if you hate children, and magical unicorns, and warm fuzzy feelings you should probably stop reading right now. i've come to expect the unexpected from valentine's day. this year was no exception - hanging with les and neighbor john, feeding my recent peter pan obsession with "hook," and red cross-ing the night away. but my best valentine came last friday at a place called freedom house.
i'd stopped by to meet with my 8-year-old "language partner." plans changed when a group of young, and clearly beloved, volunteers showed up with party hats and birthday cake. the small tv room transformed into a party palace as residents, staff, and volunteers filled the small space. i tried to duck out when my young pal confronted me with: "you're not staying for the party?"
there was only one answer to give.
enjoying my fly-on-the-wall position, i felt my heart grow too big for my rib cage: suburban high school kids celebrating passage into adulthood, a 5-year-old lost in music and one-of-a-kind dance moves; and a group of adults immersed for a blissful moment in the familiar sounds of home. it was that cinematic scene when voices fade and the focus gets softer. the camera pans widely, sentimental music kicks in, and its your cue to cry. i was overwhelmed by that elusive notion we call love.
so i tried to sneak out again, but my little buddy caught me in the hallway. "you're leaving already?!" he asked with concern. "when will you be back?"
not soon enough, little man. not soon enough.
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