A Winter Promise
As thoughts of summer faded, and autumn waned, I began to dread the onset of winter. The only things we could count on in the winter months were snow, and lots of days with sub-zero temperatures. Snow and cold. The first snow had come in on the Saturday following Thanksgiving day, and the total snowfall for that day was 6 inches. I was forced to shovel that blasted stuff. And just as I finished the sidewalk, the snow plow went through. Why, oh why, could that not have happened earlier? I was forced to do it a second time.
December was a month I loved and yet hated. I loved Christmas, but hated the snow, the cold, the expenses of December. My English class had been assigned reading for the vacation period. Of course, since I loved to read, I had already finished the book. I had actually finished the book more than 2 years ago. I just scanned the book to refresh my memory on the main points.
I had not talked to Diane or Karl since that last day in August. I had my address book and had to use it when I couldn’t remember their number. After I looked it up, I decided I would call right after Christmas. I had finished my shopping, but I wondered: Should I get something for Karl and something for Diane? I had some ideas what to get for Karl, if I went that route. But for Diane? I had absolutely no idea. And with only 3 days until Christmas I made a decision that I would send a card, instead. It was just to let them know I hadn’t forgotten them. I had never developed a friendship so quickly as I had with Karl. And I had never developed a crush on anyone--until Diane.
My thoughts turned to the new year. Diane’s birthday was still months away, Karl’s birthday was only a little closer. I thought about getting back to the lake again, the new summer. Oh, how I longed for an end to winter, even though it had just begun.
Oh, goodness. I realized I had a chance to get something for Diane for Valentine’s day, which was getting closer by the day. She was still very young as compared to me, the “old man.” What to get her, what to get her? Candy? I didn’t know what she would like. Flowers? A necklace, or a promise ring? Oh, give me a break, Mike, I thought. You still don’t really know this girl, and you want to give her flowers, candy, or jewelry? Are you nuts?
Finally, on December 30th, I called Karl. We chatted for nearly a half hour, just about school and the football game that was my team’s homecoming game. Karl and I discussed the new year, and the fact that he had recently had an appendectomy came out. It seems that he had his appendix burst while in school, and he was taken to the hospital. And it was on the day that the game was. What bad luck.
I asked Karl some questions about Diane. What was her favorite food, her favorite flower, her favorite candy? The confusion in his voice was obvious as he answered the questions. Diane had two flowers that were her favorites: Daisies were second only to the rose. And she loved Red roses. I made a mental note of that. Candy was a bit general: Chocolate. Well, who doesn’t like chocolate? As for her favorite food, well, she didn’t have one, but she was partial to seafood, especially shrimp.
That was lovely. Shrimp was one of my favorites. Karl volunteered her favorite song, an Elvis tune called “Love me Tender.” I wasn’t an Elvis fan, but what difference did that make?
Finally, I asked to have Diane come to the phone. Nuts, she wasn’t at home. I told Karl to tell her that I asked about her. Just so she would know I was thinking about her, of course. And I suggested that if she had the time, she should give me a call.
So, as the call ended, I took out my guitar and sat playing some of my tunes. It was this night that I wrote a song called “Don’t go overboard”, based on some advice that Wayne had given me months ago. But I didn’t apply it to me, I applied it to him as I wrote. And while his statement “Sooner or later, she will crush you” came back to me, I laughed at how wrong he seemed to be.
And I made a promise to myself. I would get Diane something for Valentine’s day. I would give her a little gift, a card, and ask her to be my valentine for a year. This was my winter promise, and I knew it was something I would carry through.
On December 31st, I received a call from Diane. It was shortly before midnight, but she was up like most people I knew would be. We talked into the New Year, and I loved every minute of it. I asked her why she didn’t tell me she was going to be at the game as a Cheerleader.
“I was a reserve. I didn’t know, but one of our girls got injured. I needed to remain open that night,” she said. It seemed logical to me, since my school did the same. She told me that this was her first year on the squad, and she planned to be on the squad for as long as they would have her. I wished her good luck for that.
As we approached Valentine’s day, I began to search for something special for Diane. I really had no idea what it could be, but I would look and if I saw it, I would know it! That was the way I shopped. I picked out a card. I looked for 45 minutes for the right one. I didn’t want one that was too mushy, too funny, or suggestive. I wanted one that stated how I felt, without being ridiculous. I was about to give up when the one I wanted finally came into my sights. What a relief.
The present was harder. The obvious box of chocolates came to mind first. Then, I thought that maybe a cassette of some of her favorite music would be more appropriate. I started looking at jewelry, but I couldn’t explain to the girl behind the counter what I sought. I looked young, and there was no way possible I could explain that I sought something for a girl who was younger than I!
Finally, I had an idea. I purchased a small box of chocolates, and a bracelet. While neither item was really expensive, it ate away at my funds. When I got home, I carefully opened the box, and removed just one piece of candy. In that spot, I placed the bracelet.
I had recently earned my driver’s license. I called Diane on the 12th, and asked if she’d be around on the 14th. I purposely “forgot” to tell her it was Valentine’s day. She said she’d be home that evening.
I drove over to her house on the 14th. I was disappointed to find that nobody was home. I left the card, a note, and the box inside the door, and left for home.
My note read, simply: “Diane, will you be my Valentine?”
I didn’t sign the card, or the note. It turned out to be a error on my part. While I learned she got the items, she never realized who sent them. So much for my promise… but I would ask her during the next time I saw her, whenever that might be. I pledged to myself that I would not let her slip away. And I began to realize that this crush that Wayne said I had developed had become more serious to me than I could have ever realized. And once again, his words echoed in my mind. “Sooner or later, she will crush you.” Seven months had passed. There was no sign of that occurring, or that it would ever occur.
In the summer months, when I saw she was wearing the bracelet, I asked her where she got it.
“It was delivered anonymously, back in February. I still don’t know who sent it.”
I said, “Let me guess. It came with a Valentine’s card, a note, and you found it in a box of candy.”
“Exactly,” she said. Then the truth of it hit her. “Mikey! You were the one who sent it?” I nodded. We would spend the rest of that summer together in a very close friendship. No romance. Just a close friendship.