Friday, February 12, 2016

Free Fiction: Quiet Valentines

They didn’t usually do gifts for Valentine’s Day.

Oscar and Phillip had long ago decided Valentine’s Day was an out-of control commercialization of a holiday. Flowers and chocolates weren’t cheap, and neither were lavish dinners out on the town in posh restaurants. They’d also seen how painful the date had been to certain ones of their single friends. That didn’t sit right.

Years ago, in the first blush of their romance, it had been just one more opportunity to do something wonderful for each other, but then again, Friday nights had been pretty special too. And Saturday afternoons. And Sunday mornings.

Then, they had transitioned into going out to dinners. The earliest years overflowed with champagne and escargot before slipping into pasta dinners and char-grilled steaks. Next, they’d grown complacent, and a little lazy, and gone out for pizza. The next year, they hadn’t even gone out, and just ordered in. Recently, they usually forgot about the holiday unless shopping somewhere that overpowered them with the red, pink, and white incessant decorations. They made a quiet dinner at home, just like any other night, and enjoyed each other’s constant, steady, and endlessly satisfying company.

But this Valentine’s Day, Oscar had found the perfect gift. He’d found it months ago, actually, and kept it hidden, waiting until the perfect moment. Or really, found wasn’t quite the right word. He’d reshaped his thoughts on what he could do with the object, and the idea had been born.

The gift centered on one of the earliest cards they’d exchanged, and this card had come from Phillip to Oscar, with a sketch on the inside, of the two of them done in rough caricature, with a heart in the sky, shining like a sun. It was Phillip’s classic pen and ink style, and Oscar loved it.

He’d loved it so much that he’d kept it – first on top of his dresser, when they’d been dating, and later, he’d tucked it into his sock drawer. His fingers brushed against it every day when he went for socks, the card safely hidden inside its envelope, with Phillips scrawl slowly fading on the outside. Now, Oscar had the card framed, with the interior sketch open for viewing. The glass was UV protective, and the sketch shouldn’t fade. It could hang on the wall, and be seen every day, a far more fitting place than his sock drawer.

Oscar heard the front door open and close. Phillip was home, and it was time to go make dinner. And give Phillip his precious gift.

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