Sorting through a box in the garage, I find pictures from long ago: me as a baby, in elementary school, high school, college, first year of teaching, me as a young mom, my 7 year old as a baby, me pregnant with my second.
So many memories in one place.
And then I see it.
I knew I still had it.
A small envelope, wrinkled and torn, showing signs of age.
Ten years ago, that small envelope accompanied a dozen roses on Valentine’s Day.
They were waiting for me in the school office when I went up to check my mailbox during my break.
I eyed them a bit wearily.
Who were they from?
My mom, maybe. She was convinced I’d die alone, ever since I walked away from my last relationship. Yes, even at only 24, that was Old Maid territory for her and the pity I heard in her voice whenever I would talk to her on the phone could easily translate into pity roses.
My best friend. We’d had a fight the day before. Because he said something incredibly stupid about who I was choosing to date these days. I slammed the phone down on him. And refused to pick up when he called back.
My ex. A cryptic email from my ex’s best friend’s wife about if I had heard from him lately had me wondering what was going on.
Some random guy. A possibility in those days, when my recent New Year’s resolution to not automatically say no had me going on a lot of dates.
The teacher down the hall. Who was becoming a really good friend… and lately, something more.
I walked out of the office and down the hall to my empty classroom, where I set the flowers down on my desk before I opened the card. Away from the nosy office staff and anyone else who would wonder who they were from.
I opened the note and smiled. Just one word was written on the card, but it was enough for me to know exactly who they were from.
“You know that saying, cute as a button?” he had asked me, months before.
After that, “Button” became his nickname for me.
The teacher down the hall.
Who would know that one word would be enough for me to know the roses were from him.
The one who just recently shook his head at me and claimed I couldn’t possibly still have this card.
Not from 10 years ago, on our very first Valentine’s Day together. No way did I still have it.
10 years have passed. We were married about a year after that first Valentine’s Day. Moved more times that we care to count, had three kids, and gone through ups and downs.
But, I still have it. And it still makes me smile.
He still makes me smile.
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