It was sight more rare than tattoo-free forearms at JPUSA.

Twelve perfect long stem roses and a note from my husband.

I placed the velvety buds in a mason jar and let the sweet fragrance filled the room.

But instead of having a Hallmark moment, my mind drifted back to the previous Valentine’s Day.  I was in China grieving my mother’s passing, the tragic death of a student, while battling some Chinese respiratory infection.


My husband was stateside. I missed him and I needed him.

So I decided to send him a Valentine’s– China style.

Valentines Day falls around New Years  or Xīn Nián Kuài Lè, There are more fireworks in China that time of year than people, or  enough firecrackers to blow off all ten billion fingers in the country.

So I purchased a large roll  from one of the seasonal vendors on the streets. . Seven thousand large.


It was roughly the size of a tractor wheel.

I unrolled the firecrackers  into a shape of a heart, lit the fuse and covered my ears for about three minutes.

The red papers went flying, several still burning, only to leave the shape of an even  bigger heart.

It took about three minutes for all seven thousand firecrackers to blow up. I videoed the entire spectacle and emailed it to my spouse.

And waited.

And waited.

He never viewed it.


The painful memories were thorns, big sharp ones, right out of a Grimm’s Fairy tale or lofty quotes I had to memorize in the fifth grade . Thorns kept one’s eyes off of life’s roses, or on that day, the beautiful bouquet I unexpectedly received. So of course, I kept repricking myself with those sharp spikes,  like wolf’s claws,  not allowing the wounds of the previous year to heal.

That’s  when I had to ask myself what I really wanted for Valentines,  to hang onto the memories or to hang onto my marriage?

God was holding my marriage together with divine duct tape. But if I wanted it to stay together, I had to focus on what He could do with it in the future, not  rehash the gunpowder of the past.  I had to focus on the flowers, not  the thorns.

I  decided to turnoff the projector in my brain, not just of the Valentine’s episode, but of  several sequels.

I looked at the velvety roses and smiled.

My nose smiled, too.

The sweet scent squelched the gunpowder of the smoldering memories…at least for that day.







Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *