Saturday, February 14, 2009

Be Mine

When I was in second grade all those years ago, I got it in my tiny head to create my own Valentine cards for my classmates who, might I remind you, were not necessarily my friends. I painstakingly cut out little pink hearts from construction paper for every girl in my classroom, repeating the procedure for the boys with blue.

On each tiny pink heart I penciled, “I love you.” On each blue I replaced the verb with “like.” Even then I knew about the difference and admonition of boy-to-boy love.

After recess, Mrs. Hardin allowed us to walk along the rows to deliver our Valentines in the brown lunch sacks taped to each desk. I made sure I had one colored, creased paper heart for everyone. I didn’t want anyone to feel left out.

During the party, while we enjoyed a reel-to-reel film and cookies with punch, I overheard some kids make fun of my homemade, heartfelt gesture. I knew it was silly; I knew everyone should appreciate my Valentines over any store-bought version.

At the end of the day, as I was leaving the classroom to be picked up by the mother who had encouraged me to be so vulnerable and sensitive, I saw several wadded up pieces of construction paper on the floor. And in the trash. Pink and blue pieces of trash that should I had had the strength to unfold I knew would reveal my carefully formed handwriting in pencil. But no strength made itself available to my own downcast, broken heart.


  1. Ugh, horrible, horrible kids!!


  2. Ms. Hardin? Interesting last name.