Hallmark Holiday
by Ava Lindt
356 words (2-2,5 minutes)

(Paula, an advertising saleswoman in Baltimore, 32, enters. She wears upscale clothes, purse in hand)

Here we go again, Valentine's Day. The Hallmark holiday, the diamond dealer's wet dream, kitschy jewelry from upscale department stores, red tea cozies, satin sheets (singing) These are a few of my favorite things! These are a few of my favorite THINGS! (flinging purse against chairs, table) THESE ARE A FEW--(slumps onto chair, knock kneed, head back)

Last year I made a pact with myself that someone would find me before the next Valentine's day. I imagined that I would be one half of that couple staring into each other's eyes at the French restaurant. Hell, I even bought satin sheets at 50% off the normal price. No option for returning. It was just me in purgatory with my red sheets until he found me. It was taking a while, four months into the waiting I decided I needed to lose some weight, freshen up my looks. So I power-walked through my neighborhood every day, a mile, two miles. One day I started even running for part of it until I cramped up so bad that I was bent over in a gutter, swearing and choking on my own liver or something. And that's when I thought, okay, I've gone my fifty percent, now he's got to come his.

So I went home and I just went about my life. Did the daily grind. Watched a LOT of recorded Oprah, so I could fast forward through the damn commercials. I even got into an Oprah Book Club. I read some really good books there, and I met some people, but they were mostly older married women who wanted to save their souls with Oprah's sweet inspiration. Gag. Save us, Oprah! We are all bored out of our minds, Oprah! I am suffering from post childbearing pre-apocalypse anxiety disorder with a dash of Pre-menopausal hot flashes. Oh, the combinations! Thank God I'm not THERE yet. I'm just flailing around waiting for my man. He's out there. I know it. You know, the books in Oprah's club usually cost 15-20% less than their non-Oprah book club counterparts. It's just mass marketing. Just like Hallmark cards. Just like Valentine's Day. Hmmph!