I found Mom at the sink, head bowed, shoulders drooped, water running. My unassembled Valentines scattered across the counter.

I tried to slip away, but she turned. “Oh, Josh.” She wiped, sniffled, recovered. “Sorry, I lost track of time.”

We lost track a lot since Dad died. His birthday. Christmas. Anniversaries. The calendar had endless ammunition. How long would it take? A year? A lifetime?

She fiddled with a heart, as though she didn’t know what it was.


“Huh?” A wet mist in her breaths. And since I had no words, I launched into her with a hug.




*This story is in response to the 99-word flash fiction challenge over at my favorite writing place, The Carrot Ranch.

February 14, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about valentines. It can be Valentine’s Day, the exchange, love for another, romance, or friendship. Have a heart and go where the prompt leads!


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