The Watzek Owl surrounded by heartfelt emojis.

Missed Connection: I’m in Love with the Watzek Owl

The Backdoor is a work of fiction and humor.

GROUNDHOG DAY just passed. You know what that means: next week is my grandfather’s birthday. Then, more importantly, it’s almost Valentine’s Day.

For the past two decades, I’ve spent every Feb. 14 alone, polishing off the Fun Dip and chocolate hearts that classmates dropped into my Valentine’s box. Spider-Man themed stickers told me I was a “web-slingin’ sweetheart” and Spongebob gave me heart eyes from the interior of a cheap, mass-produced cardstock Valentine card.

But then, one year, my fifth grade teacher decided we were too old for decorated shoe boxes and tiny notes sealed with little heart-shaped stickers that inevitably fell off. Feb. 14 fell by the wayside, and I instead dreamed of the day after, known to single people as National Cheap Candy Day. I’d roll up to Fred Meyer, pockets heavy with cash, and cop 15 Pixy Stix for the price of five. But after slamming back seven or eight, the sugar got to my head, and the thoughts started to spin: Is there anyone out there for me on Valentine’s Day? Or will I be a slave to my unhealthy coping mechanisms forever?!

I’d almost given up hope, especially after coming to this bereft campus. It seems everyone is emotionally unavailable, afraid of commitment or just on the dating scene so they can retire their Tinder account. If you do find someone you like, odds are one of your friends has already hooked up with them and now it’s just weird because you’ve heard too many stories. Was that the one who lowkey sexually harassed you? The one who kept sending you snaps of him pissing off of roofs? Or was it that guy with a problematic interest in Netflix and chilling to the Ted Bundy tapes? I don’t even want to think about dating anyone I’m actually friends with, because when that breakup inevitably shatters my entire social network, I’m not sure I’ll be able to recover. Just like that, the pool of available candidates has shrunken to a sad little puddle that’ll evaporate next time the sun comes out. Finally, I’ve opened my eyes to someone who’d been there all along, someone I see almost every day of this repetitive and mundane brick wall existence. You certainly don’t mind if I spend Friday nights in the library, and you never judge my greasy ponytail and tired eyes. This message goes out to a special someone–you know who you are.

Ode to the Watzek Owl

Old but ageless, creature of the stacks, you

Enchant me with your gaze unending, eyes

That reflect only knowledge and not lies.

From your high perch, into my heart you flew.

The plumage of those wings, gleaming bright blue,

A sight to behold; how do you,

so wise,

Bewitch my young soul more than any guys.

To Watzek’s knowledge, you are my one clue.

Guide me to elusive answers

I seek,

Questions of the heart I cannot

but ask,

Are you entranced by this sonnet

I wrote?

Into my eyes I beseech you to peek;

If you like what you see, then

here’s a task:

Meet me on V-Day in the ol’ Dovecote?

Signed,

Secret Admirer <3

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