Thursday, February 14, 2013

Her Funny Valentine

Black Cow #1

Not a chance, he thinks to himself. Not. A. Chance. There are certain harsh truths you must accept when the roll of the genetic dice hands you a set of features like his. Jug ears, and uneven teeth. Carmine hair that inspires friends and strangers alike to feign panic and yell Fire! when they see him.  He’s got no chance when it comes to a dish like her.  Still, he can’t help himself.  His wishful gaze pours over her like Hershey’s syrup, as she sits at the counter sipping the Black Cow he’s made for her.

She can sense his stare. Not a chance, she thinks to herself. Not. A. Chance.  She isn’t shallow.  Certainly not.  But the poor guy is no Frank Sinatra, and though she pretended not to notice the way his voice pitched and plummeted like a roller coaster when he asked for her order, she felt so embarrassed for him she wanted to melt into the floor. Still, just for a second-before he’d moved away to mix chocolate ice cream and root beer, before even more awkwardness fizzed up between them, they’d held each other’s gaze, and she saw that his eyes were cocoa brown.

Black Cow # 34

Lately, she has found herself craving a Black Cow almost every day, and surprisingly, she has hoped he might be the one to make it for her. Over the past few weeks, one scoop of chocolate ice cream at a time, he seems to have overcome his consternation when near her, chatting comfortably away in a rich, even tenor. She is discovering that his character is agreeable-and he is funny, too, making her laugh as much with his wit as his own infectious laugh, until her sides ache. She notices his freckles.  Cocoa brown like his eyes.

Black Cow # 99

And then…

To celebrate her hundredth Black Cow, he slides a frost etched parfait glass in front of her, squeezes her hand and says, This one’s on me. He shyly slides a small box in front of her too. His eyes hold hers for a second before he moves off to take another order, leaving her to unwrap her gift.  A small heart shaped bottle of dime store perfume. Carefully removing the lid, she inhales deeply, the raucous scent striking her nose. 

She tips the bottle sideways, using her pinkie as a stopper, and then daintily dabs a fingertip’s worth of the redolent amber liquid behind each ear.  It’s more than a little pungent at first, but over time, when she has worn it long enough, it will seem less startling, less shocking-blending with the fragrance of her own skin.  Maybe even get under it.

Like he did.

Scent and Elixir and Frank Sinatra’s My Funny Valentine

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25 comments:

  1. Dear Valerie! You are so nice to little ol' me. Thank you. This story is tender and vibrant with description. It brought to mind a time I got a gift from a beau on my 16th birthday. He had asked me to the Prom a fews weeks before and then he dropped by with a birthday gift. It was a large cologne container of My Sin by Lanvin. I promptly yanked off the lid to spray some on and ended up pulling off the entire spraying mechanism. So I evaluated the design of the bottle and put the lid back on and then while staring right at the spraying hole promptly squirted a huge amount into my eye! sooooooooooo embarrasssssssssssssssing! He was watching me the entire time. Needless to say I get very klutzy in special moments.

    He was nice to me but we never had a fourth date. I ran into him once while in College and he look right fine then!!! But he had a gal with him.

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    1. Oh Renae:) Thank you!! What a fun story, too! I love it:)

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  2. Oh I love it! Too funny that she kept going back, and he kept right on serving her. What a great story :-)

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    1. Thanks Lisa! I figured enough Black Cows would win her over:)

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  3. Oh Valerie, how you make me believe in all the good things in life. This was so lovingly told, your words cradling their fragile love. And I loved, loved the counting of the Brown Cows.

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    1. Jennifer, thank you! Your comments are like gold to me:)

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  4. Oh I do love a good story and yours are certainly those great ones. Hug B

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    1. Thanks B! I am so grateful to you for reading them:)

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  5. Oh my goodness, I love this story! Such vivid imagery! I admit I had to look up the word "carmine" so thank you for teaching me a new word today :) I always enjoy reading your stories and find myself totally caught up in them. This one is no exception!

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    1. Thank you Tammy! And I have to confess that when I decided to use a different word for red I'd never heard of "carmine" either:) Thanks so much for reading this story:)

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  6. What a sweet and timely tale, perfect for the day. Carmine...what an exquisitely perfect description!

    Happy Heart Day Valerie!

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    1. Thanks Jacqueline, and I agree! I loved finding the word carmine too!

      Happy V-day to you!

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  7. What a delightful romp of a story, but it made me very hungry:~)

    I loved these lines: "Carmine hair that inspires friends and strangers alike to feign panic and yell Fire! when they see him." And then there was repeated line of "Cocoa brown like his eyes."

    This is a perfect Valentine's Day story. Thank you for writing it:~)

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    1. Sara-I've never had a Black Cow but after writing this I want one:) Thank you, and Happy Valentine's Day, my friend!

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  8. Somehow, you are the magician, and you've gotten under my skin with this beautiful little love story.

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  9. I might have a new favorite over here. Your description of him is so vibrant. He walks off the screen, and the Black Cows! Perfect.

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    1. Cam, I don't know what I would do without you:)

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  10. Such a real romantic piece. I think this is how life really works, it's about one little thing that is attractive.

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  11. This makes me smile to read. It's sweet and nostalgic and just a perfect piece to read this week.

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  12. Mmm, this is the sort of story I wish existed in real life today. I mean, sitting at the drug store counter ordering a sandwich and float from the soda jerk...Okay so I suppose you could get the same scene at the Denny's breakfast counter, but these days seemed to be filled with text-messaging or tweeting and no one seems to have the time to foster a sweet friendship anymore.

    And now I have a craving for a black cow, or even a swampwater.

    Well done!

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  13. Aw, so sweet! And a nice touch about the perfume for an ending.

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  14. Such a sweet piece.

    The ending was perfection.

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