Valentine (Valentine's Day Massacre)

by Kevin Myrick

There was a girl at school that Daniel liked more than any other girl at school. Her name was Hannah and Daniel thought she was absolutely the most beautiful girl in all the sixth grade.

All year, he'd sat behind her and stared at the variety of bows she wore in her hair. He would sometimes hand her notes in class. Sometimes she would giggle then hand them to her friend Veronica who sat on her left. Veronica would look over her shoulder and sometimes shake her head.

"That's so weird," she mouthed at him. He was always so weird.

Daniel got his courage up, and by the time Valentine's Day had arrived he decided that he would ask Hannah to be his girlfriend. On his way home on Thursday before the Valentine's Day party in their class, he stopped by Wright-Williams Pharmacy downtown and bought a heart-shaped box of chocolates. He got home and made a heart-shaped card for her, all done up with the ruffles and it folded in half. He filled out the rest of the leftover Spider-Man cardboard cards they were supposed to hand out to everyone else at the party and went to bed. He dreamed of the hug and kiss he'd receive tomorrow for his efforts.

Daniel rode up to the school on his bike that morning, all his Valentine's stuff in a plastic shopping bag inside his backpack. The Pride stopped him on the way in to school, pushing and shoving him without pity.

"What's the matter Daniel, you think you're going to get Hannah to like you? I'd eat dog poop before I'd believe my sister would have anything to do with you," Billy said.

They ruffled his hair, and one of the boys kicked him in the shin before they let him go when the bell rang. Daniel's sole friend Marcus put his hand on his shoulder as he walked up from behind. He had a bag of candy hearts in his hand. "Did they get your stuff?"

"No, they left it alone."

"One day Billy is going to get what's coming to him."

"Yeah, one day."

The day went by fast, and by the afternoon Mrs. Thrace told them to put their books away and set up for the party. Daniel helped her lay out the table cloth on the big table in the back of the room, and Mrs. Thrace brought out cupcakes and cookies, then ran off to the teacher's lounge to put popcorn in the microwave. The kids started exchanging their Valentine's cards, and Daniel went around the room with his until he came to Hannah, the last person.

"I got you something special," he said. "Here."

He handed over the card and the heart-shaped box of chocolates wrapped in cellophane. "Oh, how nice of you Daniel. Thanks."

She turned away and went back to talking with Derek on her right. It didn't got the way he'd imagined at all, and he put his head down and stood there.

"Was there anything else Daniel?" she asked after she turned back around when Victoria hit her arm.

"Ummm, no." He chickened out. Billy was right. She didn't love him, didn't even care that he existed. Oh what sorrows there were in this world when the heart is broken, his father had once said to him. He didn't understand what he meant then, but he did now.

Marcus, looking on from behind Daniel's desk, just shook his head.

"Women can eat your heart out, can't they?"

"They sure can," Daniel said as he sat, staring at the unopened Valentine sitting on her desk and wondering if anyone would ever love him.