& if I don’t get you a card? he asked. i’d thank you for not wasting the paper or someone else’s words on me. & if i don’t buy you flowers? i’d thank you for saving me the future sadness i'd have watching the beauty of their blooms wither. & if we don’t go to dinner? i’ve already planned to not be hungry that day, so no problem, she said. i’ve always figured it was a day to let the shy, the non-feelings-sharing types off the hook. they get off easy: with so many others wearing their hearts on their sleeves that day, no attention can be drawn to theirs. i'm not sure if it's silly or smart but it must be uncomfortable bottling up what you want to say and waiting for that one day to pop. how can you make feelings a secret? she asked. & it’s a horrible secret to keep: your feelings. especially when it’s the kind of thing that would do more good than harm to share. do you think i keep the way i feel about you a secret? he asked. you do seem a little bottled up at times. but i'm impatient, so i've begun to build my own conclusions. well, have you figured out that I like it when i bump you? you know an accident’s a truth gate. that’s one thing i actually have figured out, she said. and i can tell there's a feelin' in your bottle. & there is, he said. you've found my bottle, you've found my heart. so here's what's in my bottled little part: when you’re beside me i want to wrap you up in parenthesis, and bracket your heart inside. & when i see you i pause like a comma and my mind trails off with ellipses...yeah. when i’m alone, thinking of you makes me scream into the nothingness with exclamation points. no question mark hangs to the right of my heart. i’m as flustered as a run-on sentence: my hands they shake, my head it spins. and before you say anything, because to top it off, hearing your voice jolts me like a comma splice—he took her hand in his and squeezed it three times—period, he said. and all she could think is that his feelings were punctuated better than any card or conversation heart she could have ever received.