“I hate Valentines Day.” The boy looked at her as she said this. Animated as usual, gesticulating vehemently with sandwich in hand, she expanded on the statement as he knew she would. “Seriously, most obnoxious day to be in public school. Not only do you have to listen to the constant barrage of romantic idiocy that will only turn into another fight, but it’s the damn stuffed animal wading that drives me up the wall.” She paused for a moment to take another bite, the diatribe on hold until she had thoroughly chewed her food. Something that was nice about her, the boy thought. While she did tend towards histrionic speeches, she also tended not to spew food when she delivered them. To prove his continued engagement he asked, “What do you mean, stuffed animal wading?” The girl looked at him closely, trying to decide if he actually cared about the answer, or if he was merely humoring her eccentric nature. Deciding that she did not really care which was the case she went on, “You know what I’m talking about. People insist on purchasing the largest, most out of control plush toys, usually of the bear variety, for their lover of the moment. The whole day is spent trying not to get bulldozed by a thousand pounds of synthetic fur accompanied by the static cling from the balloons. Gahhh!!” She ripped at her sandwich again, chewing with an abandon that he knew she didn’t quite notice. The boy considered her words for a moment. Though a deep thinker, he was not one for the long speeches that she seemed to enjoy.
“I like Valentines Day,” he said. She looked into his face, waiting for him to continue. Another nice thing about her. She didn’t immediately assume he liked it simply because he had a girlfriend. “I know people take it to an unnecessary extreme, but I like a day that let’s me show I care. Not just for my girlfriend, but for everybody.” The girl considered him for a moment, moving on from the sandwich to her next food item. “Don’t get me wrong,” she began, “I think flowers and chocolate are lovely. That kind of token is nice, really. Especially flowers. But, people just ruin everything that could be simply expressed. I guess,” she paused. She turned her eyes over his shoulder. “I guess,” she continued in a gray tone, ” that I know I’m also jealous because I know that I will not receive anything. I mean, obviously I would hate those freakin’ teddy bears regardless of my relationship status. But, it’s heightened you know?” The girl continued eating, and the boy regarded his friend. An idea formed quickly, but he didn’t share it with her. Lunch moved onward, as did the day, and he bid her farewell keeping his surprise close.
The girl arrived early the next morning as usual. She had an early class that, while odious, was necessary and thus she pulled into the student lot. Exiting the car, she paused in surprise. The boy was also getting out of his car, although he hadn’t noticed her yet. His presence was odd considering she knew that he never came in this early. Cocking her head, she called, “What has you in so early?” The boy looked up, a smile immediately curving his mouth. “Glad I caught you,” he called back, walking towards her. She noticed his hands were behind his back, his smile now appearing mischievous. She felt her eyebrow arch slightly, the stirrings of a question beginning. Before she could give voice, the boy brought his hands forward with, “Happy Valentines Day.” In his hand, held out to her, was a single red rose that was just beginning to open its petals. Speech died within her, replaced with the kind of delight that only happens when a kindness beyond expectation occurs. She gently took the rose, pressed it to her nose, and smiled at him with all the joy that one can press into a smile. “Happy Valentines Day.”