He looked at his watch, she should be coming soon. She was always on time and he always looked forward to every visit from her. It was by far his favorite time of day when she would appear beside him with her sweet smile and spunk.
Henry enjoyed living at the “Golden Acres” retirement home. The staff were very friendly and he had made good friends, but nothing quite compared to the days that Gia would come to see him. He had no family to visit him, so the days could get long at times. He was so thankful at how the elementary school nearby had an after school program for their students to visit the residents. His friends enjoyed it too, the children added sunshine to their days.
Gia was such a sweet, spirited girl. She loved to talk, but she did enjoy listening to Henry’s stories too and loved to ask questions! Intently she would listen, as he would share not only about his day, but about stories from his past. He would watch as her hazel eyes would grow big in amazement at some of the stories that he would share with her. He did enjoy teasing and would sometimes embellish the stories a bit just to see her mouth open wide into a big O shape. She then would see the gleam in his eyes and would giggle as she realized that he was pulling one over on her, sometimes causing her cheeks to get as red as her hair.
The sound of approaching footsteps made Henry turn his head. The children were coming and Gia was leading the line.
“Henry, oh Henry, do I have a story to tell you!” Gia squealed.
She plopped herself down in the chair in front of him, her cheeks were flushed with excitement.
He got such a delight out of listening to her stories. The sound of her voice was like a sweet melody, filling his heart with joy. Sometimes she would tell him what crazy Tommy did in class that day, or how her teacher told her to be quiet. How the teacher didn’t understand nuffin, that sometimes she just had to talk or she would explode.
Henry couldn’t hold back his laughter as he watched the emotions splash across Gia’s face as she told her story. She waved her hands in the air as she was explaining her frustration with her teacher. She had got in trouble again for talking.
“Then my teacher made me wait another forever 5 minutes after recess had already started! It was awful, I was dying ! I just had to tell Abby what Mikey had told me. He likes her he weally does! He wanted to meet her at the merry-go-round, but cause of teacher he had to wait, wondering if Abby would come.”
Henry’s eyes sparkled as Gia paused to take a breath. “Oh dear, poor Mikey. What happened?”
Gia smiled and said, ” I ran fast, when teacher said I could go. Abby was swinging and I pulled her arm saying we had to go. She wasn’t too happy with me at first, but when I told her about Mikey she got happy and ran to the Merry-go-round. We had fun going round and round but guess what, guess what Henry!”
Gia’s eyes once more got wide as she started to explain. Then she bounced out of her seat because of laughing so hard.
“Oh Henry it was so funny!” Gia sputtered out.
“What is it, tell me please, what happened?” Henry asked.
Seeing Henry’s eagerness to know made Gia start laughing again. Once she got control of herself she continued with her story.
“Well Henry had a present for Abby, it was in his pocket and it jumped out! It jumped out and landed on Abby, Henry!”
“What did? What was his present?” Henry asked.
Henry’s eyes danced with amusement as he watched Gia throw her hands up in the air and shout, ” It was a FROG!”
“Oh Henry, Abby squealed and Mikey’s face got all red, Abby don’t like frogs, but I do, I like frogs Henry, do you like frogs?”
Before Henry could answer, Gia continued. “Abby ran fast to the teacher and me and Mikey we played with the frog. It was a cute frog, but teacher didn’t let Mikey take it back inside with him, he had to let it go. Mikey and me played with it a little after school until we got picked up.”
Ending her story Gia took another breath and said, ” Oh Henry I have something for you before I forget”, and she reached down to pick up her backpack.
Henry put his hands to his face and said, ” Oh No, its not a frog is it!”
Gia dissolved in giggles, “Oh Henry, you funny, its no frog! Here you go, and Gia placed it in his hands.
“I hope you like it, I drew it just for you. I gotta go now Mom will be waiting. Bye bye friend!” With those words she gave him a quick hug and he watched as she skipped down the hall.
Henry’s eyes glistened as he then looked at the little card that Gia had placed in his hand. On it was a drawing of Gia and him holding hands and scrawled beneath the picture were the words. “Thanks for being my fun friend. I like you. Happy Valentine’s Day Henry! Your friend, Gia.”
Henry smiled and thought how this may be one of the most special Valentines that he had ever received and his heart was full.