Finding the Right Words

Finding the Right Words

In the passenger seat of his mom’s SUV, Austin Erickson sits silently, clutching his wallet, watching as his subdivision slides by.


“So Publix?” asks his mom, turning onto the highway. “Target?”


Austin, who is 11, doesn’t look at her. “The Hallmark store,” he says. “This has to be special.”


Normally, Austin hates going to the Hallmark store, waiting for his mom and older sisters to sift through Vera Bradley bags while surrounded by all the candles that are supposed to smell like rain.


Normally, Valentine’s Day isn’t a big deal to the sixth-grader who loves Star Wars and Batman and Minecraft.


“But now that I’m in a relationship it seems more important,” he says Tuesday afternoon.


“I want to impress Sarah.”