Our family sat around the breakfast table, which was covered with items related to the upcoming celebration of Valentine’s Day at school. #2 was miffed because his bag of compliments had been stolen earlier that same day (each student had a bag where snippets of paper with favorable comments from classmates were deposited). This act of thievery had a chilling effect on his desire to distribute Valentines amongst his classmates.
#1 volunteered a strategy for determining the guilty party. “Who is your archest-nemesis in class? It was probably them.”
#2 mumbled “archest-nemesis” to himself, then stared up at the ceiling looking for the answer. I’d visited #2’s class on a number of occasions and had yet come across anyone who had a vendetta against him, but then again I’m far too old to remember the twists and turns of 1st grade politics.
He finally called out the name of a girl. The name went out of my head as quickly as it had been stated but his steely gaze captured the grim nature of their relationship.
I had to ask. “Why doesn’t she like you?”
“She just doesn’t. She never has.”
In real time this meant that a girl in his class had rebuffed his world class charm for almost two years (that’s right — we’re going all the way back to Kindergarten with this feud). I had socks — many of them — with longer tenure, but then again #2 was only seven so this feud has gone on for nearly a third of his life.
I don’t know exactly what happened between #2 and his archest-nemesis the following day when Valentines were distributed, but I bet he kept and consumed whatever treat was supposed to go to her. Presumably our subsequent move to Costa Rica and the introduction of roughly 2,000 miles between them will improve relations between them should they ever again meet.
I do know that #1 came back the following afternoon with all of the Valentines cards and gifts he was supposed to distribute — including the one meant for his teacher — still in his backpack. While the giving side of Valentine’s Day never made it out of his backpack he did manage to garner a bag of sugary treats for himself. And so it goes.