From Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul on Love & Friendship

One Single Rose

It’s not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving.

Mother Teresa

It was Valentine’s Day, my freshman year of high school. I was so young, the romantic type, and I longed for a boyfriend or secret admirer. I walked the halls seeing couples holding hands, girls with huge smiles on their faces, and dozens of roses being delivered to “that special someone.” All I wanted was a rose. A single rose to brighten up my Valentine’s Day. But I was picky. I didn’t want the rose from my parents, my sister or even my best friend. I wanted it from a secret admirer.

Valentine’s Day at school was over, and I had no rose to hang in my locker like I had hoped. I came home a little sad and hoped next year’s Valentine’s Day would be better. I sat in my room dreaming about next year’s romantic Valentine’s Day when the doorbell rang. There at the front door was a deliveryman bringing one single rose to my house. Surely this rose wasn’t for me. I didn’t have such luck. I closed the front door with the rose in my hand and gave it to my mother. “Open the card!” she insisted when I told her it must be for her. I unsealed the envelope as my hands were shaking. Why were my hands shaking? I knew it wasn’t for me. I slowly lifted the card and read what it said:

To Amanda
From someone who cares

I must have read it twenty times in a matter of seconds, praying my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me. But they weren’t. The rose was for me. I must have been happy for about five minutes, until I started calling the obvious people and accusing them of sending me a rose and playing a joke on my hopelessly romantic heart. No one knew who sent it to me. My friends, family and relatives were as surprised to hear I got a rose from a secret someone as much as I was. I was on cloud nine for weeks. Every time in high school that I felt down, I would think about my freshman year’s Valentine’s Day and a smile would appear.

Senior year rolled around and the dreaded February fourteenth was once again upon us. This year I received at least six carnations (a carnation-selling fundraiser was held at school that year), all from my best friends. I walked around with a big smile on my face, holding my flowers. Even though they were just from friends, they made me happy.

The end of the day was drawing to a close, and I had two classes left to show off my flowers. I walked into my French class and noticed one of my closest French class friends looking upset. I had grown to know my French classmates pretty well, since I had spent three of my high-school years with the same people in one class. We’d turned into a little French family. Well, my friend saw me walk in with my six flowers and lowered her head with tears in her eyes. She hadn’t received a single flower, not even from her best friend.

We talked a few minutes before class, and some very familiar words came out of her mouth. “All I wanted was one single rose.” My heart ached as I heard those words. The familiar sense of loneliness I had felt as a freshman, she was feeling now. I wanted to do something. It was too late to purchase carnations and I couldn’t get her anything on a break because school was almost over. Finally, I figured it out. My freshman year. The single rose. That was it; that was what I had to do.

I told my mom about my plan and asked her if we could try to find a rose after our Valentine’s dinner out. She remembered having seen a bucket of roses at a local drug store, so we rushed over and purchased the last good-looking rose and a small card. In order to preserve my identity, my mom wrote what I dictated to her in the card:

To Kristen
From someone who cares

We drove to her house trying to be discreet. I ran up to the front door, put the rose in her mailbox, rang the doorbell, ran back to the car and drove away. All the feelings of happiness I had felt my freshman year had all come flooding back. I just kept thinking that I was going to make someone feel as special as I had three years earlier.

The next day in school Kristen came up to me and gave me a hug with tears in her eyes. She had realized it was me by the handwriting. I guess my mom and I are more alike than I thought. She cried and said it was the nicest thing anyone had done for her in a while.

I never did figure out who it was who sent me that rose. But I did figure something else out. It didn’t matter if it was a guy who secretly loved me, my mom trying to make me feel loved or an acquaintance who knew what I needed. What matters was that it was from someone who cared about me and who went out of their way to brighten up my day.

Amanda Bertrand

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