Life & Love & Lessons Learned

The Red Carnation

Valentine’s Day always brings me back to senior year in high school, and the smell of carnations. We had a school store, and on Valentine’s Day, there were buckets and buckets of red, white and pink carnations to be purchased for $1. I remember walking by them, hoping that I would be the recipient of a red carnation, cause you know…red meant more than white (friendship) and pink, (I like you). Red was big. Red was major. Red was the ultimate goal.

Throughout the day, in every class, I held my breath, waiting for the door to open. And throughout the day, the door opened and closed many times, with carnations for many a girl in the class. But the carnations were not for me. Never for me. Through Spanish, History, Typing and Shorthand…(yes kids, those were actual classes), and then during lunch as I sat next to white, red and pink carnations belonging to other girls.

Towards the end of the day, I’d given up looking at the door. I’d given up the thought that I too, would be one of the chosen:  one of the girls who walked to and from classes with flowers in hand.

And then, the door opened. I was engrossed in my algebra book. Trying not to look up and see yet another girl smiling with glee over receiving a flower. I mean, c’mon it was only a carnation.  A stupid, dollar carnation. It didn’t mean anything. I mean, really. All these girls getting excited over a silly carnation.

Wait…was my name just called? Yes, it was for me!

I remember seeing the flower. The red flower. It was red! Somebody cared enough about me to give me a flower. A red flower. Red! I was beaming. I literally skipped to the door. “Why yes, I am Dolly! I believe that flower is for me!”  Yes! Yes! Yes!

I sat back down and looked at the card attached. I held my breath. I slowly opened the small white envelope. I pulled out the card. I opened it, hoping…hoping….it was from him. The crush. The boy I’d held hands with in gym class, during square dancing lessons. (yes kids, that’s what we did in gym class.) The boy who always smiled when he saw me in homeroom, or walking down the hall. That boy.

And it was.




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