Valentiny Time Again

It’s that time of year when hope returns. I spend most of November-December fighting feelings like “I’m not cut out for this.” or “I’ll never write again.” And then, lo and behold, January comes back (and it’s too dang dark to do much else), and contests with their flashy headlines and beautifully-illustrated buttons and amazing prizes start calling my name.

This year StoryStorm was my ticket to the writing train. It rekindled my imagination and hope and joy in writing. And that offered me some new material for all of these contests that follow. Starting with Susanna Leonard Hill’s Valentiny contest, which is always so much fun. 214 words or less, centering on Valentine’s Day in which someone feels proud.

This was my 210-word entry this year. As always, I find inspiration in the kids I get to raise.

The Perfect Card

The Valentine’s card rack is packed with red envelopes. I rotate it, hoping to find a card my sister Salome will love. If she were here, she’d use her hands to sign “Music. Music. Music.” Salome loves musical cards the most.

I find a musical Toy Story card that says “I love you ‘To Infinity and Beyond!’”

I find a card with a droopy-eyed dog holding a goofy guitar and singing, “You Ain’t Nothin’ but a Hound Dog.”

Finally at the top of the rack I see a bunch of big eyes and orange beaks peeking down at me from a barnyard card. When I open it, “The Chicken Dance” song blares through the store. I smile.

I picture helping Salome open it. I see her close her eyes and flap her arms and clap her hands and dance wildly with joy. And I picture dancing with her.

Not everyone understands happiness like Salome’s. Sometimes people laugh when she moves like that. Maybe they don’t have that kind of joy deep inside—the kind that spills over the edges.

Even though Salome won’t be able to read my words, I pull out her favorite colored marker and write:

Dear Salome,

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I’m proud to be your chicken-dancing brother.

Love, Shiloh

2 thoughts on “Valentiny Time Again”

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