In celebration of the season, I bring you the re-publication of a favorite Valentine’s Day, “isn’t it romantic” tale. Enjoy!
Miranda painted her face with forty-seven different shades of lipstick, browns and corals on her eyelids and forehead, hot flamingo pinks across her cheeks like tiger stripes, and deep reds on her lips and chin. She dressed in black with a black cloak and hood, then headed out into the night.
“Where to?” the Uber driver asked. She saw him squint at her in the rear view mirror, but he made no comment on her make-up or attire.
She slipped him a paper with an address that would bring them near the river. She would gather with her coven under the other chestnut tree, for the Taciturn Moon Ceremony. They’d follow the river downstream and by morning they’d be greeting the sunrise with their feet in the ocean.
The driver glanced at the address and gave a quick nod. “You got it,” he said as he pulled away from the curb. “Hey, miss?” he asked politely. “Would you like a chocolate chip cookie? I just took them out of the oven before I started my shift. They’re still warm.”
Miranda sat up straighter. Chocolate chip cookies? Flooded with a kaleidoscope of emotion, she leaned forward. Generally, she never spoke when she was in her ritual garb but–gee!–chocolate chip cookies. “Yes, please,” she said softly. He grinned at her in the mirror as he slowed for a red light. He turned around and handed her a warm circle of love. Their eyes met as did their hands. “I like your make-up,” he said. “It’s unusual, but pretty.”
“Thank you,” she said. She never ate in her ritual paint either. There were a number of rules generally observed on ceremony nights. She had tried to explain them to her mother once, and her mother had been rather unreceptive. Now Miranda was wondering if her mother hadn’t been right about the absurdity of such restrictions because here she was blowing them off for the sake of a chocolate chip cookie. But no, it was more than that. Miranda felt deep in her gut that there was a good chance that this driver could be the sensitive man she had been waiting for.
The light turned green but still they sat, unmoving. Traffic moved around them seemingly unperturbed.
“What’s your name?” he asked.
“I’m Daniel,” he said.
Again the light was red, and they sat quietly eating warm cookes, as if in a bubble, closed off from the chaos of the city.
A sharp honk of a truck behind them, and the spell was broken. He turned forward and started up. She touched his shoulder. “Do you want to go pick peaches with me?”
“Yes,” he said eagerly. “Yes, I do.”
“Which way?” he asked.
“West,” she told him. “But first I want to go home and wash my face.”
So he pulled a U-ie, right in the intersection, and they rushed off to spend the rest of their lives together.