My First Valentine This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   It's1994, and I am in the fourth grade. Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, and as usual, myparents are bugging me about signing valentines for my classmates. Afterhurriedly doing 25, I think about the one special valentine I have yet to make -what colors to use, what designs to make, how big to make it, and how to sign it.After deciding on blue, green and red, I gather the supplies and am finallyready.

An hour and a half later, it's finished. It's the most beautifulvalentine I have ever made. (Of course you need to take into consideration that Iwas only in fourth grade and an extreme tomboy, so it was cute under thecircumstances.)

This special valentine is for the love of my life. Bobbyand I have been friends since he moved here. We play together, laugh together,pinch people together, and eat lunch together.

The next day, our teachertells us to hand out any candy and valentines we have. After the uncomfortable"Here's your card" and "Thank you's," I approach Bobby'sdesk. A little embarrassed and very nervous, I hand him the card, give him a halfsmile and scuttle away.

A few minutes later, Bobby appears at my desk andasks, "Is this for me?" Ready to make a rude comment, but noticing thatit doesn't actually have his name on it, I reply, "I guess so." He saysa short "Thanks" before returning to his seat.

I'm so elatedabout having given my valentine to Bobby that I don't immediately realize I neverreceived one from him. When I do I know it must be some kind of mistake. But sureenough, there is no valentine from Bobby in my makeshift mailbox. Somethinginside me breaks.

When I arrive home that day, I tell my dad whathappened. He tries to explain it from a boy's point of view, saying things like,"Don't worry, hon, I can't remember my anniversary, but it doesn't mean Idon't love your mother." Needless to say, he isn't much of a comfort. I goto bed thinking the world is coming to an end.

The next day just beforefirst bell, Bobby approaches me.

"I'm really sorry, I didn't mean toforget your valentine." Simple, but effective. "Here, I made this foryou," Bobby says, handing me the most beautiful card I have ever seen. Itisn't beautiful because it has pink and red and purple on it - as a tomboy, Ihate all those colors. It isn't beautiful because it has hearts and confetti.Come to think of it, I hate all that mushy stuff too. It is beautiful because itis from Bobby, and it has Bobby's name on it.

Two years and twovalentines later, Bobby Monicelli died of cancer. Losing him has been one of thehardest things I have dealt with. As a young girl in the sixth grade, I neededBobby's friendship more than ever.

Today, whenever things look bad or Ifeel alone, I take out my very first real valentine and open it to the onlymessage that ever touched me the way love touches people. It's an importantmessage for everyone, not just me.

I know that all my friends, not justBobby, and I will always be "Together Forever."




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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