With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I’d like to paint two pictures for you based on my life. Well, the first one only exists in my mind, and the other one is the stark truth.

Dream

It’s a misty Seattle evening. The city lights are dim, making the molecule dance across various surfaces. I can hear the soft thrum of music from bars as I walk past and the purr of engines gliding beside me.

Each step I take I get a little more nervous. Tonight is my first date and it just happens to be Valentine’s Day. Could I get any luckier? I see the sign of the restaurant glowing in the distance, so there’s no turning back now. No changing outfits for the fifth time, or my cologne.

The door creaks open and a bell rings as I walk into the restaurant. I can see you sitting and waving me over with a smile. I still can’t believe that smile is for me. We hug and you smell amazing!

We order and talk, and we are both nervous. Food comes and we sample each other’s dish and talk about our favorite things. After dinner we head out for a walk and see the city, holding hands. It’s nice.

There is no alarm to wake me. This is my reality, and I dread having to say goodbye until next time we meet.

Reality

I have been single my whole life (small violins play) and I don’t hate it. Except when Valentine’s Day comes around. Then my feelings shift.

National “You Are Single And Bitter” Day is the worst! It’s like everyone and their lover crawl out into the light to flaunt. Then there you are, alone, by yourself, eating a doughnut.

You try to play it cool: “Yeah, I’m waiting for a friend!” But that isn’t true.

You try to hide inside, then you check Facebook, and you see your friends’ walls overflowing with posts and hearts.

You try to text people and see who is free. “Hey man, you busy? Want to hang out? Oh, you’ve got a date? I thought you were single! Oh, you met her while getting milk? Nice.”

Even Ted, your best buddy, has plans. And Ted is a creep.

You channel surf. Then you see that every movie is based on love.

You cry to the heavens: “WHY MUST THIS HAPPEN TO ME?!” You hear nothing back.

OK, that is a bit dramatic, but you get my point, right? I do not mind being single. Of course, I would love to be a in a relationship, but I don’t hate myself for not being in one now.

Except on Valentine’s Day. I sort of, kind of, loathe being single on that day.

• Peter Wachsmith is a senior at Naches Valley High School and a member of Yakima Herald-Republic’s Unleashed journalism program for high school students.