Short Story: The Other Valentine

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About this Short Story

Written by
Mairi Wilson

Married for nearly twenty-five years but every year a second Valentine's card arrives for Lizzie...

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The quilt became a patchwork of cards as she emptied the contents of the battered shoebox over the bed and spread them out beside her. Twenty-three cards. Twenty-three years. Twenty-three lies.

That first year Bill had dismissed her ‘other’ Valentine with a laugh.

“Oops. Looks like someone hasn’t heard Lizzie Armstrong’s Mrs Campbell now.”

She’d laughed too, didn’t mention she recognised the writing.

Then the next year, he’d still been amused, but a little more curious.

“Another one? Same person or different?” She’d claimed not to know.

The following year he’d been almost pleased to see a second card for her tumble through the letterbox.

“Here we go again! Someone loves my wife almost as much as I do.” He’d kissed her on the top of the head as he dropped her mail down onto the table beside her. “And who can blame them?” By then it was too late to say anything. And…

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Nik Eveleigh Guest Editor said "I thought this was excellent. Sharply written, well paced and an ending that I didn't see coming. I love reading competition entries as there are always so many different approaches to a theme but this really stands out in terms of Valentines originality for me. Good luck in the competition - really enjoyed this. Cheers, Nik"
4 years ago
Mairi Wilson replied saying "Hi Nik – thanks for your encouraging comments. Especially pleased that you didn’t see ending coming - I find it hard to work out what is and isn't predictable. Glad you liked it. Rgds Mairi"
4 years ago
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Mairi Wilson replied saying "Hello Jeff – thanks for reading and commenting, and sorry if I’ve been too obscure. Always difficult to know how explicit to be. Rgds Mairi"
4 years ago
Adam West Guest Editor said "I thought I had my winner with Willie Douglas entry but this is on a par (I've still a few to read and might have to vote twice) - my only gripe is that it is not nearer the maximum word count (only two entrants have utilised the 1500 limit) anyway. Understated - superbly edited -no wasted words or unnecessary passages of description - enjoyed the use of repetition and questions and how the story wound its way ever so carefully towards a conclusion I couldn't have envisaged - did I I say I thoroughly enjoyed this - many thanks and good luck in the competition, Adam."
4 years ago
This comment has been removed; this user is no longer a member of Shortbread.
Mairi Wilson replied saying "Hello Adam and thanks for your generous comments. Length of piece was in direct proportion to time available... Rgds Mairi"
4 years ago
Diane Dickson Guest Editor said "Ooh spooky. Very intriguing and nicely constructed. Thanks, this was certainly a different Valentine."
4 years ago
Mairi Wilson replied saying "Thanks for reading and commenting, Diane. Took my lead from the competition title and tried to get good, bad and ugly all into the story. Rgds Mairi"
4 years ago

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