Mark Johnson
3 min readApr 8, 2021

Mona ran after the mail truck as it headed out from her block with a roar. It was at this time every year that she sent out her Valentine’s Day card to the one and the only man whom she felt hadn’t let her down.

She ran as fast as her long and lean 18-year-old legs could take her, looking like a stallion galloping in the wind as her raven-colored hair bounced against her back and fluttered in the wind. Somehow this year’s message meant more to Mona spending more time on this year’s creation than in previous years.

She had turned 18 two months previous. Life was treating her as best it could. She began falling in with a crowd leading her pure heart in a direction that her family had warned her. She was sticking with the tradition she had been doing since nine.

Hoping to show a more in-depth usage of her words and the trials she was facing. With the hope of some reply or sign to help her through those tough times. She wouldn’t say she was desperate, but in the world, she was living in, this made a lot of sense.

She began to gain on the mail truck running the distance of the block she lived determined the letter tightly gripped in her right hand would be delivered. Her zip-up sweatshirt was falling off her narrow shoulders, but she kept running.

She remembered the first letter she had written a Valentine’s day card with her grandma’s help, who had shown her a lot growing up, with this being one of the things she kept up with till the very day of her death.

Her grandma’s passing was a severe blow to her as her relationship with her mother was a bit rocky and, at times, unbearable. She’d run to her grandma and tell everything that was going on only to hear back from her grandma that she had to be patient with Rosita, which was the name of Mona’s mother. She would say,

“Rosita loves you, Mona, but sometimes she doesn’t know how to show it.”

Mona would look at her in disbelief, but her grandmother would tell her she’s learning to be a mother. Maybe someday, when you have kids, you’ll understand how tough it is, but for now, be patient, and if you can listen to your mom, she has your best interest in mind. That is how she’d always end their talks, and Mona would listen to her grandma, and for a time, she’d do right by her till the following argument with her mother.

Without her around, the only thing she had left was this annual correspondence that through the years became more and more meaningful to Mona as she started dating boys and hoping they’d be like the men in the romance novels she’d read. Yet they wouldn’t, which again made the need for the continued correspondence was so vital to her.

Her grandmother was a huge fan of Elvis. And as much as she passed down her wisdom about life and dealing with the rough times. Mona, her daughter Rosita all shared the love for Elvis, from his music to his films and his masculine allure. In a way, this is how Mona learned what she wanted in a man as Elvis always made her feel special, like no one had ever made her feel.

She collected his memorabilia, books, anything. Elvis became her obsession. Just like her grandmother, who’d send Elvis a card on Valentine’s day to tell him how much she loved and adored him in hopes she’d get a message or a sign back, he was looking over her.

Mona finally caught up with the mail truck as it stopped for its next block of deliveries. Out of breath, Mona handed the red envelope to the mailwoman. Its content had continued a tradition that meant so much to her and the women that came before.



Mark Johnson

Mark Johnson is a University of Chico graduate, a lover of the creative arts, avid photographer, with an undying entrepreneurial spirit.