Sunday, April 24, 2011

I Heart You

Since I haven't posted since the last time I posted, I thought I'd better post something. Here is a resurrected story, a retread, so if you've read it before, I hope you enjoy it again.

Six grade was a hard year for her. Helen was the class out-cast, being overweight and from the wrong side of the tracks made her the brunt of many jokes. Now the worst day of the year for her was coming, Valentine's Day. She knew they would decorate some shoe box to sit on their desks so that everyone would put their store bought Valentine's cards in them. She knew that she wouldn't be given any cards, just like last year and the year before, and so she didn't ask her mom to buy her any cards to give. Tears soaked her pillow that night as the dread of another day and more disappointment loomed before her.

He was the rich kid of the class. Born into money that his ancestors made on the backs of slaves and convicts. Somehow Patrick was different from his family. He loved life, not because of what he had, but because he enjoyed the creation around him. He would sit for hours on Saturdays watching the birds feed and water in his back yard. He would take photographs of the changing seasons and then paint magnificent works that even impressed his father. "Not bad for a kid, but don't think that you could make a living at that. You need to start preparing yourself for the real world, to follow in my footsteps…." yada yada yada. He believed in passion, even at his young age, and knew in his heart that he would follow that passion. His favorite time of year was approaching, Valentine's Day. The day that he would get a card from his parents that told him that they loved him. He would wear the card out looking it over and over throughout the year.

Patrick worked on his Valentine box with the artistic ability that he painted by. Everyone was amazed at how beautiful it turned out. "Typical," Helen thought, "the rich kid gets all the good paper and glue and stuff to make his box beautiful. All I had was some worn out fabic and a few buttons to dress mine up with." Patrick placed his box on the front of his desk and stared at it the rest of the day, content in what he had created. During the lunch break he walked around the classroom and admired what others had done to theirs. The last one he looked at was Helen's. He noticed the worn fabic and the chipped and broken buttons that covered the box. He also noticed that the corners were neat and folded like how his Christmas presents was wrapped.

"Helen did a good job with what she had." the teacher said startling Patrick.

"Yes she did." Patrick replied. The words "what she had" echoed in his mind. "What she had." Until that moment he hadn't realized how blessed he was compared to the rest of the world. He decided he would try to brighten Helen's world somehow.

That night Patrick laid out the construction paper, crayons, glue and glitter. He found his favorite pair of scissors and sat down to make a card. Not any Valentine card, but one that Helen would remember her whole life. The next day was Valentines Day and he wanted to make it special for Helen. This year there would be no store bought card for Helen.

Time came for the Valentine's day party. Recess was over and the kids came back into the room to find cupcakes on their desks and balloons tied to their chairs. The home room mothers had transformed this classroom into a fantasy land during the short recess time. The kids all ran to their desks, except Helen, and she slowly walked to her back row corner desk. She liked the way her desk was decorated and that uplifted her mood. She slid into her chair and waited on permission to eat her cupcake. She decided that she'd take half of it home to her mother, as she rarely received any such treat.

"OK, class. It's time to enjoy your goodies. Go ahead and open your Valentine boxes and you can eat your cupcakes too." The noise level increased as the kids talked and laughed together. Patrick turned to see if Helen had read her card yet, but she just sat there slowly munching on the cupcake. He then noticed that she wrapped half of it in her napkin and put it in her lunch pail. He stood and walked back to her desk, "Helen, would you like to take my cupcake home. I'm not supposed to eat sweets much and I'd like you to have it."

Helen looked at him with disbelief. Someone was actually talking to her and not making fun of her. "I'd like that," she said.

"Good, here ya go. By the way, I made a card for you last night."

Helen about tore the box in half trying to get to his card. To her surprise her box was full of cards, all hand made. Some were well done, some were just thrown together, but they were all given to her. Her eyes filled with tears and as she looked up, the whole class was looking at her. Ronnie, the brat of the class, walked up to her, "Helen, I'm sorry that I've been such a jerk. You're pretty cool to have taken all the ribbing that I dished out." One by one the class passed by Helen and gave her a hug, or some kind of encouragement. She looked at her teacher, whom also had tears streaming down her face.

"Class, I'm so proud of you. That is what this holiday is all about, love. Patrick realized the hard time Helen was having and mentioned it to you. You didn't have to do anything, but you did. Now Helen knows that you like her and I can tell by the tears in her eyes that you have touched her heart. So class, Happy Valentines day, and thank you for teaching me the true meaning of loving one another."

Helen ran home after school and excitedly told her mother about what had happened. She showed her the cupcake and each card and repeated word for word what each one had said to her. Her mom smiled as her eyes teared up at the change she saw in her daughter. Helen spent the rest of the evening looking over her treasures. Her mother spent the rest of the evening thanking God for what had happened.

Helen and Patrick became close friends and grew up together, but that is another story for later.


Linda McMann said...

Very sweet and touching. I bet there's some history hiding in that story and that you will tell us more about it later.
Hope you had a great Easter.

Elizabeth (Beth) Westmark said...

Nice, Walk. Hope you've been successfully dodging tornadoes.

makenwords said... Paul Harvey would say, we need "the rest of the story" - you tease!!