Thing 14: Valentine


Valentine suffered from an unfortunate
archery accident when she was 15 years
old that severed the external pterygoideus
muscle on her left cheek and left her
with a slight tic for the rest of her
days. Her parents were simple folk who
thought it would be a good idea, kind
of clever, to name her after the day
she was born. Every year for her birthday
she got chocolates and a dozen red roses.
She grew to hate roses, eventually. Though
she grew fond of orchids, and she never lost
her taste for fudge. Her friends call her
Val. She is a native of St. Petersburg,
Florida and somewhat militantly against
matchmaking. She doesn’t like to get
involved in other people’s relationships.
She says people should make
their own mistakes.

She has a kind of funny
smile, a strange dimple
seen at happy hour when
someone tells a dirty joke. She
appreciates the audacity of
poor taste, though she never
laughs out loud.

Valentine drinks dry martinis, never the kind
of syrupy pink concoctions with umbrellas
or assorted fruits some others throw
down. She sells life insurance but she’s
not what you call a soft touch. She avoids
the phrase “loved ones” and talks to you
straight about aging and
death, her long fingers
finding your place on
the actuarial table.
She’s good at what
she does, and no

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