Thursday, February 13, 2014

Valentine's Day 2013 (Fiction)

Jessie had a shallow sleep. This is going to be a long and dreadful day. Thursday is like a Monday to her. She doesn’t get off work until 8pm when it’s dark and cold outside. Today in particular, is more like Friday the 13th

While drinking her morning smoothie, Jessie’s mom nudged her with sensitivity. Today is the only legitimate day of the year her parents are allowed to release their curiosity. . . and concern. The fact is, she has not been updating them on anything juicy for a long while. 
Jessie snapped:”don’t ask. Cousin Adam is 30 years old. He is still single.”
“And you wonder why he is the only one who still writes to you regularly.” That’s right, Adam is all nuts about recycling and protecting the environment. What is my excuse?
“Besides, you are almost 30, too.”
“What?! I am turning 28 this year.” Jessie almost choked on a chunk of banana that escaped between those killer blades.  
“Life began at conception.” 
“That’s madness. You are never that serious about Christianity!”
“Look mom. It’s not that I don’t want to. That’s all I can tell you at this point.” Jessie quickly stood up from the table and almost collided with her dad’s overly-stretched ear.
“Okay, I will start paying rent if I am still living with you guys when I turn 30.”

Jessie works at a local hospital as a librarian. As she walked into the hospital, she realized that a lot of her colleagues were wearing either pink or red, the same flock of people who dress up on Halloween.  Then, she was shocked to discover that she was wearing purple today! She couldn’t remember if this was a conscious choice. Jessie did a habitual motion to push her glasses upward. She suddenly realized she was wearing contacts today! What happened this morning was a blur after her mother’s interrogation at the breakfast table. There is only one person in this world that can make me willfully stick my finger into my eyeballs. Could this be a sign? 

Jessie frantically checked on her phone for any missed calls or unread messages. There was none, she already knew it. She went to Inbox, Junk, Spam and Trash for new emails. There was none. Suddenly, there was a surge of fear. Did she miss any mails sent to her address? Over the years, the only communication she received was a card. A card that says:” Jessie, keep you in prayer!” It was sent by a stranger who knows Jessie for reasons logic could not explain. It was the only solid proof that she is not living in a delusion. Jessie tucked that card in between the pages of a palm-size bible. She never read her scriptures from that bible; she only uses it as an amulet. 

The thought of that card made Jessie believed in this day with a deeper conviction. It also brought back memories hidden in the most inaccessible place in her heart, the core. How and when did this occasion become so unbearable? 

“Hi, excuse me Jessie!”
As Jessie lifted up her head, she saw a therapist was standing right in front of her. She didn’t even see him came in.
“Hi, Ryan. How can I help you?”  
“I am just wondering if there is any donated equipment. I am looking for a commode chair for a patient who cannot afford to buy a new one."
“I don’t have anything at this point. I will let you know.”
“Thank you! Everything is alright?”
“Yeah. I will send you an email if anything comes up.” 

What was it that Ryan was asking for? A wheelchair, a shower bench or a raised toilet seat? It was obvious that Jessie was in distress. She should not have come to work today. Next year, I am going to take a sick day. I am sick. My heart is sick. 

Jessie jumped when her telephone rang. “Resource centre, how can I help you?”
“Joanna Sears.” It was a man’s voice.
“Joanna . . . “ For two seconds, she could not process this name. “Ohhhh!” She suddenly remembered Joanna is the Finance Director. The man giggled. 

That’s strange. People usually call the receptionist if they wish to be transferred. She did not think much before redirecting the call. Then she recognized the voice. Though she had not heard from him for ages, his voice was unique to her ears. There was a stroke of softness in his voice. Only when he was with her, he would reveal a feminine side of him. 

Could this be him? Was he checking to see if I was at work? Jessie’s world suddenly turned right side up.  She glanced at the door, imagining someone walking in with a single stem of red rose. One would be enough. She had never received flowers in her life. For the next 4 hours, she became hyperactive. She checked her phone and email every 10 minutes. She looked out her window with every chance she got. She decided to log in to her neglected Facebook account. Oh, how she hates Facebook with a passion. While staring at her blank relationship status, she wondered if Jesus could change it one day like how he changed water into wine. 

It was seven o’clock. The hospital became quiet. Jessie’s mood had plunged to a new low. Hope had abandoned her. She looked around and saw no body. Most patients had gone back to their room. She could cry now. She buried her face deep into her palms and let her demons took control. She had nothing but resentment toward God. She felt like He was purposely trialing her without giving her the power to overcome her obstacles. “Are you okay?” Jessie lifted up her head and saw Alice the social worker. I didn’t know she was working late today. She handed Jessie a heart-shaped lollipop. The diamond on her finger was blindingly bright. “Yeah, I am okay.” “Happy . . . Have a good night Jessie!” “Thank you Alice. Happy Valentine’s day!” 

It was 8pm, time to get off work. As Jessie was packing, she saw her amulet sitting peacefully inside her bag. I certainly did not remember I had it with me today. I usually put it under my pillow. She took out that mysterious card and read it one more time “He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge.” Suddenly, she felt like God had just spoken to her. This is the solid evidence that what she believes in is real.
It was snowing outside. Snow petals were like feathers swinging and dancing in the sky. Jessie stretched out her hands to receive her heavenly gift. Maybe God’s timing has not come yet. Maybe, it’s next year, or the year after, or after I turn 40. I could wait. 

As Jessie walked another 10 steps forward, a man emerged out of the darkness. Time paused. It was someone she had not seen for years, yet she recognized him right away as that beloved stranger. They both ran toward each other and met at the halfway point. “I am sorry, I’m late.” The man said in a voice as gentle as a lamb. Jessie silenced him by sealing his lips with hers. No explanation needed. She knew this would be her last Valentine’s Day, because from next year on they would be celebrating their Anniversary.