Lorraine was not big on holidays. She had never had children and saw most holidays as a push to spend money on other people, and in her opinion, most of the people in her life didn’t deserve a present. Besides, no one ever gave her a Christmas or Birthday present, and certainly no one had ever sent her a Valentine card. No that wasn’t right! When she was in elementary school, each student made a valentine box out of an old shoe box. Everyone in the class was expected to put a Valentine card in every box, and then on Valentine’s Day, at the little classroom party with refreshments supplied by the class mother, everyone opened the box and read his or her cards. In third grade, though, Lorraine’s box felt heavier than it should have been. When she opened her box she found a small wrapped package nestled among the tiny cards. She felt all eyes on her as she unwrapped the package. Inside was a small pink doll dressed in a frilly outfit. Under the doll was a note:” I love you, from Steven.”
She was too embarrassed even to turn to look at Steven, but everyone one else seemed to know what she had found and who had sent it. A few girls sitting near her started chanting, “Lorraine and Steven sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g!” She was mortified and avoided Steven for the rest of the school year. And that was it. Her last true love, probably. Not counting El Chapo, of course. Her days on the hacienda of El Chapo were just a memory now. He had been good to her, but of course, she suspected that he wasn’t faithful to her. There might have been other women.
Now she was involved with Mac. Was he faithful? She asked him and he assured her that there was no one else in the world but her. He said that when rubbed the shoulders of her friend, it didn’t mean anything. And when he went on a business trip with an elderly woman the week before, he explained that it was only because she had financed the trip, and besides, he wouldn’t sleep with someone in her late eighties, would he?. Lorraine believed him, but wondered if she should.
It was Memorial Day Weekend, a holiday originally formed to commemorate those who had given their lives for the country, Now it was a big vacation weekend marking the unofficial start of summer. Pools across the country opened, many schools were closing, and big box stores held giant sales. Normally Lorraine ignored the holiday like all the others, but this year she decided to celebrate the holiday by remembering her youth. She would spend the weekend thinking about her childhood in Texas. Her daddy loved her most of all, and her sisters were jealous. She was the prettiest girl in El Paso and had the most elaborate Deb Ball. And a third grade boy named Steven had had the courage to declare his love for her.