Episode 752: BrokenheartedAfter offering as much assurance to Tansy as she could think to say, Lucy lingered in her office doorway, watching the girl walk away. Lucy imagined that right about then her little girl smelled of syrup. She liked to think that in honor of the holiday, Hope had eaten heart-shaped pancakes for breakfast.
Lucy liked to think that everything about Hope’s life was heart-shaped, that she had everything, that Hope wouldn’t one day walk her school hallways with her head hanging down like Tansy, one of the saddest sights you’d ever see.
Lunch was a lot of kids’ favorite subject, but not Tansy’s. She brought a book and her headphones into the cafeteria. Tansy would have preferred to eat somewhere else if she had the option, however, her school didn’t allow it.
Miss Lucy, Tansy’s guidance counselor, having seen her lack of socialization in the cafeteria, had offered to share her office for lunch, so Tansy would at least have someone to talk to, but Tansy didn’t want to answer another round of questions from her guidance counselor.
So, instead, Tansy sat at the empty table closest to the far wall, listening to old songs from Xavier’s band while out of the corner of her eyes, she watched the school fundraising committee deliver the stacks of secret admirer valentines they’d sold to the student body. Tansy hadn’t bought any valentines from them or from the store this year, not after how last year’s experience had turned out. She definitely hadn’t expected to receive any either, yet one of the delivery kids slid a paper heart across the table to her.
And for the first time in a long while, Tansy smiled, she really, really smiled. Until she turned the card over and read the message printed on the back.
The bell rang and everyone hurried out of the classroom, even the teacher, all of them eager to start their Valentine’s weekend, or maybe just to get away from school for a few days, whatever their reason, Jesse didn’t go with them. He didn’t move. He wanted to rush to his locker. He wanted to grab the valentine’s gift he’d bought for Caroline, so she’d have him to think about while on her date with Charlie. But he didn’t move. He couldn’t move. Maybe it was karma for trying to steal another guy’s girl. Maybe it was something much worse.