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Strangers in the Cupola

Many Valentine’s Days have come and gone for me, some with fanfare, some without. I’ve learned that I prefer dark chocolate to milk and that being a part of a couple is no guarantee for large heart-shaped boxes and dozens of long-stemmed roses. I suppose that’s why I write romance, I can create my own happy endings . . . and choose my favorite candy!

But the Valentine’s Day that burns vivid in my memory, brings a smile, though at the time, it brought only confusion.

I was about ten years old and we were painting my room a deep raspberry color my mother said I would surely despise by the time I went off to college. She was right.

A determined knock came at the front door.

We opened it to find the life-sized top of a wedding cake: a young bride and groom. A very cold bride and groom. The girl’s white dress filled the space of our small porch. The groom got right to the point.

“We were wondering. Well . . . could we see your cupola?”

It was a strange request.

The couple had urgent, expectant looks on their faces that perplexed me.

Mother considered for a long moment, then said, “Sure, why not.”

The couple exchanged a triumphant glance and came in.

Mother showed them the upward passage to the cupola.

“Dad would not approve of strangers in the cupola,” I whispered against their creaking footfalls on the stairway.

Mother smiled as they closed the door at the top of the stairs, and we went back to painting.

In about a half hour, they came back down, said thank you, and were on their way.

In a few years it dawned on me what the newlyweds had been up to, and I asked my mother why she’d let them in. She said something I’ll never forget: “I could have said no, but it would have made for a very disappointing story.”

So what’s your story? Does any particular Valentine’s Day stand out in your mind?


Bride Image: Tamara Menzi @itstamaramenzi

HEA Image: Ben Rosett

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