Young Love, on Valentine’s Day.
Charlie came over on Valentine's day with a handful of candy hearts with loving sentiments printed on them. The kind that tastes like sweetened chalk.
Charlie explained that he was in love with my neighbor, Octavia Wilson.
His plan was to present Octavia with the candy and tell her what was in his heart. I wished him well and told him I was not interested in girls.
We were ten years old.
We sat on my front porch swing and rocked slowly, waiting for Octavia to appear. I said, “Show me your bounty, Charlie”. He opened up his hand and there was a nice pile of candy hearts. “That must have cost you a lot”. Charlie smiled, “All I had”.
Charlie picked through his load of candy hearts and analyzed the sentiments. “Humm, this one is not too sentimental, it just said ‘ I like you’. I more than like Octavia. I don't think I will give her that one” he said popping it into his mouth.
Charlie went back to fingering his candy, looking for more incorrect sentiments.
Time went on and we waited on this sunny day. I said, “This is Thursday, I think Octavia has her music lesson on Thursday”. Charlie said, “That's okay. This is important. Here is another one that just says ‘My Friend’- She is more than that”. The mouth opens, another heart enters.
I grew weary waiting on the porch swing. “How are you doing with your inventory, Charles?” He opened his hand. The large pile had shrunk to a few sweaty hearts whose color had run.
“Charlie, I don't think Octavia or any other girl would want that sweaty pile of candy hearts. I think you should give up on it”.
Charlie looked remorsefully at his palm with the small, wet lump of candy for a moment. Then rose from the swing, walked down the street tossing the remains of his bounty, one at a time, into his mouth.
Charlie’s parting words were “Maybe next year”.