The Valentine Box by Joy Hewitt Mann
The Valentine’s Social brought Billy and Liz
together when they were just nine.
He thought that her shoebox of string, tape and lace
was “pretty” and cookies “just fine.”
Liz noticed how nimbly his fingers untied
the shoelace that held the lid tight,
and how, though the cookies were burnt to a crisp,
he smiled as he ate the last bite.
Now, poor Liz was from the wrong side of the tracks,
and all the school children did say
that Billy, born on the right side of the town,
was nice “`cause it’s Valentine’s Day.”
Though the Social had brought them together that once,
the social rules kept them apart,
and so they each went to their predestined life
with an empty place deep in their heart.
Now, Liz never married, but learned how to cook,
and she started a catering biz
that served meals at galas and opening nights,
and everyone wanted Ms. Liz.
She was booked for a book-launch — Valentine’s Day.
The author had specified her.
He was Edgar’d and feted — a writer of note —
so shy Liz was forced to concur.
Liz set out the food as the writer read lines,
then nimbly signed books for the crowd,
but a puzzle it was, how this mystery man
was making her heart beat so loud.
She busied her hands with the lace and the silk,
though they shook as she touched each part.
She turned from the table as a voice in her ear
whispered, “Liz, please be my sweetheart.”
He held in his two hands — this mystery man —
a box that was faded and worn,
and when William Devane smiled at Liz once again
she saw her young Billy reborn.
It’s a mystery to some how Billy and Liz
found each other in this strange way,
but to all we who love (or wish for love) it’s
the magic of Valentine’s Day.