The sky was an expanse of blue that defied the word blue. A blue of everlasting depth and exhilarating warmth of the soul. The few clouds only added to the magnificence and gave height to the heavens. Standing at the overlook, they silently watched the river below with no expectations, just allowing the restfulness of its flow to carry away the last vestments of trepidation. The scenic splendor echoed the joy of their hearts. He had never felt this way before. As he contemplated words of ode for the treasure that now stood once again beside him, a hawk moved on the air currents. His thoughts stopped, he watched; he just followed the bird’s movement as it searched for something his human eyes could never see.
‘Could never see,’ how prophetic. What had he missed, not seen? His mind was suddenly filled with a single question; the last piece of the puzzle that had lingered in the recesses of his heart. It had to be addressed and chance losing her, or fear losing her by not asking.
Placing his arm around her waist, lowering his head to emphasize his seriousness, “Why did you come back into my life?”
“Curiosity…mixed with needing to touch my past.”
“Thank you for being honest. Why did you ever let me be part of your past? Our first time together, our trip…a complete failure on my part. You told me that you did not enjoy the experience, nor the next. But there were more ‘nexts’, why?”
“I needed someone, and I am not ashamed to admit it. You were that someone for as long as there was no one else. I’m truly sorry.” She laid her head on his shoulder.
As soft and needing as he could invoke in words, respecting her late husband’s memory, “What about now? Are you…looking again?”
“I deserve that. At first…before I saw you. Then…I don’t know how to explain what happened…please don’t judge me for ‘crossing mountains’.” She lifted her head and looked into his eyes, calling out to him.
When Fallen Angels Fly, Patty Loveless; he wondered if she knew he had ‘worn out’ that CD. “Yeah, we’ve both been ‘wrong and right’; we’ve both have loved someone else.” Her head once more against his shoulder, he knew their relationship had grown stronger. She was comfortable, secure. It was a sense of security being with him; he being a part of her life.
She said nothing for a while, just resting her head on his shoulder, then “It was selfish of me to think about using you. That was my plan. Then, I saw you a couple of weeks before I spoke to you; my insides took a jolt I never expected to feel. It was as if I had somehow crossed back in time. The worst part was realizing seeing you made me happy. How could I do that to my husband’s memory? Sure he wanted me to find someone new, to carry on with life, but words are so much easier than reality. I was ashamed that my heart fluttered, and I was ashamed that all these years I had thought I had no feelings for you. Please, don’t say anything…not yet. You told me how much you pined for me, how much you ached at the thought of never seeing me again. Me, I convinced myself that I never wanted to see you again; I found true love, so it was easy to do that. What do we do now?”
“I’m not in competition with his memory, can’t be.”
“I know. I don’t want you to be. I want us to have a chance, no matter how complicated and confusing this whole thing is. I know you love me. I saw it in your eyes that very first moment years ago when you held your silence, even if you tried to keep it a secret. I saw it when we were together, but I convinced myself to disregard it. I saw it again last month when you turned to look at me in the coffee place…I just need to find a way to show you how much I love you…I’m not sure you want me to, or can trust me.”
“You just said you loved me. Tell me again.”
“I love you;” sealed with a kiss. “Hold me.”
He did, and when his arms wrapped around her she asked him to hold her tighter. For what seemed like an eternity she was content to press against him. Then she buried her face in his chest and started to cry. They were personal tears and he knew the reason, he felt like the lowest person on earth. But he held her as tight as he could. When she stopped crying she looked up at him and placed her fingers over his lips, “For two people who have traveled life’s journey, we still have a lot to learn about love, don’t we?”
“Yes. But the important thing is that we have always loved each other. Just, our lives had to take different roads, different journeys. What matters is we have found each other again. Do you ‘want’ me?”
“Yes, I ‘want’ you. Let’s give ourselves the chance to travel together. You told me the difference between need and want; your way of telling me how it had to be between us…not half way, not just for today, but for always. It was not about giving my body to you again, that would simply be sex. It was wanting to give you ‘me.’ Me the person, because I get you in return.” She kissed him as if it was the first time they had ever kissed and he felt the desire; the doors opening to her heart, no longer guarded, no longer afraid to accept his entry. As their lips parted she asked “What about you?”
He answered by taking her deeper in his arms and kissing her…letting the world revolve in his love for her.
(Opening One’s Eyes, is a work of fiction adapted from Through a Stranger’s Eyes, Copyright 2005, Steven S. Walsky, all rights reserved.)