As the rain poured down outside, Miss Mason’s third grade class was full of excitement. Each child had decorated a shoebox and exchanged valentines. The day was filled with interruptions as mothers came to visit. Darcy Davis remembered how her mother would show up with a plate full of cupcakes. Her mama always looked so pretty in her favorite pink cardigan. Darcy’s heart broke each time the door opened, for she knew her mother would never walk through that doorway again..
After class Darcy erased the chalkboards as tears streamed down her face. After erasing the chalkboard Darcy began to draw a picture of a puppy. Her mother had promised that they would go to animal shelter and adopt a dog for Darcy.
Miss Mason entered the room. “Darcy, your father is waiting for you out front, you better hurry along.” Darcy erased the drawing of the dog.
Daniel Davis had pulled up in front of the school and within moments realized why Darcy had not wanted to go to school. Once the bell rang students ran excitedly out the front doors with valentines.
At three-ten Darcy stepped out of the front door of the school in her yellow slicker, and ran to the truck. Daniel asked, “How’s my girl?”
Darcy sat silent just staring at her polka dot galoshes. Darcy broke into tears. “Oh, Daddy, it was terrible. I miss mama so much.”
Daniel took Darcy in his arms and held her close. “I’m sorry Darcy, I miss her, too. What would you like to do today? We will do anything you want.”
“I want to bake the cupcakes just like mama used to, and buy a red balloon, and then I want to go visit mama.”
Daniel looked into his daughter’s eyes. “It’s raining cats and dogs, Darcy. Maybe we should go visit mama tomorrow.” Darcy sobbed. “What am I talking about? It’s Valentine’s Day, of course we will go today.”
As the cupcakes baked Darcy wrote a letter to her mother on pink paper. They left for Sacred Heart Cemetery. Together they walked to the gravesite of Amelia Anne Davis. Darcy knelt down as the rain fell upon the pink cupcakes with the red hearts, then rose to her feet. She gave the damp letter to her father. “Daddy, please tie this to the string.”
Choking back tears he tied the note to the balloon, “Here you go kiddo.”
Darcy lifted the balloon into the air and called, “Happy Valentine’s Day Mama! I love you.” Her small hand released the string.
The balloon defied the wind and rain and rose higher and higher until it disappeared into the clouds. Within moments the rain ceased and the sun shone through. Darcy shrieked as she pointed to a rainbow.
“Look Daddy! It’s from Mama!”
The world seemed refreshed and gentle.
A gentle voice broke the silence. “Excuse me, are you Darcy Davis?” Darcy and Daniel turned to see an elderly man with white hair approach with a small wicker basket. “Yes, I am Darcy. Who are you?”
“I’m Zachariah, I work here. This morning a visitor left something here for you.”
Darcy’s eyes grew wide. “What is it?”
The man knelt down next to Darcy and pulled back a blanket. A small white puppy whimpered as its warm dark eyes met Darcy’s. “Can I hold it? Please, Daddy, can I?”
Daniel looked to the kind stranger who gave him a wink.
“I don’t see why not.”
Darcy picked up the puppy and brought him to her chest. “Look, Daddy he has one black spot by his ear, and it’s shaped like a heart! Oh, Daddy can I keep him please?”
Daniel answered, “Of course you can.”
The elderly man smiled and turned to walk away. Daniel followed. “Wait, mister. Can you tell me who brought the pup?”
Zachariah turned to Daniel and smiled meekly. “Sorry I can’t, but she had long blonde wavy hair just like Darcy’s.
That night Darcy knelt down to say her prayers as the puppy licked her face. Darcy prayed. “Thank you Mama, I know you are always with me - I love you Mama.”
The next morning after dropping Darcy off at school Daniel was compelled to go back to the cemetery and find Zachariah. He stepped out of his truck and headed to caretaker’s house. As he prepared to knock door he noticed a sign posted by the doorbell. ”’No caretaker on site. For assistance please contact St. Stephen’s parish.”
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