Betty got a Valentine’s card in the mail. It was the sweetest card. It read “Will you be my Valentine?” Betty had never received a Valentine’s card before.
Betty was forty-six years old. She had always regarded herself as a bit of wallflower. Spinsterhood, she had determined, was going to be her lot in life. And now this…
She sat in her corner armchair (next to the canary cage) and glowed as she read, and re-read, the card. Who was it from? The canary sang its heart out. There was a knock on the door.
There at the door were twelve red roses. There was no delivery person. Clearly the anonymous admirer had left the roses there himself. How wonderful is that? He must live nearby if he is able to deliver and disappear. But who was it?
There were only two “eligible” bachelors she knew of who lived nearby. There was Hermon Vociferich and Julian McDougall. Both rather handsome. Both rather rich. They lived together. She had always thought they were gay, but she had no reason to think that really. And now, clearly, one of them thought she was worth looking at twice.
Valentine’s Day passed. The next day came and went, and the next day, and the next. Nothing happened. Betty felt sad. The years passed. Betty’s canary was long dead.
Tomorrow the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is springing a surprise afternoon tea for Betty’s sixtieth birthday. It’s a charity she has volunteered a lot for over the years. Betty has always been wonderful! No one knows that she volunteers to help fill a big gap in her heart.
Natalie had a precious procession. She kept it in a cupboard and rarely looked at it. In fact she saw it only when she went to that cupboard to get her silver teapot if a special visitor called for a cup of tea.
Her precious thing was a little exercise wheel for a pet mouse. The mouse had long gone, but she kept the wheel. It was plastic, and green. She’d had it since she was a little girl, when her pet mouse, Frederick, used to run around and around the wheel. He loved it!
And then a real live wild mouse came into the pantry and Frederick escape and got caught in the mouse trap Natalie’s father had set.
WHOOMPH! Natalie could still hear the sound. WHOOMPH! She knew the trap was there, but she didn’t know that Frederick had escaped his cage. Nothing would replace Frederick. The WHOOMPH! in her head stopped her from ever getting another pet.
Natalie was now ninety-four. She took out the little exercise wheel and looked at it. How different things might have been if there had been no WHOOMPH! She had never married. She had never done much with her life. The silver teapot in the cupboard hadn’t been used for years. In fact, she had become the little mouse running in circles of shyness.