Not Your Valentine

Stories by Matvey Cherry.

Illustrations by Sky Vargas.

One and Another

Love has no meaning at all, but it gives meaning to everything around. It makes the heart light and empty, like a balloon. You don’t understand what is happening to you not because you are stupid, but simply because there is nothing to understand. However, there is something vulgar in the simple explanation of what love is like. And yet all the stories are similar in one way or another. 

For example, One can not live a single minute without the Other, is sick of them, jealous, afraid of them, clings to them, does not want to let the Other go, nearly stops breathing when the lover is not near. The Other is looking for a connection, an opportunity to fly together over the horizon, to new adventures, and when it turns out that the loved One doesn’t need either a flight or an adventure, but only the simple possession of them and their body, it becomes boring and even scary for the Other to be locked in a cage of strange, incomprehensible feelings. One is anxious and wild, willing to do anything for the Other, for the sake of full presence in their life, but the Other is open-minded and ready to open to anyone. For them the most important thing is life itself in all its manifestations and the attraction of two people’s universes exists only when their life views coincide. The Other needs someone around them to understand, rather than just wanting to take them. 

Such a relationship is an eternal parting theorem, erasing everything that there once was between two lovers, like the morning waves.

Love Is…

Real love is more than a hard on, but real love is hard. So hard, challenging and ultimately very hurtful. Even unbearable if the person you love is taken from you. Love is as acute and as large-scale as death is. It is essential to appreciate it and hold on to it as long as you haven’t lost it.

My heart is a close target, with such a range that my lover can’t miss. For sure I am a desperate, hopeless romantic. I could be a good duelist as well, but oh, 21st century… There are so many people that are really incapable of feeling or experiencing real love. In the long run they may be better off, the jury is still out, but if you dump your partner because you don’t like the way he/she/they hang their just washed underwear over the shower curtain rod, chances are you will die, not necessarily alone, but having never been really into someone.

Real love always comes with a potentially very high price to pay, but, no matter what, you’re trying to keep the relationship at all costs, even if getting in touch with that person is like trying to seduce the Pope, even if you’ve been experiencing the whole push and pull dynamic for a while.In my imagination all lovers are artists who’re using the light to paint, but to create the masterpiece they should add a little of darkness too. Art is love made public.


The most outspoken posts in social media are love letters with unknown addresses sent to the whole world. A note sealed in a bottle, floating through the ocean looking for a new reader. Perhaps one day the addressee will see it. Perhaps never. The truth is that my addressee is of flesh and blood. We are two poisonous opposites. This is just one symptom of a coma.

The shamelessness of youth abounds with feelings so dizzying, it feels like I am seventeen again and I am on the verge (of death), when for the first time I tried something strong, that eats the soul through, one agonizing part after another. If you have never experienced loss, you’ll hardly understand. If only I saw your face again, noticed you in the distance…

I remember everything: your carefree and lazy look, fluorescent lamps, the depth of the backstage, night dances. When I managed to slip into the closing doors and we were in weightlessness for a few seconds, which seemed like hours. Helpless times, when fate is not wrapped around someone’s thighs, but the chaos of the body has their own reasons.

The cold season is about to return, but there will be no snow. Winter was akin to anesthesia for me, now it lulls others. Resisting the fever, I forgot that I need to move. Foolish longing always turns a poor me into a wooden puppet. This is what the dead ones come to at the end. I’m afraid of this darkness sleeping in me. Every day I feel its malignancy. Everyone has phrases that send us to hell, like “we are too different, goodbye.

Slowly dying is a performance. I’m horrified how it turns me on. I can say, I was born for this. Please compress my ashes into the smoky eyes palette. I want to give beauty!

Matvey Cherry


Sky Vargas


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