February 14th, 1992
At home, England
It’s hearts and flowers day and as much as I hate to admit it, I enjoy Valentine’s Day, so in that vein, I got up early to catch the postman.
Mum was in the kitchen, the radio set to some station playing mushy love songs, with stories of lost/unrequited/forever love. The table was set with the crisp linen tablecloth I found in Bermuda, over which Mum had strewn chocolate hearts. In the middle of the table was a vase filled with red roses, next to which sat a bright pink envelope bearing my name.
“Is this a special occasion?” I joked.
“T’is, miss,” Mum sang, spooning cheesy scrambled eggs onto my plate. “And I got your favourite bread,” she said, pointing to the stack of toast neatly lined up in the toast rack we barely ever use.
“Lovely, thank you Mum. Should I open the card?”
“Aye, go ahead,” she nodded, sitting across from me.
On the front of the card was a teddy bear, his arms laden with flowers and chocolates and the caption; To My Favourite Person. I smiled and opened the card, inside of which Mum had written; “You’ve been my wee Valentine forever and soon you’ll be married to William, living many, many miles away so I wanted to make this last one together special. I love you with all my heart.”
“Aw, Mum,” I uttered, my eyes beginning to well. “I feel horrible, I didn’t get you anything.” She was about to respond but we were interrupted by Tini who let out a loud bark as he scampered out from underneath the table.
“Shhhhh, Tini, it’s just the postman,” Mum said, pushing back her chair.
“Stay where you are, Mum, I’ll get it.”
Tini obediently followed me out into the hall, to the front door, where I picked up the post that had landed on the carpet and flicked through the small pile, looking for William’s handwriting. There were several bills and a card addressed to me but it wasn’t from William, it was from Ben.