I’m trying out a new template in word. We’ll see how it posts. I have difficulty getting the tabs and or carriage returns to transfer properly. They seem to be as slippery as my driveway which – as you might presume – is especially slippery today. I suppose that since it’s February 14, I should be wishing you a happy Valentine’s Day. Since it’s Friday as well, I should likely write some sort of love story. But what if I just wrote a story you could love? That would be a trick worthy of duplication.
Let’s give it a go then, shall we?
By Jon Stark
Martin was not a fan of Valentine’s Day. It seemed to be just one more opportunity to make a colossal mistake, to spend too little or too much on the perfectly wrong things for someone who had only been holding on these last two weeks to get one final payday. Except this year he didn't think Tamara would be dumping him. She was dropping too many hints about exactly what sort of diamond jewelry she was after.
It was with these ruminations that Martin strolled into Adele’s Hallmark. It was as busy as you’d expect this close to D-day. It had the electric panic of Christmas shoppers who had just remembered Aunt Ruby and needed to find a crocheted hand-warmer with the face of John Elway. He elbowed his way in and began the pointless search. There was, naturally, no card in stock that would accurately describe his feelings for Tamara without offending her.
Adele worked the aisle, pointing out perfect cards and encouraging those who were, perhaps, a bit timid about approaching the perfect woman. Martin wanted to tell them to run. Not to waste their money. But he didn't.
“What are you looking for this year, Mr. Abernathy?” asked Adele. The old man next to Martin smiled at her. “I don’t think I have a card specifically celebrating 63 years. But this one is nice.” It was nice and Mr. Abernathy took it.
Martin almost threw up. He was terrified by the thought of being with Tamara for 63 years. But she seemed to want that. He considered what that might look like. What in the world would they talk about?
He put back a card that featured a dachshund promising a lifetime of “long walks on the beach” – it was cute but she didn't like dogs.
A pimply youth, effervescent with naïve hope, asked Adele for help. “It’s our first, you see?” She nodded. “And I want it to be special but not creepy. Not a ‘I can’t wait until forever’ sort of stalking card.”
Adele led him further down the aisle and pulled out a black card with a small red rose. “Try this.” She said. He read the inside – ‘I never knew love was real” - and thanked her.
Martin pulled out the next card and caught his breath. It was a cartoon drawing of a frog. His outstretched arms held a heart shaped box of chocolates. “Rescue me with a kiss and I’ll happily be your valentine ever after.”
He thought about the tire swing by the river. The Ferris wheel. The first time they shared popcorn at the movie – her hand lingering with his, neither eating, neither hearing a word of the film. A night of pouring rain and oppressive thunder rescuing frogs from the flood. Simone. Always in secret, nobody could ever know how he’d felt. Secret even from himself until she was gone.
Tamara wouldn't save a frog. But Martin could imagine 63 years with the same Valentine.