When I was in sixth grade, I had a boyfriend--one of the nicest boys I'd ever met. I had no idea what having a boyfriend entailed. We took a lot of walks that fall with our friends. I think we went to a movie once, and his mother threw him a birthday party at his house. The experience was terrifying, and the food was oddly grown-up. Still, I liked him.
Valentine's Day arrived. I think we still exchanged Valentines at school then, even in sixth grade. No big deal. Then my boyfriend showed up at my front door. His mother was outside, waiting in the car. We stood in the doorway. I was speechless because he was holding a large, heart-shaped box of candy, as well as a smaller box. He just kind of shoved it all at me, blushed and ran back to his mother's car. I think I said "thank you," but I can't be sure.
Inside the tiny box was a necklace with a pendant in the shape of a dainty, heart-shaped padlock. The word LOVE was spelled out on the front, with a round crystal where the O was supposed to be.
When I think of all the pressures that preteen kids are under, I remember those tender sixth grade emotions. The abject confusion of it all. The sincere intentions. And I don't worry so much about the world.
This week, I'm writing notes, sending Valentines. There are so many people in my life who give me hope, or have made my world a better place just by doing what they do every day.
If you're thinking this sounds awfully sentimental, I guess it is.
But just to show you that I'm my same twisted self, if you comment with a brief story about one of your Valentines or even just comment by the end of Valentine's Day, you might be the person who gets an inscribed copy of my novel CALLING MR. LONELY HEARTS. Because it's the perfect Valentine. Sort of. ; )
(And even if you're a regular commenter and have your own copy of CMLH, you know I love to hear from you, too. I have the loveliest readers. Definitely.)
**The vintage Valentine pic is from the wonderful site, Vintage Valentine Museum.com.