Fiction Happy Romance

Shona looked in the full length mirror and heaved a sigh. No matter how she stood, those few extra pounds showed clearly on her thighs and stomach.

She knew she was supposed to embrace her natural beauty and accept herself for what she was. All the magazines said so.

What they seemed to overlook was that her current shape was making her miserable. She tried hard but the word 'fat' kept coming into her head.

She had been doing well with dieting and had lost a little of her excess weight but now the biggest hurdle of the year was coming up. Valentine's Day.

Jason loved her dearly and in most ways was the perfect husband and father. He helped out round the house and took turns with baby minding, not even baulking at nappy changing or two a.m. feeds. He took her out regularly and brought home little presents when she was feeling down.

He was a romantic and always remembered birthdays, Christmas and especially Valentine's Day.

Every year without fail he would arrive home with the biggest box of chocolates he could find. So sweet of him. Her friends were green with envy. Unfortunately Shona hated chocolates and practically gagged as she forced herself to swallow as many as possible so as not to hurt his feelings.

The first year she hadn't minded because she thought that he would soon tire of his romantic gestures. The second year she was pregnant and used morning sickness as an excuse to eat only a couple before running to the bathroom. By the third year of their marriage she realised that she was going to have to face the fact that something had to be done to change his habits.

That year she started a couple of weeks before V-day by commenting nonchalantly that she was running low on her favourite perfume. She drew his attention to a pretty necklace in the local jewellers. He brought her chocolates.

Over the next year she talked often about the importance of setting a good example for the children by replacing sweet treats with healthy fruit and vegetable snacks. She even talked about how her tastes had changed and how she no longer wanted sweets or desserts. Jason agreed. On Valentine's Day he bought her dark chocolates.

This year she felt she could stand it no longer. She could simply not face forcing down the disgusting sickly sweet offerings, at the same time knowing she would be setting her dieting attempts back by weeks. She adored Jason and would do anything to avoid hurting him but she had to find a way to redirect his efforts to please her.

Shona thought long and hard. Could she claim a sudden allergy? Jason would be worried and want her to have medical tests. Should she come straight out and tell him? He would be so hurt that she had not felt able to confide in him and confess her dislike of sweets from the start. Finally she devised a plan.

It was time to fight romance with romance.

First Shona scoured the local shops and bazaars. She bought an old-fashioned heart shaped tin that had probably been used to store treasured love letters. From the stationers shop she bought a few sheets of handmade note paper, a calligraphy pen and a bottle of violet ink.

At a market stall she bought a length of red ribbon. Finally she went to the bazaar and picked up a large packet of confetti.

The confetti brought back memories and she smiled as she recalled their honeymoon, camping in Wales. They had snuck away from the reception, checking the car and thinking they had escaped the worst of the traditional post-wedding pranks. No tin cans or boots were tied to the car and the only sign of interference was the "Just Married" sign taped to the boot and several helium balloons tied to the wing mirror. These were swiftly removed and they set off on the drive to the campsite which had been all they could afford. On arrival they pitched the tent then opened their suitcase only to be covered in a shower of confetti. For weeks afterwards it had turned up in clothes and round the house.

Satisfied with her purchases she went home and sat down at the computer. She started to write.

When she felt it was complete she took her finished work to a friend who excelled in calligraphy, along with the paper and ink. He copied her words in beautiful copper plate lettering. She dabbed a little of her perfume onto the paper, rolled it into a scroll and tied it with the red ribbon before laying it carefully into the tin.

The next morning at breakfast time she set the tin beside Jason's place. He looked curiously at her.

" It's not my birthday."

" No, but I wanted to give you a surprise. To show how much I love you."

Jason returned her kiss then looked at the tin.

" Can I open it now?"

She giggled.

" Of course you can open it."

Jason opened the tin and a cloud of multicolored confetti flew out, littering the table and showering him, the baby who was sitting in his high chair and little Maya, sat on his other side. Both children roared with laughter and began tossing the paper shapes around like snowflakes.

With the happy sounds of his family around him Jason picked up the scroll and looked at Shona.

" I wrote it for you" she whispered.

He fastened the ribbon and sniffed the paper before flattening it out and beginning to read:


If you love me, send me flowers

Roses if you are rich

Daisies if you are poor

Wild flowers if you are green

Orchids, if you can cultivate them.

Sunflowers, to shower love

Over all the planet.

Violets for the shy lover

Lilies for the extrovert.

Choose the blossoms for their scent,

For their colour

For their shared remembrances

Because you love flowers

And I love you

Send me flowers, please.

That Valentine's Day Jason came home carrying the biggest and most beautiful bouquet Shona had ever seen. Tucked inside it was a card.

" To the most wonderful woman in the world."

Shona looked into the full length mirror and saw a beautiful woman looking back at her. She still carried a few excess pounds but they were no longer of any importance. She had the most perfect husband in the world.

February 13, 2022 19:46

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RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

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