There’s a shoebox on the top shelf of the closet.
A secret kept from all, containing her most valuable treasures.
Pictures of a young girl wearing a red dress, white sandals and pigtails.
She’s next to a young boy with dark hair, rosy cheeks and buck teeth.
Later, portraits of the same pair,
different now with braces and make-up and pimples.
Letters exchanged, tucked neatly below,
white paper turned yellow with age,
creases worn from a thousand readings.
And at the very bottom,
a faded valentine.
Once red and vibrant like her dress,
spotted by candy hearts,
whose words made her heart pitter-patter
with hope and excitement
that the boy next door never knew
how much that girl in pigtails loved him.
Not only in pigtails,
but through cars, proms,
tests, friends and college.
Now, the only remnant she has
is a faded valentine
that sits on a shelf
in the closet of her lonely one room apartment
to be read on cold nights, like these,
when she dreams of what might have been
and if her love could’ve saved him.