

I want to be your shining white knight,

But I’m paralysed in fright.


I want so many things in life,

But fear I’ll end them in strife.

Can I lean on you for the carefree,

And you lean on me for the carefully?

Your Hopeful Risk Taker


I look around to see a familiar council car disappearing up the road, taking the corner a little recklessly.

This is a story from My Whispering Teachers, available from many places.


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