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  • I can still remember the terror that filled my little heart back then. Shivering on the cold February porch of my sweetheart's house, all of 10 years old. Clutching a wee heart-shaped box of chocolates I'd begged my mum to buy for me. Trying to cajole myself into knocking on the massive door.

    This was to be my Valentine's confession.

    I was finally going to tell sweet little Pam that I had adored her from afar for months. Surely a box of chocolates would win her heart. Make her see how much I cared for her.

    But I was a shy, shy boy. The doubts kept creeping in like a paralyzing fog as I gathered up my courage to knock.

    Immigrating to Canada from the UK had put me 2 grades ahead in school. I was always the youngest one in class. The small quiet guy who talked funny. Would she even know who I was? Would she laugh at my boldness? My mind started racing with newly-imagined horrors of humiliation and rejection...

    There she was, telling the bully who lorded over me about my crush, his hideous kissy-face taunts mocking me as she and our classmates laughed in complicit fear. There she was, telling me "Ewwwwww... you're weird... keep your chocolates. I got better ones from Peter anyway." There I was, red-faced with embarrassment as the word got out around school that odd little Rolf thought Pam would like him.

    And that was it. I bolted. Leaving the chocolates at the door, with the little "To: Pam From: _______" tag unsigned.

    I'd been so caught up in my first puppy love that I'd really never given a thought to the consequences, until that frigid evening. That was an epiphany of sorts to an innocent love-struck boy. There was more to this "love" stuff than I had figured on. A whole dark side to the equation that fairy-tales, 1960's sit-coms and Arthurian legends had not prepared me for.

    I never did confess my crush to sweet little Pam and I never got asked if those chocolates were mine. I just dreamed romantic dreams and kept my distance until we moved away. She would be the first of many unrequited loves in my life. It would be many years until I figured out that you had to respect yourself before you can truly love another. But that's a story for another Valentine's Day.


    Remembering this experience has given rise to some other sobering thoughts; In this age of shows like L&O:SVU and Criminal Minds, would a young boy still be able to have a similar experience? Would his parents let him march to his epiphany or scold him for being a proto-stalker? Would his sweetheart's mischievous brother post the CCTV door-cam footage of his moment of indecision to YouTube? Would her mother toss out the anonymous chocolates for fear they were poisoned? Would the young lad be pilloried on Facebook, perhaps driven to suicide? How does one learn the rules of love in times like these?
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