Sorry for being a bit late to the party, but I figured I might as well write a little something to commemorate the holiday. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
An Unexpected Valentine
It was a kind of day that only came once a year, one that seemed to be completely different for everyone. For some it was heartache, for some it was absolute love, and for some it was sheer indifference, but for May Maple, it was none of those things. She didn’t quite feel alone, and she didn’t quite feel loved at the same time. It was a special kind of feeling, but not special in a sense of happiness; more special in a sense of unfamiliar oddness that it takes all of one’s mind to comprehend. This was Valentine’s Day.
5May had realized this was the first Valentine’s Day she had spent in a long time with no companionship, as she awoke from her night-long slumber. Her bed felt almost like a cave of loneliness today, rather than the comforting mass of sheets and fabric it usually was. She rolled out of her bed and decided that, even though this was a special day, she might as well follow her normal routine. She went into her bathroom with full intentions of brushing her teeth and taking a shower, but was instead greeted by her water-type Pokemon Wartortle in a full bathtub. As she stared at the blue turtle, its face grew slightly red and embarrassed. Perhaps this was why her Petalburg City home’s water bill had been higher than usual recently.
“What, exactly, do you think you’re doing in there Wartortle?” She asked the Pokemon. The blush on its face seemed to go away almost immediately; it appeared as though the Pokemon was searching for an explanation for his crime.
“War-tort! Wartortle!” The Pokemon shouted indignantly as it crossed its arms. It was only its nature as a water Pokemon to want to be in water, it said, and May shouldn’t judge it for something it couldn’t control. Naturally, May understood none of this.
“Don’t even bother trying to explain yourself. I’m not mad,” She sighed. “I’m far too depressed to be mad at anything right now.” She took a seat on the edge of the bathtub. Wartortle climbed out as well, seemingly wanting to offer support for May in this difficult time. All this truly accomplished was the Pokemon splashing water all over May’s blue pajamas and soaking her hair. Wartortle attempted an apology, but May explained that it was fine; the clothes were already going in the wash and she was about to wash her hair anyway. If anything, Wartortle had given her a head start.
“Wartortle? War-tort?” The small Pokemon said in what was a mix between a caring tone and a questioning one.
“Don’t worry about me, Wartortle,” May said, putting on a fake smile, if only to reassure her beloved Pokemon. She could deal with feeling sorry for herself, but she didn’t want her Pokemon to worry about her. “I’ll be fine, I promise. Now go run off and find something else to do that won’t lower my Dad’s income, okay?”
As May finally got around to taking her shower, she was left with time to think. On previous Valentine’s Days, she had always had someone there to celebrate it with; Ash was there when she first left on her Pokemon journey, and he even broke his normal style of denseness to celebrate the holiday somewhat romantically with her, leading to two of the most fun Valentine’s Days she’d ever had. Later in her journeys she had Drew to celebrate with, although he was admittedly more cynical than Ash and paid little attention to the holiday in general. Either way, she had someone there for her, and now when she had no one but herself and her parents at home, she felt a sense of loneliness. There was no one here to buy her chocolate as Ash had done, no one here to at least tell her “Happy Valentine’s Day” as Drew had done without it meaning nothing. May sighed once more; this was truly shaping up to be the worst Valentine’s Day of her life.
Once she exited the shower and threw on a red t-shirt and some blue jeans, she went downstairs to watch some television, hoping to find something, anything to take her mind off her current situation. She grabbed the black remote and pressed a red button, pouring life into the television. It immediately burst forth an image of a dozen roses with a phone number at the bottom, with a loud woman’s voice saying, “Forgot to get your sweetie a present this year? Surprise her with some of our high quality roses! Going for twenty-nine dollars for a limited time o-“. May immediately turned the TV off and hung her head in dismay.
“Even the television hates me!” She exclaimed as she left the living room. She went into the kitchen where she saw her mother and father happily sharing some chocolate out of a heart-shaped container, just as she and Ash had done three years ago. She attempted to leave, before her father called her back into the room with a cry of “Hey, May! What are you doing up so early today?”
May sighed and approached the kitchen hesitantly.
“I uh…” She tried to think of an explanation. “I didn’t sleep well last night. Didn’t get a lot of rest.”
“That’s too bad. Want some chocolate?” Her mother Caroline said. “It’s your favorite; milk chocolate with peanuts inside.”
“I don’t think I want any chocolate right now, Mom, sorry.” May attempted again to leave the room, only to be thwarted by her father Norman once again.
“Is something wrong, May?” He said in his trademark deep voice. It immediately drew May back into the room.
“Perhaps it’ll be best to talk about it.” May thought to herself.
“Alright, fine, there is something just slightly wrong.”
