Valentine's Day

It was Valentine’s day, 2008. Another warm summer morning where I sat in Delilah’s drinking my cappuccino, waiting for the 8am bus to Circular Quay. I had not much else to do but sit there, watching the luminous sparkle of the sun’s rays rising and poking through the trees, creating a little glimmer that flickered in my eyes making me squint.
I met her at Delilah’s. We were the only two there besides the owner, Maria. Maria lost her husband years ago yet still had enough liveliness in her to decorate her store with little pink hearts and roses as table centrepieces. It made her world that little bit less lonely, she was always smiling.
As the woman received her coffee, she walked over to the wall behind me and dropped her bag beside my table. I had turned my chair outward to look out the window and had to awkwardly readjust myself. She sat opposite me and smiled. I wasn't sure what to say to her but before I could even think of something witty to say, she took a sip of her latte, flicked her glossy black fringe from her face and spoke.
“Where’s ya woman?” she smirked. I was entranced by her stare and felt trapped in the void of her large brown eyes. She was absolutely beautiful, so delicate and petite yet the way she spoke somehow contradicted her appearance. Her voice snapped me out of my day dream and I stumbled for words to respond.
“I've got my mum at home if that’s what you mean,” I looked away, nervous for a reaction. She laughed and took another sip. It was quiet for a moment before it got awkward.
“Happy Valentine’s Day,” I said, hoping to explore her personal side.
“Yeah, happy,” she retorted. “Better now that I've got your company. Beats being alone,” she smiled, in a non-suggestive way; it was just a casual smile.
After I finished my coffee I looked at my watch to realise I had missed my bus by ten minutes. I was so engaged by her that I was blissfully unaware of the reality I had to face. We left the café and walked together past the florist. I told her to wait outside as I ducked in and bought a single rose. I tucked it into the breast pocket of my jacket returned outside. I could see her smiling, waiting for me.
“Where’s ya man?” I bowed slightly, putting the rose in reach, making her grab it. She took it from my jacket and playfully pushed me backwards. We walked for hours, unaware of our whereabouts, just walking, talking. I proposed a year later.
Today is February 14th, 2014
I walked into the florist, bought a single rose, and tucked it in my pocket. I knelt down in the open expanse of grass and beautifully kept stones and placed the rose on her grave. “Happy Valentine’s Day,” I whispered. I swear I heard her voice say, 'Yeah, happy'.

FOLLOW US was established in 1997, and since then we have successfully completed numerous short story and poetry competitions and publications.
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