Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Valentine (05/16/05)
TITLE: The Unrequited Valentine
By Donna Morton
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“Maybe this will be the year,” he says, thinking hopefully of her—the girl who stole his heart.
It had been love at first sight. For him, anyway—and if she had faults, he didn’t see them. Even now, after so many years of loving her, he’s only aware of her beauty, more splendorous than sunsets of topaz and gold…of her laughter, caressing the ears like wind chimes playing in the prelude of an August storm.
He squeezes his eyes shut, trying to keep the burning tears at bay.
She barely knows he’s alive.
A quick look, a hurried hello…sometimes she sends them his way. Mostly though, he watches sadly from the sidelines, as she busies herself with a life that excludes him.
The whole world, it seems, is pursuing her—with sonnets scripted and melodies sang, with chocolates tempting from old-timey tins, and long-stemmed roses, nestled in slender white boxes and tied with ribbons.
His heart sinks as she accepts the affections of others, then devours them with hope. Always, though, always…the candies melt and the flowers wilt, leaving her to shake her head, disenchanted by a world that never quite delivers on its promises.
If only she’d give him a chance!
He’d love her without condition! He’d explore the canvas of her mind, and paint her dreams into reality!
Many would laugh at his devotion.
“Give her up!” they’d say. “There are other fish in the sea!”
He knows that…but he wants this fish. And he’s done everything to let her know his feelings. He’s poured out his love on paper, applauded her accomplsihments and stood beside her when the chips were down. He doesn’t push, doesn’t pressure…he just waits patiently for her to lift her head and meet his eyes…
If only she’d do that! Meet his eyes. He’d peer straight through them and pierce the depth of her soul. Then she’d know…know that this love was meant to be.
Another Valentine’s Day arrives. And once again, his love is unrequited.
He goes to her, knowing that he must—before her heart is hardened.
“Ah, there she is,” he says, smiling at the sight of her. “But wait—something is wrong.”
She’s alone. On Valentine’s Day.
Swaying slightly in the wooden swing, the one that hangs from the ceiling of her screened-in porch, she hugs herself against the air’s wintry bite. She hunches forward, as if in pain, and lets her face fall to trembling hands.
He knows her, knows her well, and is sure—between her hands and the face they shield, there flows a salty river of tears.
He desperately wants to comfort, to slip gently beside her on the swing and guide her head to his shoulder, inviting her to spill her cares to his listening heart.
Raising a hand, he knocks on the door.
Again, he knocks.
“Leave me alone!” she cries.
He doesn’t scare off that easily. Quietly, he steps inside and kneels before her in the swing.
“I AM your most ardent pursuer,” he whispers.
She doesn’t seem to hear him, or even looks up from her sorrow.
“Love is patient, but can't wait forever,” he pleads. “The day will come when I can no longer court you.”
Unmoved, she continues her forlorn sway.
He stands and starts to leave. “For now, I’m waiting, so…call me.”
Hand resting on the doorknob, he pauses and turns to his heart’s desire.
“Oh, and just in case you’ve forgotten,” he says, “if you do decide to call, my name is…Jesus.”
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