'Ouch'—Internet Pities 2021 Valentine's Gift Found in Thrift Store

A discarded Valentine's Day gift is breaking hearts all over again after it was found gathering dust in a second-hand bookstore.

But what makes the discovery of this particular copy of Coleman Barks' book Rumi: The Book of Love: Poems of Ecstasy and Longing that bit more painful is the fact that it was only offered as a present less than a year ago.

It was American writer Colleen Houck who once declared that "love is fleeting." That certainly appears to have been the case for the couple at the center of this particular social media tale.

It all started when a Twitter user by the name of everclaire13 came across an inscription in the front of a book she purchased from the online used bookstore Discover Books.

The message read: "Matt, I'll love you to my last page, that's a promise. Happy Valentine's Day, love Cyndi."

While messages of this kind are not uncommon in second-hand books, it was the fact that it was also dated "2021" that prompted Claire, who lives in California and posts as everclaire13, to share it to Twitter.

"I collect used books and find inscriptions and photos and tickets and stuff all the time," she told Newsweek. "But the fact that this one was marked 2021 made me feel sad so I posted it."

The tweet proved a huge hit, racking up more than 106,000 likes and over 5,400 retweets in the space of a few short days.

"Ouch!" came the response from one pained follower, with another asking: "why would you sell/give this away?" Others were more philosophical, with one writing: "you can't keep everything."

Claire said it's "definitely rare" for her to find an inscription that is "so fresh" but there was something about the message that really resonated with her. "I love inscriptions and thought it was beautiful," she said. "I'm a romantic and I loved the metaphor, I only noticed the date afterwards."

Claire was baffled when it came to explaining the tweet's viral success. "Maybe we are all just a bunch of romantics," she said.

She has not held out much hope of contacting either Matt or Cyndi—Discover Books operates across the entirety of the U.S. making tracking the book's origins down difficult to say the least.

They have been in her thoughts though. "I hope both Matt and Cyndi are doing well," she said. "It's been a rough few years for all of us."

Matt and Cyndi's relationship may not have worked out, but their discarded love token has proven a catalyst for a thriving online discussion with people sharing fascinating inscriptions they discovered in second-hand books now in their possession.

There was this adorable message from a copy of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight:

A cute message left in a book found in Karachi, Pakistan:

This slightly unsettling message from a book titled Poisons:

This copy of the Cycling Annual for a pregnant woman:

And this very sweet message found slipped inside the front of a book:

Further proof that romance may officially be dead has popped up on social media in recent days, from a controlling husband deliberately throwing out his wife's special diet food, to the man who told his partner he would probably remarry if she died, it would seem that love is definitely not in the air this January.

A page from a Valentine's Day gift.
A page from a book given as a gift on Valentine's Day. Somewhere a woman by the name of Cyndi is probably feeling quite heartbroken. Twitter/everclaire13

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