Most of the boys in my class of 20 on V Day (Valentine’s not Veterans) were missing. One hour later, they came trooping in like a gaggle of geese—honking “Happy V Day!” and giving out roses to the girls.
I got one, too, over which I exclaimed, “This doesn’t excuse you all from being late!”
They guffawed, as though it was the funniest joke they’ve ever heard. That’s how festive V Day was in my Business Environment class. Everyone had this silly grin on his/her face, half listening to the lessons.
Just before the class ended, one of the girls came and whispered to me, “Ms., is it okay if we performed a Valentine’s number?”
Enough of this foolishness, I almost spat out. But I thought twice; I was young once, and although I can no longer remember, I was probably just as foolish.
About a dozen went in front, unabashedly sang in harmony a song unfamiliar to me but had the lyrics, “You are beautiful.” They also danced with gay abandon, peak performance level. Then at the end of the number, one of the guys presented—with flourish—a rose to . . . the shyest, most quiet
girl in class.
I did not realize she was the only one who did not receive a rose earlier!
The expression on her face was priceless. She stood up and gave everyone a hug.
It was magic. And stunning grace for me. I teared up and castigated myself, They’re not as foolish as you thought.
Outside the classroom, the performers were still lolling about. I whispered, That was a very nice gesture.
Someone exclaimed, “It was my idea!”
“No, it was mine!” another one retorted.
The magic went poof. But the grace remained. Oh, to be young again . . .
Addendum: In the faculty room, I gave my rose to one of my peers—single, and had recently broken up with her boyfriend. She messaged me later, “Hi, Ms. Chong! Thank you so much for the rose. I can feel God's love through you. Love is stronger than anything, for as long as it's true.”