The Valentine’s Mystery


I wonder if anyone will send me anything this year,
I thought as I remembered the upcoming student association Valentine’s Day
fundraiser. The Calexico Mission School student association Valentine’s Day
goods included flowers, balloons, chocolates, and other stuff with hearts
that expressed people’s love for one another. Among Hispanics, Valentine’s
Day is el día del amor y la Amistad, the day of love and
friendships, so close friends sometimes exchange notes and little gifts.

On Valentine’s Day, student association leaders took turns delivering goods
throughout the day, and many recipients were surprised to see who had sent
something to them.

“Aw! This is so cute!” I heard one girl say in the hall.

Turning toward her, I saw that she’d received a cute little bear and
balloons she was showcasing it on her way to class.

That’s probably from her boyfriend. I’ve seen her sitting with Alfonso*
a lot recently.

I sighed. Will I get anything?

Grateful to begin classes and think about something else, I looked forward
to English class. A couple class periods later, the lunch bell rang and I
had lunch with my best friends Becky and Krystal.

“Let’s sing our song,” Becky said as she finished her sandwich and grabbed
a guitar that was in my dad’s class, where we normally had lunch. Krystal
and I chewed quickly so we could sing with Becky.

Lunchtime was over too soon, and I hadn’t received anything from anyone. My
heart started to ache. If anyone had even thought about sending a single
flower at this point, the flower was probably already dead anyway.

A few class periods later, sitting at my desk in Bible class, I saw a few
student association kids with balloons and flowers. They appeared to be
headed toward our class. One of them held a huge white teddy bear with red
hearts for paw prints and lots of balloons with red ribbons hanging from

I wonder who that one is for.
I hadn’t seen anyone get a bear that big.

The student association kids handed out most of the gifts, and then, to my
surprise, I heard, “Laura, this one is for you.” Javier* held out the huge
fluffy bear and balloons.

I felt as if hot water had washed over my face. My brain froze, but I
somehow managed to get up and robotically put one foot in front of the
other. I wanted the gifts, but at the same time, was extremely shy and
didn’t enjoy being the center of attention. I held out my arms and felt the
soft teddy bear. Everyone in the room seemed to melt away. Then I heard one
of my classmates say: “Roberto*, someone’s got your girl now!”

Our classmates chuckled. I wanted the earth to swallow me whole.
Unfortunately, I was still very present in class.

Roberto was my crush and I suspected I was his. We sat close to each other
as often as possible, and he sat behind me that day. My face burned as I
sat down with my gifts. Did he give all this to me? I desperately looked for a card that would reveal the “lover”. There’s no card! My heart raced while I tried to make sense about
the combination of the beautiful gift with an anonymous giver. What’s the point of getting something without know who it’s from?

Becoming aware that Mrs. DeGroot, our Bible teacher, was teaching again, I
took deep breaths and tried to focus on class. This proved to be
practically impossible since I still had the bear in my lap and my face
still burned.

Between classes, Becky and Krystal made some comments about how pretty the
bear was but said nothing regarding the giver.

I did get something,
I comforted myself, still wanting to know who it was from. After school we
said our goodbyes and I went to my dad’s class.

“Those balloons are beautiful!” Mom said when she saw me sitting in my
dad’s classroom. “And that bear!”

“I don’t know who it’s from.” I slumped my shoulders a little. I smiled,
pretending to be a little excited about the gifts.

Mom smiled and opened up her arms for a hug. I got up and hugged her.

Dad walked in in the middle of my sentence and caught on to what was going
on. “But they sure are pretty!” he said.

We headed toward the car, and during dinnertime my brother, parents, and I
talked about our day.

“Those are great gifts,” Elías, my brother said. He smiled as I told them
how things had happened.

After dinner, I grabbed the phone and went to my bedroom, called Krystal to
talk about the anonymous giver and how “love was in the air.” Though in
reality, the only things in the air were the balloons.

“That’s a really nice bear, and the balloons are great too!” Krystal said
enthusiastically. I loved her positive, cheery attitude.

“I’m glad I got something this year.” I tried hard to not let my
disappointment come across. Maybe I’ll never know who sent them to me. I was sure it hadn’t
been Roberto, or he would’ve already said something. Right?

“I know who gave it to you,” Krystal said sweetly. She was a part of the
student association leadership.

I sat up in my bed. “Who?”

“It was Elías!”

My eyes grew wide. “What?” I swallowed. “How do you know?” That makes sense, he’s such loving brother!

“I knew the whole time. But I didn’t want to ruin the surprise.”

“Thank you, that’s very thoughtful of you.” My heart melted at the thought
of his knowing I’d feel loved and her desire to not ruin it for me. “OK.
Bye. I need to go see him now!” I said in one breath.

I jumped out of bed and ran to Elías’ room. “It was you! It was you!” I
hugged him tightly. He was a senior in high school and quite a bit taller
than me.

“You’re the best!” I exclaimed, laughing.

He hugged me back and chuckled. “Yes, it was! I love you.”

Much like Jesus, my older brother cared about my feelings and about making
me feel loved.

*Name has been changed

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The Valentine’s Mystery

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