42 comments

Speculative

You know when you can no longer fit your clothes - as opposed to when your clothes no longer fit you, but that is a different story for a different day - but when your clothes no longer fit into your bottom left hand dresser drawer, you know that there is a problem. What in the devil is in that drawer anyway? It’s your dresser. You’ve owned this dresser for the last, do we want to think about age here? Okay, upper level math skills being tasked here - years married, plus the apartment, minus the year in storage during the teeny tiny apartment year or does that count since the drawer was probably technically used then also? Well, let’s just say that the drawer most likely has been in use, in some capacity for about thirty years now, without revealing the narrator’s age. 


There are scratches on the pale red pine surface that the dust conveniently hides. The dings on the corners are reminders of the few moves it has made until it landed in its special spot for most of its lifetime. The round knobs on the drawers turn and fall off sometimes if you pull too hard; reminiscent of when the children were young and used to play twisting games with them. The drawers all lay crooked in their nooks as if they have given up trying to look straight and they no longer properly close. But that bottom left hand drawer is the one in particular looking quite ajar.


It’s a Saturday morning. In February. In Central New York. And it is 2 degrees outside. Yes, you read that right. Two. Degrees. But don’t worry, with the windchill, it feels like -22. There is a high pitched hum and then the furnace clicks on blowing warm air throughout the house. The furnace, it seems, has been running non-stop all night. It’s time to make sure the humidifier is running or you’ll all dry up like raisinettes. And, change the filter on the furnace. It seems one task always leads to another. With a sigh it is time to face that bottom left hand drawer. Why isn’t it cooperating any longer?


It takes more than just a gentle tug on the round knobs to pull the drawer open. The top layer is exactly what you expect: tee shirts. This is where the tee shirts go. You know those not worn very often tee shirts? Come on, admit it, you all have these shirts. Kiss Me I’m Irish, Wine is My Valentine, and most recently 2-22-22. And the shirts that you can only wear on the weekends, I’m Grumpy: Deal with it, I’m sorry Did I Roll My Eyes Out Loud? and concert tee shirts from bands that you saw in high school and you really should just toss, but you can’t bring yourself to get rid of them because they conjure up happy memories. Does anyone remember Huey Lewis and the News? 


Just how deep is this drawer? So once all the tee shirts come out, even the ones hiding in the back and the ones hiding behind the drawer - no wonder the drawer won't close properly! There are more memories.


Cards. Hand-made cards. Dozens of cards. They are all wrapped up in pink paper and tied up in a pink bow. Oh. Your stomach drops. Why were these even saved. Were they important at the time? Yes, it is important to remember that people cared and that people do care. And, that you are important. You matter. It is a tangible reminder. And these cards were stored away in a drawer to be forgotten. You were not forgotten. And, people still remember. 


People still ask you even today, six years later, about your cancer. Your daughters talk about your breast cancer all the time. You know it weighs on their minds every day when they put their bras on and take them off again. Every day, twice a day. They know that theirs could turn enemy too and be sliced off at any time. That’s six breasts that you worry about and pray stay healthy since you first heard those words six years ago, “You have cancer.” 


Has the cancer been passed on to them? With a gasp you realize you haven’t taken a breath in several minutes and set the cards on the floor beside you. It’s okay. Breathe. The BRCA test showed that you didn’t carry the gene. The girls should be okay. You send another prayer up that this holds true.


Your mother didn’t have the gene either. 


With a sigh your eyes turn back to the drawer to find drawings from your daughters. I love you mommy written in sprawling handwriting on the drawings. Their names written on each, some you wrote the dates on to match up the ages. Good thinking, you silently clap yourself on the back.


There are some hand made Mother’s Day cards, first teeth, last teeth, and even a swatch from a first hair cut from one of your daughters but it isn’t labeled. So much for the clap on the back. Early celebration you think, with a smile.


Even still, all of the treasures sitting here now in your lap make you yearn for their little voices and little bodies to come sit in your lap to play, listen to a story, and sing songs together just one more time. They all grew up so quickly. 


Your eyes move back to the drawer again. What is that in the back? It can’t be, but it is. Every year when you were little your father did something special for you. How is it that you were just a small child yesterday? When did you get to be old? When did your parents get to be grandparents? How did this happen? 


You reach into the drawer. Your fingers touch the velvet surface. You pick up the cardboard box. It is in the shape of a heart. You stare at the red box. The heart is about the size of your hand, but seemed so much larger when you were small. It smells like hugs and laughter, and dad’s smile and home. You open it up to find white walls with chocolate stains of yesterday’s sweetness left behind. 


