I do not understand Valentine’s Day. Oh, I get that it’s a day to celebrate love and all that weird mushy stuff, and I suppose that is nice for people like Mom. But why do ten year-olds have to get involved? In particular, why do I have to get involved? I do not have a girl friend – seriously, I don’t even like girls!
Every year, Mom goes to the craft store and buys a package of pink construction paper and a bunch of lacey paper she calls doilies. Then, while Tommy and Sam get to pick out cool store valentine cards with Captain Asteroid or racecars on them, she makes me cut out twenty-five hearts, while she glues them to the lace.
On each one, I have to write: To: insert name of classmate that I could care less about. From: Nathan. Then I take them to school, drop one in each person’s Valentine’s Day box, and eat candy that the teacher hands out, while I read the cards that are in my own box. Not that I mind the candy part – it just seems like a lot of wasted effort for twenty-five pieces of paper that I’m going to throw out anyway.
This year, my goal was to skip valentine cards altogether. I know, I know – not the most realistic goal. But, at least I could try to convince Mom to let me use store cards instead of her frilly hearts. My plan, however, ended before I could even ask – Mom was already sitting at the kitchen table with her supplies, when I came home from school today. Next year, I should start convincing her earlier, I suppose.
“Oh good, Nathan, you’re here.” Mom hands over the scissors to me. “We only have a week before we leave for Florida, and I have so much to do. I started cutting, but you’ll just have to finish the rest of these cards yourself.”
“Wouldn’t it be easier if we just got some store cards? That would save the most time, and then I could help with the packing.” Sometimes I think I am just too smart for my own good. I sit back in the kitchen chair and smile.
“Don’t be silly, Nathan! We always make our own cards. Those store ones are just so impersonal. Besides, I already bought all the supplies. Now sit down, you can help me pack your things when you are done. I’ll be upstairs.”
“Okay,” I sigh and start writing on the first of many pink hearts, as Mom heads up the steps.
“Oh, oh, baby, can you feel it, my heart’s on fire, my heart’s on fire...”
“Abby – do you mind? I’m trying to work here. What are you singing anyway?”
“It’s the new Desmond Harper song – duh – My Heart’s on Fire. What do you live under a rock or something? It just came out for Valentine’s Day. Isn’t it romantic?”
I roll my eyes and go back to writing out my cards, hoping Abby will just leave the room, but instead she walks over to the table and looks over my shoulder.
“Dear Lisa, Be my Valentine – I dream of you always, Love, Your sugar pie, Nathan.”
“That’s not what it says!”
“Well at least write something besides, ‘To: Lisa, From: Nathan.’ That just looks like you don’t even care!” Abby says, picking up the card.
“I don’t care – that’s the point.”
“Just trying to help you out, Nathan. One day, you might actually like girls, and if you start treating them nice now, they might actually like you back. You should listen to your big sis.”
“Whatever,” I say and go back to writing my to/from cards.
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