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Mount Creative Writers

Home is where the heart is

Alexandra Tyminski
MSM Class of 2015

(2/2013) The first drawing I ever gave to a girl was on Valentineís Day. I gave Lucy a heart with two skinny stick figures holding hands.

"Here Lucy," I said. My hands were shaking, and I looked down at my size six white Nike kidís shoes.

"Oh, um" Lucy said. Her bleach blonde hair was tied in two pigtails on the top of her head. The blue scrunchies tying her hair together matched her crystal blue eyes.

So, umm, was that it? I know we are only in the second grade, but I thought we had a connection. My mom was a friend of her mom. Her school cubby was next to mine, and she always placed her color paintings next to mine. Lucy turned around to play house with her friends. I tapped her on the shoulder.

"I made this for you." She didnít even bother to turn around.

"Itís a heartÖmy heart," I said.

"I donít think she wants your heart, Dane," her friend Maggie said.

I wasnít sure what to say to that. I left the heart in front of her lying on the brown desk in front of her perfectly tiny body.

I walked away, and when I looked back Lucy was looking at my card. I was hoping she would make me a picture back. Days went by, but she never returned the favor.

Ö

The middle school years were going to be my peak years. I finally made it to the "big kid" years, and I felt confident. I found myself feeling more comfortable with girls. Since I was at a new school, I thought it would be easier to become friends with them. No one knew me here, so I could leave my embarrassing moments behind and start over.

I remember the first day like it was yesterday. She sat right next to me and smelled just like fresh berries.

"Hi, Iím Madison," she said. Her long, curly brown hair was extremely distracting, and her purple brace infested smile was hard to miss, but she was so pretty. Her eyes were not blue like Lucyís, but they were a beautiful deep brown.

"Hi, Iím Dane."

I thought she was pretty confident too, considering most sixth grade girls are always in groups with their friends.

"Is this Mr. Fitzpatrickís homeroom?" she asked.

"Psh, yeah it is," I replied trying to sound like a cool eighth grader.

"Okay thanks," Madison said. But, that was it.

We didnít talk much throughout the year except when we had an occasional talk about how odd Mr. Fitzpatrick was or how bad the cafeteria food was that day. When the New Year hit, I resolved to speak up and talk to her more.

"Itís raining," I said to her one day.

"Yeah, it is," Madison smiled, and it gave me assurance to keep talking to her.

"So, what are your plans for this weekend?" she asked me on Friday, February 10th.

"Iím not sure yet. What about you?"

"Well, Bobby is having a bowling party tonight. His parents apparently rented out the place. You should come. It will be a lot of fun."

I took this as an open invitation for Madison and I to hang out at this sixth grade bowling party. After some compromising with my mom and talking with Bobby, I attended the bowling party with a few friends. It was, without a doubt, a lot of fun. Madison and I were able to talk a lot and hang out. I found out she really was as cool as I first thought she was.

The next week arrived, and I felt prepared to make the next big step. I bought her a box of chocolates and wrote a note with my number in it. On the back of the box, another sticky note was attached; it read "Happy Valentineís Day, Madison. I hope we can hang out again another time."

After school, I approached her and gave the box to her.

"Whatís this?"

"Itís a present, turn it over," I said.

I watched as she turned it over and read my Valentineís Day note. Her expression was extremely shocked. She glanced up at me.

"Oh, Dane. Iím sorry I just..." Madison stopped saying anything.

"Thanks," she said with a shriveled smile and shifty eyes. "Well, I will see you later," she said, quickly walking away toward her circle of friends.

I quickly learned that girls can definitely send some mixed signals. And we can never be too confident. But, at least she said thanks. That is more than Lucy ever said.

Ö

"So, are we still on for tonight?" Erica said to me.

"Yeah, Iíll pick you up at 8?"

"Thatís perfect! Iím so excited for our dinner date, Dane!"

"Me too, Iíll see you later," I said. Erica hopped out of my car and walked gracefully toward her bright red front door.

Erica and I have been dating for a year. Well, a year today. She is the best thing that has ever happened to me. We met in high school, but we didnít actually become friends until we met on the track team. I asked her to be my girlfriend on Valentineís Day last year. Not because it would be easy to remember our one-year anniversary, but because I have always admired the idea of Valentineís Day. I was excited to spend our night off from track together. I booked a reservation at Ericaís favorite Italian place that her family takes her on her birthday every year.