Every year, without fail, your dad was your Valentine. He was your first Valentine. He loved you first. He loves you the most. He loves you unconditionally and without fail or judgment. He was, is, and always will be your Valentine.


He has always been there for you. He has picked you up many times over the course of your lifetime. You could fall to pieces because you just crashed your grandmother's car or you just crashed your tricycle. Either way, he has been there for you. When you failed out of college, he was there for you. When you needed relationship advice, he was there for you. When you had a financial question, he was there for you. When you bought your first house, he was there for you. When you chose your college, he was there for you. When you walked down the aisle, he was there to hold your arm and ask you if you really wanted to do this. He has always been there. He is the best, truest, and most perfect Valentine. 


When was the last time you called your dad? This drawer hasn’t closed properly in years. It can wait. 


It’s time to go call dad.






February 13, 2022 14:59

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42 comments

Marie Richmond
21:43 Feb 28, 2022

Thanks for sharing this Valentine's story. I wondered what to do with this prompt and you nailed it! What a beautiful story of family the good and the not so great, all discovered in a drawer, the Mother's Day cards, the breast cancer and the first teeth. Life does indeed pass too quickly.

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Francis Daisy
00:49 Mar 01, 2022

It's amazing how many treasures one can find stowed away in one dresser drawer on a snowy afternoon...glad you liked my story. Thank you for stopping by to read!

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Daniel R. Hayes
06:51 Feb 28, 2022

This was a really sweet story, Francis. I loved the prompt you chose and thought you nailed it. It reminded me of how fast my little girl is growing up. Where does the time go? Great job as always, and sorry I'm a little late to this one :)

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Francis Daisy
01:19 Mar 02, 2022

Never too late to buy your little one a Valentine! Take her out to a dinner and buy her a flower. Then again, my daughters prefer chocolate these days...are flowers a thing of the past?

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Daniel R. Hayes
17:10 Mar 02, 2022

I don't think flowers are a thing of the past, but in this digital world we live in, I have to wonder... lol ;)

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Francis Daisy
01:46 Mar 03, 2022

Yeah, sometimes it's all about that little yellow dot for me! :)

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Sharon Hancock
02:32 Feb 22, 2022

“They all grew up so quickly” (yep! I relate) Also reminds me of my sweet dad. Thanks for writing this! Sweet story

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Francis Daisy
15:04 Feb 23, 2022

Absolutely. When I wrote that line, I was thinking that my children grew up quickly, as did my parents. How does this happen when I don't get any older, ever? Tee hee!

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Sharon Hancock
02:24 Feb 24, 2022

Exactly how I feel😂

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Francis Daisy
02:30 Feb 24, 2022

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Liz Mooney
22:40 Feb 20, 2022

Aww. Love this.

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Francis Daisy
13:37 Feb 21, 2022

Thanks! 🤗

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Taj Isly
12:01 Feb 20, 2022

Oh man, those moments when you find an object buried in a drawer and spend an entire afternoon meditating on your life:) I really appreciate the narrative. Despite the fact that I was a little lost at one point in the story, whether it was the main character or someone else speaking, I enjoyed the story and the internal dialogue.

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Francis Daisy
13:37 Feb 21, 2022

Sorry I lost you there for a bit…I may have lost myself as I was trying to stick with the second person. Sorry! There are drawers in my dining room hutch that need to be opened. They haven’t been touched in years. Dare I say, maybe ten or more? I wonder what lurks inside? Maybe this is where all of our spoons have disappeared to… Thanks for taking the time to read and to comment!

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Taj Isly
14:14 Feb 21, 2022

My pleasure:)

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04:02 Feb 20, 2022

I really liked this story. I can relate to it. I love going through old dresser drawers and wondering what treasures i can find. Each piece brings an emotion from the past. My Dad, Mom, brothers and sisters. Your story stuck a chord with me and its very well written. Thanks for sharing your story!

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Francis Daisy
13:33 Feb 21, 2022

It’s so lovely to hear that you had an emotional reaction to something I wrote. It’s very humbling and completely complimentary! Thank you! My feet won’t touch the ground all day! Thank you for reading and for commenting.

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14:55 Feb 21, 2022

I am glad I made your smile today :)

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Sue Hunter
17:08 Feb 19, 2022

The story of the valentine being from the narrator's father was very sweet. It reminded me that I should go thank my own father for all those cards and chocolates. Amazing story, thanks so much for sharing it!

