A bit of Valentine' fluff

Note: Just a short little story I wrote up for a little contest at another forum, decided I may as well post it here to get writing criticized as well, though it isn’t any kind of fan fiction or rp related. I had a little fun writing it and popping in little bits of sarcasm and irony. Feel free to be as harsh with your criticism as you think warrants it.

Valentine’s Silence

Silence ruled the hallway. A clear, sterile silence, echoed by the waxed linoleum floors, reflected by the monotonous blue lockers that lined the walls. The silence that encompasses a building usually filled with noise, a silence never heard by human ears or rather, as is the case of silences, not unheard, for a person’s very presence would change it into the silence of one person alone, the gentle whispers of their breath, the shuffling of clothes rubbing against skin.

Indeed, such a change in things unheard was happening at that moment as the echoes of footsteps from the next hallway around the perfectly ninety degree corner became audible, had anybody been there to actually hear it. The rustling of air suddenly disturbed, clinging to clothes, the purposeful clack of shoes, the very pulse of a heart sending faint vibrations in the air, though ears are fain to hear such gentle fluttering. This heart in particular beat vigorously, a nervous but steady flutter, as the girl turned the corner and stepped across the slick floor that mirrored the fluorescent glow of the lights beaming above. One row, two rows, three rows of lockers she passed without hesitation, until she turned to her left and stopped in the middle of the fourth row, looking at one particular locker no visibly different than the others except for its number, the same faded blue, the same rectangle door with three uniform slits near the top, held closed by the same brand of generic combination lock, but no doubt with a different combination. Perhaps had other ears been present the beating of her heart at that moment, as she clutched to her chest a plain white envelope and a plastic food container wrapped with a red ribbon, would indeed have been audible to them, though since that was not the case it shall never be known. She laid the contents of her hands to the ground beside her and bent forward to turn the knob of the lock.

Perhaps at this moment a description of her would be prudent, and yet it holds no bearing as well. She was a girl, or perhaps a young woman. Not a child any longer, not yet an adult. From head to toe she was plain, homely, or perhaps it’s best to say not beautiful, which is not a terrible thing to be but not precisely a good one either. Not a model of imperfection, yet clearly not perfect. Pretty at best, though if only that one feature was different. Perhaps that feature was her nose, too long, too pointy, no it could be her hair, the colour, the stringiness, yet maybe it was her height, weight, skin, voice. Maybe it was something different, it matters little what imperfection it is that makes one fall short of perfection, only that it does so. Her clothes were also plain, or homely, or not beautiful as is the case, though if nothing else the price was probably right. Perhaps those three terms describe this girl’s appearance outright, for there is nothing more to tell about it that is relevant.

The lock popped open easily with a click and the cold sliding of metal against metal as it was pulled out of its loop. Of course she knew the combination of the lock. It is a thing close friends learn when they are willing to run favours for each other during school. They can’t very well fetch a binder from a locker unless they know the combination. She bent down again, picking up the two items next to her and setting them inside atop a pile of binders, first the plastic container with a ribbon, then the plain envelope. The door was then closed, with a slam to pop it properly into place that made the hallway wince, and the lock placed back through its loop and clasped together with a crisp snap. The clack of shoes once again echoed down the hall, the silence never unheard by humans settling back into its resting place as the intruder left. Some time later, silence never keeps track of time to say exactly when, the glowing lights were turned off from somewhere else in the building, and as the last occupants left for the night the silence of a completely empty building rushed through as if it were a sigh of relief from a tired old man coming home to relax after a long days work.

More pertinent than the girl’s appearance were the two items left behind in a locker not her own. The plastic container was near a perfect cube, more or less, not larger in any dimensions than four inches, made of clear, standard, non-recyclable, microwave-safe plastic with a opaque blue lid, indented with the maker’s logo of course, that had been guaranteed to provide an airtight seal. Perhaps this was in fact the case, as the ribbon proved no practical use in keeping the lid on, instead it was tied around the four sides of the plastic cube, beginning and ending in a bow that faced the locker door. Inside were two things. The first was a small chocolate cake, though that fails utterly and miserably in describing it. It was a two-layered triumph of baking, each small half a delicate, moist, mouth-watering chocolate morsel divided by a sweet yet delicate butter cream icing. The outside was covered simply in a light chocolate glaze that would catch the light and emphasized the delicateness of the dainty and atop of the perfect circle, in white fondant icing, was drawn the outline of a heart. It was a flavourful and decadent creation, without being overwhelming and too rich, that would bring a comfort and peace to the mind and soul of any lucky enough to taste it. The entire treat radiated the warmth of a homemade good, a culinary creation made with effort and care by the very hands of its giver. The second item was a paper doily beneath the cake.

