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Love grows stronger for 20-Somethings

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Love grows stronger for 20-Somethings

Melissa Bond and boyfriend Curtis Wilkerson pose for a picture at San Francisco’s Union Square.

Photo contributed/


POSTED February 13, 2013 1:32 a.m.

Melissa Bond has to work on Valentine’s Day.

While it might seem like a simple inconvenience – she and boyfriend Curtis Wilkerson will celebrate the following day with a trip to Santa Cruz – it’s actually a metaphor for her romantic life and its evolution over the course of the last three years.

Sounds farfetched right?

But at 20-years-old, Bond, who started dating Wilkerson right after graduating from Manteca High, is seeing the world around her starting to transform. Friends are getting married. People are talking about getting engaged. Kids are being had.

As she makes the transition into adulthood, her relationship with Wilkerson is growing up as well. It’s not the young, high school love that she remembers when they first got together. It is becoming something different, something mature.

And while she doesn’t know completely what the future holds, she’s happy with where she is today and who she gets to spend it with – even if the idea of Valentine’s Day isn’t exactly something that carries the same meaning that it once did.

“It’s not a big deal in some ways – an excuse to go out to dinner and have fun,” she said. “It’s a chance to tell the person you care about that you love them, but that’s something that you should do everyday anyway.

“A relationship is about compromising – doing something not just for yourself but for the other person because you want to make them happy. And if you’re lucky enough they’re doing the same thing.”

Bond said that she and Wilkerson are planning a trip down to Santa Cruz to spend a day soaking up the coastal air and grab dinner at a place that they don’t normally go – relishing the “beachy” feel of the unique community.

Little dates in Manteca are commonplace when long trips to San Francisco – another place they like to frequent – aren’t in the cards. Just a trip to grab dinner or hit a movie, she said, is a satisfactory night out and a chance to enjoy the company of the one she loves.

“I just like hanging out with him,” she said. “Whether it’s on Valentine’s Day or any other day, it makes me happy.”

Her friend Krysta Saberniak, however, has a much different view of the holiday.

On Thursday, Saberniak, 20, will be celebrating the two-year anniversary of her relationship with boyfriend Jeff Collins. He wrote her a letter and “asked her o ut” eight months after they graduated from Manteca High and they’ve been together ever since.

“We’re going to Monterey and going to the aquarium and probably going out to eat,” she said. “He’s actually my first love, and I think it’s a deeper love today than it was when we first got together.

“It’s kind of weird because people that we know are getting married now. Some people are ready for it and some people are going to wait. It just makes thing different knowing that.”

And her view of Valentine’s Day as a whole might be a bit different than what people expect.

“It’s special to me because it’s our anniversary and we’re going to be celebrating two years,” she said. “I never really thought that it was a big deal otherwise. But even if it wasn’t our anniversary we would still do something. I mean, it’s Valentine’s Day.”

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