"Where are we going?" she asked eagerly. Her voice was always so high-pitched when she was extremely excited about something.

"Youíll see, youíll see," I assured her that we would get there eventually.

When we pulled up she released a loud shrill. She was a bit of a girly girl even though she was one of the top track athletes in the county.

"Eeeeeeeeeeekkk! You made reservations for Carloís Italian?!"

"I did, indeed," I smiled at her and asked her if she wanted her other surprise now or later.

"Wellllllll," she debated.

"How about now? Because then I wonít have to keep guessing what it is during dinner!"

"Okay, close your eyes and open your hands," I insisted. "Okay, now open your eyes!"

"Ahhh!" A big gasp came from her again, and I began to explain what it exactly was that I had placed in her flawless hands.

"Now, I know that we have been together for a year. It has been a pretty long time for high school relationships, and we have had some pretty fun memories. So I made you this. It is a scrapbook of all of the places we have ever been, with funny quotes, pictures of us, just a bunch of memories into one place," I said.

"I love, love, love, love, lovvvvvve it," she said, beaming with an even brighter glow than she already had.

"And, I love you," I said, staring at her.

She glanced up at me and didnít say anything. I could feel my face getting red, and my heart started to beat at an incredibly fast pace. She began to cry. "Can you take me home please?" she asked.

I didnít understand what was going on at all. I couldnít even ask her what was wrong because I couldnít fathom what had just happened. I felt like an idiot. We drove to her house, she got out of my car, grabbed her stuff and surprisingly the scrapbook I made for her. Later that night, I got a text from her that said, "I think we need to take a break." The first time I ever cried over a girl was on Valentineís Day.

Ö

I finished my first semester of college with a 3.8. I would say it was one of the times I felt most successful. I was ready to tackle the second semester just as well and become even more independent. After a few weeks, it was time to head back home again.

"Are you packing up, Dane?" Pat asked.

"Yeah, finally ready to go home, man. It has been a fun, but productive few weeks Iíd say."

"Agreed, but Iím ready for Spring break," Pat said.

After packing my things, I said goodbye to Pat and some other hall mates. I headed back home and when I pulled up to my driveway, I felt the way Pat did when we parted ways. It was good to be home. My younger twin brothers were in the front yard passing the football. The front door was wide open like always, and my mom was in the kitchen cooking dinner. My dad was teaching my two younger sisters how to play pool while another sister and brother were in the family room fighting over who gets the TV controller. My only older sibling, Jackie, came down the stairs in a towel yelling for my mom asking about where she put her laundry.

"Iím home everyone!" I yelled. Everyone greeted me as I walked through the door. It felt weird coming home in February since it didnít yet feel like spring.

"We are so glad you made it safely," my mom said. She walked over and gave me a kiss on my forehead, and my little sister instantly launched into the project she did at school.

"I love that you are finally home, Dane. The twins were wondering when you were coming home. They want you to teach them some football skills," Jackie said walking into the kitchen. Jackie was only two years older than me, so we were pretty close.

"Iím happy to be home, I love being with you all again," I said.

"I have a surprise for my little Dane," my mom said. She walked to the fridge and pulled out her homemade (and my favorite) chocolate cake.

"Because I love you, I made your favorite dessert. Happy Valentineís Day, kid," my mom said smiling.

That is more than Lucy, Madison, or Erica ever did for me.

"Thanks a lot ma, you are the best!" I could not express how good it was to be home.

My mom didnít need to return any favors like Lucy; she just did something nice for me on her own. I didnít have to hope that she would hang out with me; she just did it because she loved me. I didnít have to make my mom anything for her to tell me she loves me; she just says it because she cares for me as her son.

Dane finally recognized that for him, Valentineís Day was about his love for his two parents and seven siblings. But it doesnít have to be Valentineís Day for someone important in your life to tell you they love you; thatís just a bonus. You admire the idea of Valentineís Day even more when you realize it is not just about a significant other or a crush, but also about those who have helped carry you through life.

Read other articles by Alexandra Tyminski