“Continue,” Said Norman through mouthfuls of chocolate.
“Well, I kind of feel like everyone has someone to celebrate Valentine’s Day with this year but me.” May told her parents; it felt almost like a small weight coming off her chest, although it still didn’t lessen the sadness she was feeling from being alone on such a romantic day.
“Come on now May, isn’t that just ridiculous?” Said Caroline as she looked May directly in her brown eyes, almost giggling. “You have us, don’t you? We can celebrate it with you!”
May sighed and rolled her eyes.
“You don’t understand, Mom,” She exclaimed. She feared this was how they would react. “It just isn’t the same having to celebrate with your parents.”
Norman grinned a bit and started chuckling.
“I see what the problem is here, May.” He said as he finally took a break from eating his chocolate.
“Of course I do! You want a boy to experience the holiday with!” He said jubilantly. It looked as though he was about to pat himself on the back for coming to such a wonderful realization.
“For lack of a better term, I guess you could say that.” May tugged on her collar a bit when she muttered that last sentence.
“Don’t worry May, I felt the same way you did on many Valentine’s Days,” Norman said, reminiscing. “Granted, I didn’t want to experience Valentine’s Day with a boy, but I think you understand what I’m trying to say here, correct?”
May wasn’t quite sure she did.
Caroline rolled her eyes at her husband’s insensitivity. She seemed to sigh a bit before picking up May’s right hand and holding it in her hands.
“Don’t worry May; what your father is trying to say,” she looked over at Norman and winked. “Is that Valentine’s Day is absolutely miserable unless you have that special someone to spend it with. For example, we have each other now, and our Valentine’s Day is absolutely excellent!”
“I’m not quite sure that you understand that I want to be cheered up.” May said, removing her hand from her mother’s.
“I think I worded that incorrectly, sweetie.” Caroline said, thinking how stupid it must’ve sounded to May. “What we’re trying to say here is that you just haven’t found your special someone yet, and that’s perfectly okay. That just means you don’t get married as quickly as some people do, which, frankly, is a bonus in my opinion.”
“I guess.” May said. “Thanks for the advice.” She got up and left the room, feeling even more defeated than before. It was crystal clear at this point to her; this Valentine’s Day wasn’t going to get much better.
However, to her surprise, she heard what appeared to be the sound of the doorbell ringing. It couldn’t have been Max, as he was away on his adventure and was too far away to have returned home in such a quick time, and she didn’t think her neighbors would be stopping by to wish anyone a happy Valentine’s Day. She wondered who it might be to herself as she approached the door and opened it.
Standing before her was a young man she hadn’t seen for three years; a young, raven haired boy wearing a red and black hat, blue jeans, and a blue sweatshirt with a scarf covering his neck. The winter snow covered the brim of his hat as he looked directly at May with his deep brown eyes full of intensity.
“Ash?” She said as a smile covered her face. The boy was holding a heart shaped box of chocolates and a dozen roses in his hands and looked fairly nervous. “What are you doing here?”
He smiled directly back at her and fought back his nervousness. This was his moment, and he wasn’t going to fail to show her his feelings as he had back when she left for Johto.
“Well, I knew you’d be spending Valentine’s Day alone this year, what with the Grand Festival having ended. I figured you might be a bit lonely, so I decided to come on by. Are you surprised?” He opened his arms for a hug, something he had never done before. May smiled the happiest smile she could think of and leaned into his arms, wrapping her’s around his torso.
“Yes, I am. Thank you so much for coming, Ash.”
“The pleasure’s all mine.” He said as they grasped each other tightly. Once they finally let go of the hug, he presented the items he was carrying to May, who accepted them gladly. He tugged a bit on his collar and struggled to say what he truly wanted to say to her as he walked inside her home.
“May, I’ve been thinking about something lately.” He confessed to her.
“Really? What is it, Ash?” She said, anticipation building up in her chest that was still warm from where he had been hugging her only moments ago.
“It hasn’t been the same without you around, May.” He said to her honestly. “The travelling isn’t as fun, the competitions don’t feel the way they used to, and the battles don’t have the same fire. Sinnoh, Unova, Kalos… They haven’t been the same without you, May. Do you want to come travel with me again? Just the two of us?”
May’s eyes lit up at the prospect as she walked up to Ash and embraced him once again, much to his surprise. She planted a soft kiss on his cheek that made him blush with emotion before saying, “You don’t know how much this means to me. Yes, Ash, I’d love to travel with you one more time.” She said, her eyes welling up with happy tears. Once she broke the embrace, she looked at the boy she now realized she had truly wanted to spend Valentine’s Day with all along. “Maybe you could come in and stay a while?”
Perhaps May was wrong. Maybe this Valentine’s Day wouldn’t be so bad after all.