Years ago in San Francisco I visited a friend of a friend with my roommate. This friend of a friend was an artist and her home was covered with paintings. Sculptures littered the shelves. While everyone chatted in the kitchen I wandered about looking intently. I felt shy around my roommate’s friends, and I was happy to have something to focus on besides small talk.
A curved little figure sitting on a shelf caught my eye and held it. I asked the artist if I could pick it up and she said yes. I turned it over and over in my hands. It was smooth and soft to the touch. “It’s funny,” I said, “this isn’t a position most people think of as positive, but it is, it is positive. It’s reflective. And you’ve put a heart at the center of it.”
Her face lit up. “Yes!” she said, “yes, exactly!”
“I love it,” I told her. “This is beautiful.”
“Would you like to have it?” She asked.
“Oh no, I couldn’t,” I protested, shocked by her generosity. But she insisted, and eventually I succumbed of course, how could I not? So here it is now, some twenty-odd years later, still fitting warm and snug in the palm of my hand. For the life of me I can’t remember what the young woman’s name was, though the initials JD are scratched into the figure. I have no idea who she is or where she went but I’ve kept this piece of her and made it mine.
On its own it is such a good reminder to empty my mind and carry a light heart, to love myself best and value the stillness that comes from turning inwards. But in some ways my very favorite thing about this little figurine is how it came to me. Because it came through connection, through the experience of listening to another and being seen in return. It came through generosity and genuine, authentic joy. Through the spirit of sharing.
So while the figure is alone it is never lonely. Single but never separate. A perfect Valentine.