A Short Story on the Website of
the Red Dirt Writers Society

Tatyanna and the Sacred Heart
by D. J. Russell (Mar 2009)

            She was a vision in pink. At least she thought so. She was especially proud of the small diamond studs, given to her for her birthday only a month ago, and the freshly applied rose-shimmer lipstick, worn to school for the first time – with only a slightly disapproving look from her mother.

            She smiled at the reflection in the mirror. Good. It would be really gross if something from lunch were stuck between my teeth. The only flaw she could see was her glasses. They made her look too bookish to seem pretty. She brushed that thought away immediately. It was not good to be that vain about yourself and, besides, her mother told her that boys like smart and pretty girls more than the really gorgeous ones anyway.

            She closed her eyes and wished, and maybe prayed a little, that there would be a special valentine in her locker. She had gotten valentines from all of her friends, but not one from him yet. She had put a card in his locker the minute she had gotten to school. It would be so embarrassing if she gave him one and he didn’t give her one too. She had been hoping and planning this day since Christmas Break.

            The bell rang and broke her out of her reverie. It was time for her next class and she had little time to run and check her locker. She was halfway down the hall by the time the Girls’ Room door had swung shut. Reaching her locker, she closed her eyes and crossed her fingers before reaching out to open the little metal door.

            Tatyanna almost jumped for joy when she saw the envelope lying flat upon her social studies book. Gingerly picking it up, she saw that her name had been carefully handwritten on the envelope’s face. It had not been sealed, which meant she could put it in her new jewelry box and keep it as perfect as it was right now. With tremulous hands, she withdrew the card and opened it.

            She dearly hoped that no one saw the look of disappointment on her face. The card was from Britney Brown. Tatyanna vaguely remembered the girl from her math class. She felt bad because she had not given Britney one. Well, she thought, feeling a little better, she could make Britney one in art class and still get it into her locker before school was over. Half-heartedly, Tatyanna pushed her locked door shut and headed to her next class.

            When each new clanging bell let the other kids run screaming and yelling down the halls to their next classes, Tatyanna went to her locker with decreasing levels of hopefulness. She wanted someone to like her…a lot! She wanted him to like her…a lot! She wanted someone other than her family to think that she was something special. Parents don’t really count, ‘cause they have to like you. She was pretty sure it was a rule.

            When the final bell of the day rang, she walked to her locker and gathered the books she would need for tonight’s homework. How did they expect her to do homework on a day like today? Especially with a day like she was having. Her locker held nothing more magical than school books when she opened it up. Grabbing the books, she pushed her locker shut a little harder than she intended. Trying to be as calm as she possibly could, under the circumstances, she wiped away a tear from her eye and headed to the bus.

            As she was leaving the building a boy sprinted by her, knocking her books from her hands. He yelled, “Sorry”, but he didn’t stop to help her. Now the day was absolutely perfect! Not only had the only boy in school that she liked not given her a valentine, now she was probably going to be late getting on the bus and would have to call her mother for a ride home.

            With a sigh of despair that can only be created by martyrs and teenage girls, she began picking up the books and papers that had scattered across the hall. Nearly everything had been picked up when she spotted normal" it!!! A plain white envelope was sticking part-way out of her social studies book.

            She opened the envelope, by this time far too eager to be delicate, and withdrew the card. The card was the palest pink and was plain except for a delicately embossed white rose in its center. With trembling fingers, she carefully opened the card.

            This time she made no effort to hide her tears, because they were of joy and not dismay. She read the message several time before it was etched into her mind. She held the card to her breast, closed her eyes, and said a prayer.

            The message, in perfect block letters, said, “Every day you have my heart and my love, and every day your heart shows me how much I am loved. Always with you, Jesus.”

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