No. I am not imagining things. Nor am I staring at a calendar while "tripping on acid."

No. February wants me dead. And every year so far as I can remember, She and her gang of cardboard valentines and lace cut-out hearts have beaten me senseless with rose stems and left me bruised and bleeding, strung up with ribbon and Hershey's Kiss's wrappers.

Cupid's arrows are too sharp for one like me; romantic underneath, candy-coated cynic with a heart too sensitive to resist, or heal. I fall too hard, I suppose.

The Valentine's that really hurt was sixth grade. He and I had been dating for a month, and he brought me a stuffed lady-bug Beanie Baby named "Lucky." The accompanying card said that he knew he was lucky to have me...and then, immediately after that, as I was swooning, it said

"...because you're a great kisser. It's not that I like're just a great kisser."

He had even underlined the "great."

I thought he loved me! He said so often enough!

That was when I swore that I would never, ever get hurt in February again. It doesn't help matters that my episodes of depression seem to coincide with the cursed month. But there's not much I can do...just cross my fingers, and hope that maybe the paper chain will break this time around.

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