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Francis Daisy
13:26 Feb 21, 2022

❤️Your dad sounds like a very sweet and kind man also. Those were the best Valentine’s…

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Thom Brodkin
14:14 Feb 19, 2022

This story feels so real. I am not a technical writer and definitely not a technical reader but I just know when a story is right and this one is right. The emotions are real both the ones in the story and the ones felt by the reader. Really great job. Top shelf work.

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Francis Daisy
13:20 Feb 21, 2022

Thank you! It was a heart felt story for sure. It had me in tears at the end as I was writing it. Parts were based on reality for sure, that’s probably why/how it sounded credible. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment!

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Maggie Gibbs
12:46 Feb 19, 2022

Oh I can so relate to much of this story! From the old dresser (mine is still the dresser I had when I was a kid)… I’m almost 40 now lol - to the piles of cards and keepsakes. Even the drawers that won’t close all the way because things fell behind them. I liked this story. Thank you for sharing!

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Francis Daisy
13:02 Feb 19, 2022

Thanks for taking the time to read! I’m glad you could relate to so many parts of the story…and that I’m not alone in my saggy drawers! LOL!

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Maggie Gibbs
13:12 Feb 19, 2022

Haha! Saggy drawers. I like that! Nope - I’ve got saggy drawers too! LOL!

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Francis Daisy
13:16 Feb 21, 2022

Thanks for appreciating my sense of humor! 😜

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Riel Rosehill
10:40 Feb 19, 2022

This was an enjoyable one with an emotional end to it. I was trying not to tear up on the train. The second person POV is very unusual yet it didn't bother me and somehow you made it work - well done!

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Francis Daisy
11:58 Feb 19, 2022

It was odd for me to start with the second person POV and then it was difficult for me to stick with it. I don’t usually write in second person. I kept trying to slip into first person. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment!

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Serena Johnston
03:40 Feb 20, 2022

Yeah, you don't really see the second person POV much, but I really enjoy the change once in a while. Today was that rare once in a while. Great job Francis!

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Francis Daisy
13:31 Feb 21, 2022

Thank you!

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Palak Shah
10:49 Feb 18, 2022

The story is amazing and I had fun reading it as it was wonderfully crafted and your ideas are on point. Thanks for this recommendation and I would love to read more of your stories :))

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Francis Daisy
19:50 Feb 18, 2022

Thank you so much! Every year on Valentines day I miss my dad so much. I don't get any Valentines anymore, and I know it is just a silly made up holiday, but some how, sometimes, it is nice to be reminded that you are loved.

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Palak Shah
18:29 Feb 19, 2022

Yes, I agree that everyone wants to feel that way and everyone wants to be loved and especially on Valentine's day I always celebrate Valentine's day with my father so I definitely know how you feel.

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Francis Daisy
13:28 Feb 21, 2022

So happy that you have your dad to celebrate with the day with! Take lots of pictures and hold tight to these memories!

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Palak Shah
17:03 Feb 23, 2022

Yes I will cherish these memories!

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John Del Rio
20:53 Feb 16, 2022

So good. I'm secure enough to admit that my eyes teared up as I read your wonderful story. It was too good to look for anything mechanically wrong. If there was anything off about the way you wrote it: I don't even want to try to find it. I just enjoyed it too much. I will read more of your stories: and I will go call my Dad.

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John Del Rio
20:55 Feb 16, 2022

You liked my story "Visit". Thanks for reading my work. That is actually part of a set of stories on Reedsy. Check out "Special Ingredient "

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Francis Daisy
01:34 Feb 17, 2022

Oooo, okay! I will go check out your story right now! Thanks for the heads up! I've never tried sequels or story sets before. I'm wondering if that should be something I could try next...

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John Del Rio
23:28 Feb 17, 2022

I was reading more of your great stories. I want to know what happens with Nat and Naomi. That could be a good set/series of stories...

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Francis Daisy
02:01 Feb 18, 2022

Nat and Naomi really captured your heart, eh? I'll have to let that idea simmer for a bit. Again, romance is really not my forte. Even typing this makes my face squish up like I just ate a sourpatch kid. Once my shoulders drop back down from my ears and I unclench my jaw, I may take a gander at Nat and Naomi and think about where they go next. :)

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Francis Daisy
01:32 Feb 17, 2022

You are so sweet to comment. Thank you? Is it okay to say thanks, I made you cry? If it makes you feel any better, there were tears streaming down my cheeks as I completed it. (and not in frustration, for once!) Thank you for taking the time to read and to comment! Say hello to your dad for me!

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Francis Daisy
20:06 Feb 18, 2022

Did anyone see on Instagram the girl who gets a Valentine from her grandfather every year? Who else cried?❤

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