February Challenge of the Month: A Valentine's Short Story
Warning: This story might just be true but I'll never say for sure
My ex-boyfriend used to call me his hood-girl. I loathed the phrase. Every time he uttered the words I was reminded of my lot in life, which must be why he didn't last long. No one wants to be reminded of what is lacking in their lives.
Whether the ex stuck around or not, he had a point. You cannot escape your past. I am and always will be the daughter of a loon. My parents divorced when I was eight. As a teenager, my father would pick me and brother's up for dinner. I always wanted to go to Denny's to see the hott server. Instead, my father would cook up a vat of SpagettiO's and we would eat in the parking lot of Albertson's. The chill of the snow was nothing compared to the chill in his station wagon.
I am what the ex said, a hood-girl.
There is a certain pride that comes when dealing with poverty. The more you struggle, the more you gain in confidence. You know that the worst will never faze you because the worst has already happened. And so, you venture out in the world ready for anything.
I can handle gunfire and death threats. I can even handle the hunger of wanting something more but I cannot handle him-- Zack. The obnoxiously hot guy who lives on the hill. His mansion is nestled between two large oak trees that have been around almost as much as his families money.
Zack wakes up in the morning and gazes out the window only to see a man-made waterfall and hundreds of tulips planted by his gardener. I wake up to the scenery of a brick wall and green trash cans. Our daily panorama is completely different but that doesn't matter. When we are together all we see is each other.
Every year we struggle with the same debate-how to handle Valentine's Day.
Zack was raised where the man brings flowers to their lover. I was raised where flowers are what you lay on the caskets of the dead.
A fancy dinner dance is out of the question because he can jig-it-out to all sorts of complicated dances, I cannot. I accidentally stamp on his feet with no rhythm whatsoever.
And so, we are caught in the middle of a tug of war between the privileged and the poor. Neither of us can understand the other. I am completely okay with not celebrating Valentine's day but Zack won't have it. Every year his family hosts a massive soiree at his mansion. After a week of constant debating, I nearly give up on the bloke. Strangely, Cupid throws a miracle our way. Zack begins to see the world through my eyes.
Valentine's Day could have been a nightmare but he saw things differently. He picked me up in his Cadillac. I tugged at my navy blue boots, wishing they were Prada, not Payless. I am nervous as all get up, until I see the pot of beef ravioli sitting between us. We pull into the local market, I smile up at him, realizing he has sacrificed more than his dignity to sit here with me.
The passerby's walk swiftly to get their groceries. They don't even notice us through the tinted windows. This is what I am used to, this is my world.
Zack hands me plate and dishes out a serving of ravioli. He smiles in a sexily sly sort of way and says, "I got you flowers and you didn't even know it."
"I don't smell any flowers," I said.
Zack ran his hands through his long brown hair, "They are in the ravioli-rose hip sauce, a family recipe."
There are no words to say as I munched on the divine dinner. We come from two different worlds, his Sunday dinner's are a formal affair. Mine are spent hoping that my drug addict Uncle doesn't burp mid-prayer.
I guess you can mesh two different worlds together.
I learned a valuable lesson that night with Zack. Your history doesn't define you. It mold's you into the person you are today. Cherish your past, so that you can cherish others.