Her rosebud lips transform into a mysterious smile.
Eyes the color of the brightest heavens flash like a diamond.
One lash-fringed lid closes in a impish wink.
Angelic face, cheeks flushed fuchsia pink, suddenly loses its innocent mask.
She places nimble fingers in her mouth to moisten before pinching the string of her bow.
Quick as a flash of her wink, the crimson-hot arrow flies.
Tinkling bells of laughter escape her as she watches the arrow finds its mark.
The mortal flesh feels not the pain of infliction.
Only heart, soul, and pure emotion burn.
Valentine’s Day, ¬†that one day we as mortals celebrate a feeling so profound that words don’t seem able to describe. ¬†For as far back as I can remember, it has been my favorite holiday – a day full of romance and the chance to feel special.
I recall as a young girl spending long parts of classroom afternoons crafting a special box. ¬†This box could take on any appearance I chose, covered with construction paper hearts and my name printed plainly on its top. ¬†It held a bit of magic to me. ¬†Inside it, I might find my “true love’s” feelings written on the back of a pre-printed card labeled, “MY SPECIAL VALENTINE”.
For my own part, I carefully selected a box of these valentines. ¬†Once I made it home with them, I spread them out before me on our multi-purpose kitchen table and began my sorting process. ¬†These were suited for my friends. ¬†These were marginal and noncommittal and could be assigned to classmates to whom I had no real connection. ¬†And¬†this one, ¬†well it was unique and was carefully set aside to label for that special someone. ¬†And yes, ¬†I had a special someone (in my mind) every year. ¬†It might be a¬†different¬†special someone every year, but I was young and didn’t see anything wrong with that.
Then, oh that special day! ¬†Finally, ¬†cookies shaped like hearts, candy with sentiments stamped on their sugary surface, red punch or kool-aid, and the colors of Valentine’s Day splashed on every wall of our classroom. ¬†Moms watched from the edges to see the smiles their planning had evoked. ¬†Teacher stood at her post, making sure the festivities moved to the ticking of the clock.
When the time came, I took my brown paper bag and began delivering my little white envelopes. ¬†My face burned with nervousness. ¬†Would he see me place my envelope in his box as I paused by his desk?
I waited until I arrived at home to begin pulling one valentine out at a time, searching for the handwriting that I knew so well. ¬†When I held it in my hand, hope surged in my heart. ¬†Would I be special?
Most of those moments ended in disappointment as I realized I had been given one of those noncommittal cards, the funny ones that made light of my feelings; ¬†and yet, I still looked excitedly towards February 14th with the hope that cupid would strike his heart next year, as well as mine.