Would it happen again this year as it did the previous one? Next day would be Valentine’s Day and Adele was feeling nervous and worried at the same time. She had always felt annoyed by that day and all the stuff around it. For her it was not a celebration of love but a reminder of her loneliness. She felt embarrassed and sad and guilty at the same time when she had to admit in front of others that she had no plans or dates for the 14th of February. And she felt angry as well when people tried to patronise her with things like “oh, well, you’re still young” or “it’s just an invention to make you spend money”… She usually smiled and bowed trying to make them change the subject when what she really wanted to say was “go to hell and, please, don’t come back”. But she knew what they thought “a woman in her thirties and no boyfriend or partner or special friend? She must have some fault… probably a serious one”. Why? Why was it so strange to be alone? Why people saw it as a failure? And what is more, why did she ended up feeling as she was a failure for being alone on Valentines’s Day?
But last year was different. It had been a week day, as any other for Adele. Well, as any other but for the everything-red heart-shaped around her: shops, restaurants, markets, the underground?!?! All the morning at work had been a nightmare, listening to plans and presents and love messages, and she was getting grumpier and grumpier. So she thought she needed a reward for all that “suffering” and after work, she went to her local cafe, a very small one, quiet, kind of a vintage, with nice coffee and lovely cakes. She was a regular customer for she used to go there at least two or three days a week. However, she was not one of those well-known customers due to her shyness. So she went there, smiled at the girl serving and asked for a cappuccino.
– Would you like to try our Valentine’s special cappuccino with cream and cherry topping and chocolate bits? It’s double size to share, as well, for the same price.
– No, thank you, just a regular cappuccino – she said calmly despite in her mind she replied ‘thank you very much but my invisible partner is allergic to cherries, chocolate, coffee and, actually, allergic to life as well’.
– Would you like some chocolate on top?
– Yes, please. Thank you very much – she said while she changed her mind to leave any tip as the girl sprinkled the chocolate in a perfect heart on the top of the foam.
She slowly walked through the cafe to her favourite table, in a corner next to the window and she sat down there ready to enjoy her coffee after taking wickedly half heart with the teaspoon.
She had been hardly 10 minutes there when the bartender came to her and asked her:
– Sorry for bothering but are you Adele?
– Yes, I am.
– Then, this is for you, I think – she said as she offered Adele a bunch of white marguerites.
– It must be a mistake, this must be for another girl.
– The instructions were to give them to the brunette girl called Adele with a cappuccino, seated at the corner table looking thought the window while biting her lower lip. It’s quite a precise description, I think.
– But… How? Who?
– My colleague, who was the one who was here when this arrived, just told me what to do with it, he didn’t tell me anything else, sorry. I have to go back to work.
She smiled at Adele and went back to work while Adele looked stunningly at the flowers. There was a small card, with a very simple message: Happy Valentine’s Day; but no clue of who was the responsible of that present. She looked around thinking that maybe that person was still there, watching, but there were only a few customers, all in groups and none of them seemed to be paying any attention to her. She waited there, for a hour, but nothing happened, nobody spoke to her or show any interest in her.
So after nearly two hours, she decided to leave. She took all her belongings and the bunch of flowers and went back home with just a single thought on her mind: who?
The first thing she did when se arrived home was to put the marguerites into water. Then she checked her mails – no personal letters, her e-mail – nothing special, and had a look at her profiles on social networks – nothing. She still had no idea about the person who bought the flowers for her. And how was she supposed to figure it out? There was no way to get any clue! Maybe going back to the cafe to speak to the guy who received the bunch? Wasn’t it a bit weird? She was so confused… But she had to focus for the next day she had a very important meeting at work and she needed to read and write several notes for it. And that’s what she did until late in the evening when she went straight to bed in order to get some rest despite the quiet voice inside her head still talking about what had happened in the cafe.
The next morning, when she got up and saw the flowers in the living room, she remembered the previous afternoon but tried to get rid of that thought and went to work. It was such a busy day that she had not time to think about the incident and only on her way back to home the idea of going to the cafe passed her mind, but it was late and she was tired ‘maybe tomorrow’ she thought.
But tomorrow never came and sometimes because it was late, or she was tired, or just because she felt more and more difficult to ask the guy about it as the time passed, she just let it go and try to forget it, and only when she saw again a marguerite, all those feelings came back to her.
And now, 364 days later she still had no idea about who wished her a Happy Valentine’s day.and what’s more, she had no idea about to do. Should she go to the cafe next day? Did she really wanted to go? And what would she do if she was given another present? Or what would she do if not?
Five o’clock. She has just been in the cafe for 5 minutes, as usual, cappuccino, corner table looking through the window… when the boy who had made her the coffee approached her. And her heart started to beat faster and faster. And a storm of feelings hit her, and she started thinking that maybe it was not such and awful day…
– Excuse me, are you Adele? – she nodded.- Then this debit card is yours, I think. You dropped it when you payed your coffee.
– Oh, – she said trying not to sound disappointed- thank you very much.
– You’re welcome.
She waited until 6:30 and then she left. Nothing happened. Well, actually, something happened. A car passed her by while she was walking home and for it had been raining the last 48 hours, it just splashed all the water accumulated on the road and left her wet and full of mud. So that was what she needed to confirm what she already knew, she thought as she get into bed: Valentine’s Day sucks.
Note: this story has been written as response Daily Post Weekly Writing Challenge