I paused in the room for a moment, taking in the scene. It was quiet, almost unearthly. The windows were open on the west wall, and the sun was streaming in, casting a warm glow in the sanctuary. The tall stone pillars that lined the wall giving the church an old feeling.
I was tired… more tired than I had been in a long time. I didn’t really know why I had come, I had proved my inadequacy well enough in the past years… yet I kept coming back…
Walking to the front of the sanctuary, I sat down on the well worn pew. My thoughts swirled, wondering when… and how… To much had happened. Unable to keep the emotions in check, tears began to roll down my cheeks, and I began to remember….
(thus the story begins… this story is alive, anyone can contribute. post your additions in the comments, and lets see where the adventure takes us.)
It had been nearly a year since she died and the past days and weeks and months were spent tying up all the loose ends. Her death had not only physically drained me, but it had financially drained me as well. I had been searching for another job furiously, but in those months after I was let go, I was too busy trying not to fall apart to look for a job. Cancer had directly claimed her life and it was starting to indirectly claim mine.
As I sat, the tears began to come faster and heavier. I haven’t cried like this since that day when I lost my one and only true love, the last kindred spirit I will ever find in this world.
I felt a hand gently tap me on my shoulder. I looked up and tried to focus but all I saw was a blurred figure. My veil of tears shrouded the identity of that hand but at that point it didn’t matter. I wrapped my arms around the figure and just…let go. I couldn’t keep any of my burdens anymore, I just couldn’t.
With the first words, “It is ok my Son,” I found out who I held…
was the woman I loved. She was there, standing in front of me. And as my lips uttered her name, a puzzled look came over her countenance. And as the tears rolled down my burning cheeks, I realized it was only my imagination. I pulled away, disgusted by this wizardry. No, she was gone. Stage four, metastatic ovarian cancer. There was no stage five. If only…
I could have done something different. I sat for a moment, letting my thought drift back to when we had first met….
It was the eve of my 23rd brithday, December 12th. I was walking with some friends in downtown Boston, and we were cavorting and generally carrying on like a bunch of idiots. We had stopped in a small dive of a resturaunt to eat. She waited on us that evening, and we gave her so much trouble that I felt obligated to come back a week later and apologize.
My apology went something like this,
Me: “Hi. Look I feel bad for razzing you last week, I was wondering if I could take you out for dinner or to a club or something to make up for it.”
Her: “Who are you again?”
Evidently she found me cute, or something, because she handed me her phone number and went back to work. Who knew that we would be walking down the aisle one year later.
We made plans for dinner at Pavolino’s that next weekend. It was merely a dinner date to me but I soon fell in love with her sweet smile and her dark eyes. The talk lingered around the weather for a bit but soon moved to our families. Her eyes filled with misty tears as she stammered out the fact that her mother had passed away four months ago. I suppose I probed a little too much about her mother’s death because leaned back and informed me that the night had been lovely, the food quite tasty, but she was a working woman and needed to get her beauty rest.
I stifled the urge to comment and simply smiled. We parted ways and as I walked along the streets of Boston that night, meandering my way to my condo, her smile haunted my mind.
And of course, as love often does, it grows and overwhelms, taking every thought with it, every deed because of it, every tear magnifying it. And as weddings often do, they come and go, the ebb and flow of life spilling into pretty pictures on the mantle. But then life changes and becomes not what you want, tragedy becomes a by word and God, He is just a password to a life less rocky. Cancer so small eating away at love, at vitality, at sanity.
The air was chilled, the streaks of tears long dried on my face. I stared sightless ahead. The priest’s watch went unnoticed while I tried to imagine God and my place in Him. I tried to imagine justice and death’s part in it. I tried to imagine why God really thought this was “for my good”. The only way I could walk away was to…
. . . just shut everything out. To revert to the cold and heartless person I once was – back into my shell of feeling nothing, caring about nothing and no one. Back to the way I was before I met her and before she brought me into the Light.
But, I wouldn’t let myself go back to that life. Those feelings. She had told me I was a better person because I allowed the Light in. I allowed it to saturate every corner of my dark soul where the demons of fear and doubt dwelled.
I can feel myself being pulled in that direction once more, yet I struggle with every aspect of it. I don’t want to go back now. . .
… now that I have this God in my life. Climbing from the pew was the hardest step I had to take. Accepting was easy. Walking was rough. Each step away from the sanctuary grew heavy. Yet I knew I had to keep walking. I was no good if I didn’t. I had to take each step. Once, she’d taught me. Maybe I had grown lazy. Maybe God wanted to be my teacher. Pushing open the door, the vacuum suction of the separation sealing that part of my life that grew with her. I pulled up the collar of my coat, took a deep breath. Curious eyes watched me as I looked around, looked back. Though I stood still, the church seemed to grow smaller, my thoughts being pulled away from me. I walked briskly, from need rather than want, looking back on my thoughts as through a rearview mirror, grow smaller. I….