They met on Valentine’s Day

Donald was fourteen years old when he met Dianna, a girl of thirteen; at the wedding of Uncle Fred, the younger brother of Mr. Reinhardt, Donald’s father. It was one of those Valentine’s Day wedding.

Their discussions and exchanges at the august meeting encouraged Donald to start writing mails to the girl, most of which were favorably replied by Dianna. Nevertheless, Donald was not bold enough to clearly declare his affection and love for her.  He usually ends up around the topic, but never really got there.

At the peak of his deep feelings for her this year, Donald had become confused, and disinterested in his studies. How badly he wanted to see her, hold her and touch her.  Yet she was so far away. His school mates and friends noticed his terrible mood, but Donald would not share the truth with anyone.

He picked up the courage to write a special letter to his “girl” this time.

The letter got to Dianna late, in the midst of the end-of-the year examinations.

Upon her reading the contents, she was equally confused and unsure of the message.

She went to Jane, a senior girl of nineteen, and close confidant.

Jane explained to her that there is no problem having a male friend.  “You just need to be careful, and take full control of the relationship.” With experience and maturity, Dianna was guided into better understanding on how to play with boys without getting into trouble.

Donald graduated from high school, and secured admission to read polymer science at Cambridge University.

Two years later Dianna had become a medical student at Kettering University.

During the fall semester of his last year at Cambridge, Donald came home to visit his mum and brother, and meet with Dianna. Dianna shared the news with her parents, and they did not hesitate to welcome him into their home.

The homecoming was great for Donald and his elder brother, Steve.

Steve found a job as an investment banker at a Wall Street business firm after his graduating from college three years ago. The two young men were always a source of joy and inspiration for their mother, after the sudden death of Mr. Reinhardt four years ago.

“Would Donald be coming home to stay a while with me upon his graduation?” Mum asked Steve.

“I really don’t think so. He wants to start a project right away with a colleague of his from college. It is a United Nations atomic energy project, and he would not want to miss the opportunity.”

After meal, that night, Donald informed her mother and brother about Dianna.

“She has been a good girl from a good and respectable home.  We hope to meet this Valentine after many years of telephone calls and emails.”

“Are you getting married so soon”, Steve interjected, more out of jealousy, but equally out of serious concern for his younger brother.

Marriage is out of it!”  “I and Dianna met a long time ago, and became friends, and think we just need to see ourselves again after this long time.”  “She wants to be a surgeon, studying at Kettering. I hope to meet her and parents next tomorrow, and drive with them to the Allegheny Beach. She would ride home with her folks, while I drive home alone carrying mum’s Tuareg Jeep.”

He was happy to get the approval of his mother and brother.

Donald met Dianna at the front door. They shook hands, and he kissed her hand.

Diana was warmly received by the McCarty’s.

Donald was introduced by Dianna to her parents as a friend and a student of polymer science. at Cambridge. The parents chatted with Donald, exchanged views and pleasantries.

Meal was served, and everybody took off afterward for the beach, Donald driving with Dianna in front.

The two spoke of their plans after graduation, job prospects, life choices, and career.

Donald said, if given the privilege, he would love to spend the rest of his life with Dianna. Dianna quickly closed the topic, dwelling heavily on her studies and the internship after medical college.

The beach was  a great part of the meeting.

Donald was able to touch, feel and hug Dianna. She was still immature, unexposed, and green, sort of. She resisted all attempts by Donald to kiss, but had intimate hug and embraces from him. He gave her a special card for Valentine, with a special red rose from England. She promised to love him.

They went back to her parents, shared a meal at a special eatery, took some ice-cream, and departed. It was indeed a day Donald, and Dianna in her very secretive mind, would always wanted to look up to. As they drove out of his sight, Donald reminded himself that his first meeting with Dianna was casual, at a Valentine wedding. This meeting was real.  The next meeting should be their Valentine wedding day.

On his way from the camp, as he approached the bridge, he heard gun shots. Donald slowed down, turned off the road and waited to determine the incident.  Without thinking twice, he switched off the car engine, jumped out and locked up the car. He dashed into the nearby bush.

Five minutes later a car pulled up, and stopped right beside his jeep. A man pulled out holding a pistol. Donald could see him very well, as the man surveyed around the jeep, trying to open it. He couldn’t. He looked round, could not see anyone, and did not hear any voice. This bearded man in thick moustache and a small sombrero yelled at his partners. “Lay him on this car, and leave him to join the chorus in hell singing praises to the Devil.”

Donald saw the men as they brought out a blood-soaked man from one of their cars, and placed him on the bonnet of his car. He was too scared to speak. The gang drove off within seconds.

Donald waited where he was for a moment, then he pulled himself together, wanted to run. As he reached for his car with the intention of calling 911, after he had surveyed the scene perfectly well, the police arrived. Donald was arrested and accused of robbery and murder. Six months later he was convicted of robbery and murder, placed on death row, awaiting execution.

His mother and brother were totally depressed.

His friends and colleagues were distraught.

Dianna’s life was shattered, but she was strong. She stood with Donald throughout the trials. She vehemently believed his story.  Dianna prayed more regularly for divine intervention. She implored God in the day, she prayed fervently at night. She had a strong faith. Some other suitors came to her, but she never had their time. She was used to this chorus:

“They say that love’s a gentle thing
But it’s only brought me pain
For the only man I ever loved
Has gone on the morning train

I never will marry
I’ll be no man’s wife
I expect to live single
All the days of my life” 1.

Six months to Donald’s execution, the Legal Council for Truth and Justice, a Non-Government Organization, took over his case, and enlisted it for re-trial.

Panoramic sketches of the scene of the crime were taken from Donald. A new Prosecutor was found who took time to do a thorough investigation and findings.  The hoodlums who committed the crimes were found and convicted.

“The state and Jury are sorry for the wrongful carriage of judgment during your first trial. You are hereby pronounced not guilty and free to live your live as you please.”  The Jury declared.

Donald was freed. Ovations and accolades were poured on him from far and near.

He completed his education at Cambridge, while Dianna was practicing as a surgeon. They got married on the lover’s day of St. Valentine, and settled down in England, living in a country home with plentiful English red roses.

1. Traditional- arranged by Linda Ronstadt
© 1977 Normal Music (BMI).

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