Valentine’s (How a brooch became a pendant)

Last Saturday was St Valentine’s Day. It’s been some years since I had anything to celebrate on Valentine’s Day. Fate has ruled that the last four or five of them, I have been single, so I was somewhat out of practice with the whole Valentine’s Day concept.

Thus I was extra keen not to stuff it up this time. Flowers, perhaps? Jewellery? Some other kind of gift? A card, certainly. Not that I was panicking too much: my lovely girlfriend is very easygoing, but I did want to get her something nice.

She had a nice brooch on one of her jackets, so I thought maybe she’d like another one. There used to be a stall at the St Kilda Esplanade on Sundays which had some very nice ones with flowers embedded in them, so a few weeks ago I planned to go along. Preparation, you see. Don’t leave it until the last minute. Don’t stuff it up.

Well, that Sunday I couldn’t get along there. So I planned to go along the following Sunday, the 8th of Feb. But I was foiled: the St Kilda Festival was that weekend, the Esplanade making the transition from quiet Sunday market to central point of musical celebration overcrowded with hundreds of thousands of people from the profitable 15-39 demographic, a fair dose of very loud amplified music, and liberal distribution of alcohol into the bargain. Bugger.

Okay then, to the shops around the city. Plenty of them, so no problem, right? So I went looking for brooches one lunchtime. Where the hell are all the brooches? I could find barely any, and those that I could find were fairly high up on the horribleness scale. Do they hide all the decent ones away? Perhaps there is some special password and handshake required before the shopkeeper will summon you to a tiny hidden corner, pull back a thick curtain to reveal the brooches and other Precious Things.

And why is it that jewellers, particularly those around Bourke Street which claim to have been in existence for over a hundred years, seem to lack any kind of refinement, poise or dignity? Maybe it’s just me, but they all look so garish and trashy.

Anyhow I gave up on finding a nice brooch, and instead found a rather nice pendant, not in one of the garish jewellery shops, but in the Oxfam/Community Aid Abroad shop. They even gift-wrapped it in an eco-friendly cardboard box thing.

She seems to be wearing it rather a lot. I think that means she likes it. I think that means I didn’t stuff it up.

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