Valentine’s Baby (Lottery Number 004) by Jenna Gomes

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For one blissful second, as Eddie’s soles lost contact with the glassy ice of the pond, he
believed that dying might be like this.

But as his head smacked the ice and his sister’s sobs overcame the dull reverberation of
impact in his skull, he had to admit that it wouldn’t be this easy.

Kathy leaned over him, snot and angry tears threatening to drip from her reddened chin
onto his face.

“Get… up!” She screamed.

Kathy’s mittened hands grasped furiously at his coat, all eighty pounds of her trying to drag
him to his feet without success.

“Futility,” he muttered through purple lips, remembering the word emerging like fire from
his mother’s lungs as she argued with Alexander Pirnie through the television set.

Kathy was banging on his chest now, and he let her. He felt the weight of the war clenched
up in her small fists.

Eddie wished he could just lie on the pond and wait for sleep to come. That way, they
wouldn’t have to bother shipping his body back from Nam in a few months.

“If you don’t learn how to walk on the ice, you won’t be able to cross the lake!” Kathy
cried, her voice strangled by the frozen air that gripped her lungs.

Eddie laughed to himself, not because Kathy believed he could shuffle across Lake
Champlain to Montreal, but because of something his mother used to say:

“You’re my little Valentine’s baby, Eddie. What a lucky day to be born.”


Jenna Gomes’s home is in the undergrad classroom, where she attempts to inspire social change all while teaching freshmen and sophomore composition. When she’s not teaching, she’s writing. It’s her greatest belief that the best stories come from the most forbidden fantasies, so keep daydreaming. You can find her on Twitter at @OhOhThunderRoad as well as @MWFStories for a taste of her microfiction.

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