On Valentine's Day
At midnight, my love
The place we met
You'll find me near
Light a candle
And I'll appear
The delivery of white roses and a handwritten poem with the signature LF Slade made the air grow suddenly cold. My heart skipped several beats. A valentine from a dead man or someone's heartless joke? I wasn't amused, but the door was open and hope filled the void.
Valentine's Day, once a fun holiday, was now a day I dreaded. I studied the scribbled words closer. The handwriting was his, the signature, LF Slade was the way we signed all our correspondence. LF meant Love Forever. The word love had lost its luster, so we used LF to convey an emotion that had no description. Silly, but that's what you do during those crazy first months of discovery and passion. Eventually, we laughed about it, but now those letters, those words meant so much more.
I pulled off the road and followed the overgrown driveway to the cabin. The night was overcast, the rain misting, with temperatures in the low forties. I preferred snow; its brightness would've added enough light to maneuver safely. Instead, the setting was haunting, much closer to Halloween night than a night for lovers.
We'd met on a sunny but snowy day. I'd twisted my ankle on a cross-country ski trail. Hobbling back, I took what I thought was a shortcut to the parking lot and my car, but I'd taken a wrong turn and ended up at Aaron Slade's cabin.
Aaron saw me limping across the lawn, rushed out, and in minutes, I was in front of a warm fire. Hot cocoa, brandy, and a full night of conversation were just the beginning. A year later, in the same cabin, we celebrated Valentine's night under the Snow Moon. Aaron proposed. I whispered, “Yes,” and our future changed. Then the unthinkable happened, a day after proposing, he was gone. Everything he owned remained as it was, but Aaron never returned. I waited but moved to California for a fresh start.
I hadn’t left a forwarding address, so how had he found me? I never shared these details with anyone, but anticipation grew as each of these revelations made an impact.
Concealed by the trees, I waited, trying to decide if I should approach or if I were only chasing ghosts. I'd hoped to see you, a light, or some movement, but there was none. Gathering my courage, I finally approached the cabin. The key was still hidden under the eve, the rooms empty of intruders. Following your directions, I lit a candle and opened the French doors to the patio.
The breeze shifted the clouds and the moon made an appearance. Our last moment replayed in my head. I recalled how Arron dropped to his knee.
"Marry me and I'll make all your dreams come true,” he had said.
"You already have," I'd whispered.
A sudden wind distinguished the candle’s flame. In the shimmering moonlight, Aaron appeared. He hadn't changed. My apprehension vanished as I stepped into his embrace.
Then an alarm rang and I awoke to another heartless Valentine's Day.