Atop the container that held the mouth watering masterpiece was the envelope. It was no different than any other ordinary white envelope that might be sent or received in the post. It contained no outside writing or postage stamps and was left with the flap unsealed. Inside of it was not a card but a simple piece of white stationary folded up into three equal parts. On this piece of paper was neatly handwritten by a normal black ink ballpoint pen, the following:

“Dear Austin,

I write this letter to you because I do not have the courage to tell you in person what is written on this page. I’m not sure I have the courage to put this in your locker either, though I hope I do. We’ve been great friends since the first grade when my family moved here. I can remember so many great times with just you and me. That’s why I’m afraid to give this to you, but I have to let you know too, and know myself.

There is something that I’ve started to feel as we entered high school. We’ve both matured in the last couple of years, and I believe that my feelings towards you have also matured. I’ve admitted to having little puppy love crushes on you when we were kids but this is something different, something stronger. What I mean is, I love you. I really want to tell you this in person but I’m too afraid of what you reaction might be. I’ve been telling myself to wait for the right day, but what better day is there than today?

I don’t know what you’ll think about this, or what you might do. I try not to fool myself by believing that you’ll feel exactly the same way. But please, give us a try, at least for today. Please ask me to be your valentine today.

With all my love,
Alicia”

These two items sat embraced by the silence in the darkness of a locker. Objects of tender and hopeful feelings surrounded by the breath and spirit of an old building that had held many such objects in its past. It may have come to pass that, had a living soul been present in the school as the night of February the 13th changed into the morning of February 14th, they would have felt the sensation of a sentimental smile spread through the still air, though it shall never be known for certain since none was present. Time passed as it does, the silence oblivious to it, until it was interrupted. The building had been entered again, the low buzz of lights once again started somewhere by a flick of a switch. The silence woke up from its slumber and was made to flee as once again the clack-clack of shoes against linoleum echoed into the hall.

Around the corner came a girl, or a young woman, yet this one different than the other. She walked past the first row, the second, stopped, looked at a list in one of her hands and unlocked the last locker of the second row, put something from a bag she carried inside it, and then closed and locked it. Past the third row and into the middle of the fourth row of lockers she walked, before stopping, peering at the numbers and making a beeline to the centre of the left row. In one hand was held a plastic grocery bag filled with bright red heart shaped boxes containing only the best chocolates money could buy from the local Superstore and card-shaped envelopes, also red, each containing one of this year’s commercial Valentine’s Day cards and a love note, computer created and printed with only minor changes with her signature at the bottom of each. A faintly sweet smell came from each item, a smell that matched exactly the perfume she was wearing. In her other hand was a scrap of paper with numbers written on it, which had been no small trouble to collect, but she had friends and resources for that.

Perhaps just as the first girl received a description, so shall this one. In short, she was probably beautiful. Of course beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so at the very least she was rather attractive. Bodily faults and imperfections could not be pointed out, or at the very least they could be covered up or changed and removed. Her clothes were the latest styles or rather they were expensive. If three terms were to describe her, they would be attractive, stylish, and expensive.
She opened the lock after the second time, misreading her writing on one of the numbers the first try, and a sneer crossed her face as she saw, sitting on a stack of binders, a plastic food container wrapped with a red ribbon and a plain white envelope. Perhaps the cause of the momentary disfiguration of her face was attributed to the fact that someone had gotten here before her, who had arrived just as the caretaker arrived, or maybe it was caused by a rush of sudden competition by an unthought of opponent. Maybe it was of disgust at a homemade treat and a plain little note. Whatever the cause, her face quickly reverted to its normal pouty look, and she reached in to take out the rival gift.

Her head turned and she looked around. The hallway was deserted except for her, and yet, had that been a violent and protective hiss that had gone through the air? It was a silly thought; the place was as silent as the grave. The little container and note quickly went into the garbage can nearby and were replaced by a heart-shaped box and a red envelope. The locker was shut and locked again, and the clacking continued away.

Nothing made a sound in the hallway, save for the soft buzz of the lights. The lockers made no sound. The valentine gifts that had been bought and mass created in the hope of a fun fling with a cute guy made no sound. The gifts that had been crafted with care and filled with love that would now never be received made no sound. Silence rested heavily upon the hallway for the moment, but soon it would be driven away as students arrived, today, on Valentine’s Day.