clue 1

This year I didn’t even expect anything.

Ok, so I’m a girl. Most years I think I need to have something on Valentine’s Day from my guy. Mostly I want something personalized. And chocolate.

My man has a good track record for V Day. Two years ago he was in Portland while I was still in school in Boston. I received a huge box in the mail. It was filled with… just… things. Lots of unrelated things that were physically and monetarily small, but item after item was another example of how he had been paying attention. He knew me. I pulled out my absolute favourite soap: Bee & Flower sandalwood. There was fresh brie and my fave crackers to have with Brie: pepper flavored water crackers. Ferrero Rocher, my fave chocolate and hazelnut treat. A bottle of one of my favourite wines: Smoking Loon Chardonnay. My favourite tea: Peets Jasmine Downy Pearls.

clue 3 and a back rub

Last year when I got up to get ready for work, there were boxes of all kinds of candy – chocolates and another preferred sweet of mine: Jelly Belly jelly beans. He handmade a giant Valentine card and wrote BE MINE? on it, then glued more chocolates all over it in a design, with a bunch of flower and bee stickers. It was so awesome; I brought all the boxes of candy to work and hung the card up on my cube. For the next week, I pulled off a new candy whenever I wanted one. (I actually still have the card up, with shiny irregular specks of foil still glued to the paper) My co-worker H said, “Is he really that romantic?”

This year he outdid himself.

I found a big heart-shaped box of Ferrero Rocher.  A little white folded note sealed in wax, and two pages of written words on parchment paper, in green ink. Cool.

my story

detail

I broke the seal and found a “Valentine’s Day Coupon” for One Afternoon Alone, tucked inside the note, upon which was printed a small photo of a tiny portion of one of my pieces of artwork in the house. Of course I love the print (Six Bird Hunters in Full Camouflage by James Christensen), and the coupon is sweet because after a busy stressful workweek, my reward is usually chaotic weekends filled with my family clambering for my attention.

I read the parchment paper, which was only two pages, but at the bottom of each page it noted “page X of 13” with the “13” bolded. It was a story. Names were changed, but my daughter and myself were the key characters in a fantasy filled with danger and travel. Then, it just cut off.

I looked back at the note with the photo on it. A clue! My girl and I went to where the print hangs on the wall, and I pulled it down while Miss T checked the pocket in the back. Yes! Two more pages of parchment, and another note sealed with wax.

clue 6

Thus began my morning today. Alternately reading two pages, gaining coupons for massages, camping trips, dinner with dessert, walks and hikes, I kept collecting clues and then hunting around the house for the next part of the story. …which was very good, by the way. Exciting and dangerous, with fantasy creatures and particularly a dragon, all beginning in our back yard and ending up at a forest near the coast after a few scenes on the Oregon beach.

The last three pages had the hardest clue. It was a hint to one of his prints instead of one of mine (Frank Frazetta’s The Silver Warrior) , the dragon in the story shrinks to the size of a newt and curls around the main character’s neck (me) and begs for protection. Tucked beside the final words of the story was a handmade necklace with a serpent hanging from it. (Have I told you he makes crazy gorgeous beaded jewelry for me too?)

Sigh! Yes, he is a keeper. I told him, after the happy ending had commenced: “I am SO blogging this!”

serpent necklace

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