Chapter 4: Valentine's Day

Friday quickly came and the students were all very excited to be having their first Valentine's Day celebration. All week long the children had been working hard on cards for the other students in the class. Mrs. Applebaum had supplied them with scissors, glue, stickers, colored pencils, crayons, markers, and construction paper of all the colors of the rainbow. She also gave them each a white shoebox which she had personally cut a hole in at the top of each. This would be their card box, and along with their cards they were free to decorate these in any way they wanted to as well.

All day long the children anticipated snack time, which was when Mrs. Applebaum would begin the party. They were all at recess when they heard the bell ring indicating to go back to class. Mrs. Applebaum always held snack time after recess so all the kids rushed back to the classroom and headed straight for the back closet which contained their boxes. Helga had sent Phoebe to get her box for her. Phoebe struggled to carry them both, but eventually got back to the table and plopped them down releasing a sign of relief from the loss of weight from her arms.

Phoebe was proud of the box she made. Her box was coated with pink construction paper. The the paper she'd worked especially hard to draw a string on red hearts evenly spaced out and proportioned. Along each corner of the box, and outlining each heart with a layer of silver glitter. She glanced over at Helga's box and was slightly disappointed.

"Helga, I couldn't help but notice your box is still completely blank. You only wrote you name sloppily on the top in pen", Phoebe timidly informed.

"Yeah, so?" Helga scowled back.

"I was just wondering why you didn't decorate it."

"Because I think this whole thing is stupid!"

"But I could have sworn I saw you making a card yesterday. It was a pink heart with white frills around the edges. Who was that for?"

Helga immediately got defensive and raised her voice. "Psh, me? Helga G. Pataki making a Valentine's Day card? No way!" Helga opened her back pack and peeked into her lunchbox. It was empty, other than a pink heart like Phoebe had described. but now it had a picture of the little football headed boy taped in the center. She let out a small sigh.

"Oh, I just thought it might-"

"Whatever you thought, you were wrong! Besides, it's not like we're gonna be getting any cards anyway."

"Yeah, I guess you're right", Phoebe said, her optimistic smile fading as she slumped down into her chair.

Meanwhile Gerald also scampered toward his table with his mail box. Arnold was already there sorting out the large amount of cards that he'd made.

"Wow, Arnold, you made a lot of cards", Gerald announced.

"I made one for everyone in the class. Everybody deserves love on Valentine's Day, Gerald" Arnold sweetly said with a smile.

"Not everyone. Not people like Helga G. Pataki or Harold."

"They're not so bad, but I bet I know someone you did make a card for", Arnold hinted, nudging Gerald's side with his elbow.

"Yeah, I did, but I was too scared to use my name just in case someone else were to see it. I still hope she likes it."

Mrs. Applebaum walked into the center of the room and made an announcement. "Okay, boys and girls, the party has begun! You can begin to walk around a place your cards in people's boxes, and you can also go and grab a treat from the table by the blackboard."

"A treat? Alright!", Harold exclaimed running toward the snack table.

In the meantime the rest of the children seemed more interested in handing out their cards. The children scurried around the classroom placing each Valentine into it's designated owners box. Some students made for everyone, other made for their gender only, some just made for their friends, and others didn't make them at all. After they delivered them they all went to get a snack and rushed back to their table to read their Valentines Day cards.

"So Helga, did you get any cards?" Phoebe asked.

"I doubt it", Helga said as she opened the box surprised to see two cards waiting for her inside. She opened the first one and discovered it was from Phoebe. She thanked her and proceeded to the next one which was from Arnold. After reading it she held it up against her heart and let a lovestruck sign escape her mouth. Quickly realizing what she did she threw the card back into the box and slammed the lid down. In a panic she hastily asked, "How about you Phoebe? Get anything?"

Phoebe already knew Helga didn't make any cards which was her last hope. She opened the box expected to see it empty but found one lone card waiting for her. Through the misspellings and sloppy hand-writing she was able to make out this much from it:

"To Phoebe,

Remember when Mrs. Applebaum told us what love was? Well I've felt that about you since the day we met. You are the cutest girl with the prettiest eyes I've ever seen. Have a Happy Valentine's Day.

Love, Your secret admirer"

Phoebe was suddenly interrupted by a crude voice coming from her right side.

"Ooh, Phoebe got a card! I wonder who that's from", Harold began to tease. Phoebe's eyes began to water when another voice shattered Harold's saying, "It was me."

Gerald stepped forward letting everyone know it was him that had spoken up. "I wrote that card. And I don't care if Phoebe is a girl, or if you all think shes just a geek. I like Phoebe a lot, so if anyone has a problem with that than that's just too bad." Gerald raised a fist to Harold as he looked down and smiled at Phoebe giving her a wink. Phoebe smiled back in disbelief of what had happened.

Harold immediately backed up and apologized as he ran back to the snack table screaming for his mommy. Gerald chuckled and sat down at Phoebe and Helga's table waving Arnold over to come join them. The four then sat together enjoying the rest of the Valentine's Day party in each others company.

Not only had Gerald broken the gender barrier, but he'd also taken away the social stigma that the class had put on Phoebe making her accepted by the other students. Although they may not have talked about their feelings out loud for each other right away, they both really knew how the other felt about them. They remained close friends for years until they'd finally reached the maturity level to confess their feelings aloud.

The End! Sorry if the ending was a bit hasty and rushed sounding. I wasn't sure how to end this. I did the best I could, I hope you enjoyed it at least a little bit :)