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So Wags the World
The First Bride
A Valentine Story
Beauty for Ashes
Matthew is Dead
A Wrong Decision
A Bend in the Road
Anne's Life as an Orphan
A Blythe Misunderstanding
The Blythe Orphans
Life Longing for Love
The Product of Our Love
Courtship and Love
The Last Connection
By Beth Mott
The First Walk
Anne's Magical Mystery Tour
Mr. Blythe's Spirit
the Brave New World
Memories at the Alter
Rilla and Jem
The House of Dreams
Anne of the Glen
Rilla's Castle O Dreams
All's Right in the World
Anne of Green Gables
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Two little words on a pink candy heart had changed her life. The first one she
received she had mercilessly crushed beneath her boot, grinding it to dust. The
second hear she didn't crush; she didn't eat it; she saved it. Oh, the
sentimentality of a sixteen year old.
I'm not that same girl who saved that heart her best friend gave her. I've
raised my family, and spoiled my grandchildren. Yet, I still cherish those heart
like I did when I was sixteen. A small box contains seventy hearts, some
messages are repeated, but each memory is unique.
Today is February 14th and I should be receiving my seventy-first heart, but I
won't be. The entire family gathered two weeks ago to say goodbye, but I can't.
That's why I'm walking the grave site with a worn out box in my hands. I'm
trying to say goodbye to a man I never thought would leave me. Now, for the
first time in sixty-one years I do not feel his breath on my neck as we sleep.
His protective arms around my waist are only a faint memory.
As I walk down this well-trodden path that has managed to ignore the passing of
time around it. I think to myself and I open and close my prized parcel. I pull
out the first heart. It says "You're sweet." It is the first heart. It is
non-committal, almost cautious saying, the heart of a chum.
It was our first year of teaching when Gil started the tradition. Valentine's
Day was a Friday that year and Gil made an unexpected weekend visit to Avonlea.
It had been a difficult day at school, with Anthony Pye acting up again and I
was at my wit's end. Gil and I took a walk down Lover's Lane. There was a fresh
snow fall and all the trees shimmered with their fresh new coat of gossamer
flakes. It really was a romantic setting, but I hardly noticed that day.
"I have something to give you Anne." Gil snuck in as I took a breath in my rant
about the trials of a school marm.
"Remember that candy heart I gave you ages ago?"
"Yes, you were trying to apologize for pulling my hair." I smiled and playfully
He reached into his pocket and pulled out a pick heart and handed it to me. I
read it, 'you're sweet,' identical to the one he gave me that fateful day.
That day was the first time I ever hugged Gil.
That day, so long ago, had started a tradition. He never missed a Valentine's
Day, not even during those awful two years between proposals. I pick out another
heart and examine it as I continue on. "I love you."
The first time Gil gave me a heart that said 'I love you' was the first
Valentine's Day after we were betrothed. He sent it by mail to Windy Poplars.
The widows and Rebecca Dew thought I had lost my mind when I opened the letter.
Tears came to my eyes when I read the heart.
"What ever are you crying over Anne? It's just a candy heart."
"No, Rebecca Dew, it's not. Gil gives them to me every year on February 14th.
This is the first one that has said 'I love you'." She just patted my hand and
smiled at me as she rose to tend to the kitchen.
I didn't share with Rebecca what the letter that came with the heart had said.
I know you know that you already have it, but on this day, I once again give you
my heart. Be mine.
Gil always spoke more with his eyes than he did with his words, but I could see
him giving me that heart just as if he were there. I didn't come down off of
that cloud for days.
I'm almost there and the tears that haven't fallen during my trip down memory
lane are now threatening to fall again. As I stand at the cemetery gate and look
at one last heart.
'You're sweet.' It is the last heart that Gil gave me. He had no idea it would
be the last one. He just said to me,
"Anne-girl, I have something to give you." He had on that smile of his, the one
that told me he was hiding something.
"Always and forever." No explanation, just a candy heart placed in the palm of
my hand accompanied by a kiss. 'You're sweet,' it read. We had come full circle
and somehow we both knew that this was the last Valentine's Day we would spend
together on this earth.
I'm knelling at the grave. I kiss my hand and trace his name on the tombstone.
The date of birth and the date of death are emblazoned on the granite, and mine
will soon be added.
"Gil," I call into the air. "I know you can hear me. I have something to give
you. I saved them all Gil, each and every heart. You gave them so willingly Gil
and I thank you. Now these are all I have, the heart I cherished the most is in
a better place. I miss you, Gil. I hope you know that with each candy heart I
gave you a piece of my real one. Not that it mattered, you already had the
complete one the day you pulled on my hair. It is my turn to give you the hearts
Gil, with all their messages and memories."
I place the box on the frozen sod and carefully stand up. I reach back behind my
neck and unclasp a chain. I place the necklace with the pick enamel heart
pendant on the top of the marker and lean to kiss it.
"I love you Gil, with all my heart. Happy Valentine's Day."
I turn and I walk away from what represents the only man I ever loved, but he's
not there. He's in the warm wind that blows across my neck on this cold winter
day. He's telling me he heard and he's pleading me to join him. I will, I want
my heart next year.
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