Around this time every year, I paint my toes red. Not for Valentine’s Day (at least not directly) but in honor of my old college friend, Ashley. So that I can remind myself of the way she approached everybody with open arms–literally–admininstering hugs liberally. The way her eyes sparkled with sincerity. The way her rhythm of speech drew you in. The way she made everybody feel like they were her best friend. That’s what love is all about.
Candy and roses and heart-shaped jewelry are sweet. But if you really love someone, show it in your eyes, your smile, and your actions.
So, when I look down at my shiny red painted toes, I think of Ashley. Her fiancé, Joey, told me that she had just painted hers for Valentine’s Day. He shared this fact with everybody who paid their respects that blustery February day.
And whenever I see a stained glass window and the sun is filtering through as bright as it was in that Doylestown church 15 years ago, I think of Ashley. And I remember the little symbol on her license that made it possible for for her heart to go on beating.