Love, like a poltergeist, is invisible to the naked eye and can only be witnessed by the force it bears on objects. To really understand it, you need to feel it, to be possessed by it, or, at the very least, to see the way it can tear up a living room when it goes wrong. And like a poltergeist, sometimes love is actually just a big ruse designed by lonely people to gain attention.
"I lack several crucial social skiiiiiiiiills."
It's this last type of love on which I want to concentrate this Valentine's Day. Since the beginning of time, and at least since the George Glass episode of The Brady Bunch, our ability to love and our worthiness of being loved have been so important in defining us as human beings that even when we don't have real relationships in our lives, we are willing to fake it. While the stories can be complex, elaborate and carry on for months, when that pretend girlfriend or boyfriend isn't needed anymore, all that fiction is just cast aside like invisible garbage. Well I believe even made-up people deserve better.
I want to properly honor the make-believe lovers who never got to be on the receiving end of a proper relationship. Unfortunately, I am limited by the postal service of a physical world, so I can't send each of them Valentine's cards. Instead, I am doing the next best thing by compiling them all here and firing them blindly into the ether like tiny spaceships of appreciation. We owe them all that much, particularly young Jenny Garret, my fictional fourth-grade girlfriend. I'm sorry, Jenny. I hope you got over me and went on to accomplish your lifelong dream of becoming a pretend veterinarian. These are all for you, in a way.
For more from Soren, check out 25 Honest Lunchbox Letters From Parents to Children and The Spambot Who Seduced Me: A True Story of Forbidden Love.