By Delbert H. RhodesMany are the years since first he saw her. He recalls the day well: sunny with a mild breeze sweetly kissing the treetops. The orchards were fresh with the scent of apples and the tree limbs hung lowly from the weight they bore. Suddenly a most beautiful vision flirted with his eyes, the woman was lovely and he immediately hungered for her. She stood a few yards away but (that moment) yards might have been miles; vast and arduous would have been the traverse; a small thing to ask of love, and he loved her.Yes, he loved her, and though her voice remained absent from him, all she represented ravaged him. As would the fetus clinging to its caring, protecting and loving mother, the woman swelled inside him.
The years too are now tired, yet the man is bliss with his feelings, passionately kissed by his thoughts, still, taunted by his mind. Maria is her name. No, during his youth he never heard it, none ever told it to him, her (true) name, and never did he ask.
During his childhood, and since, he has sweetly held a loving relationship with the Mother, the Virgin Mother. Many were the times he sat in Church and watched her. A life in stone but special to him; she fascinated the boy. Hers was the face of an Angel, and young though he was, he loved her.
This love was of a different type and though special it was not his love for Maria. The similarities rested only in namesake and sweetness. The Mother is Celestial, his love for her is holy. Maria lives here, his love for her is human.
Now here today he lies dying: and as the unknown claims his life, surrounding him is her living memory.
Maria, the woman he has never held; the woman he has never kissed.
Yes, the pangs of love are mysterious, yet, none more mysterious than she. Many are the years since his speech left him; still, without a living voice he retraces his youth, and the aching days and nights for her.
(Standing beside the old man’s bed, silently, Maria, too, recalls the days. Oh…lovely were the days…)
As his beautiful blue eyes grow dim tears brighten hers. She knew of this man’s great love for her, and felt the sweet joy of him (all) around her-all over her. Yet would never surrender to him. Never once did she acknowledge his feelings.
Then, was another day and time; and she was a different woman; perhaps, too self-involved, or, blinded; or, could it have been a girlish foolishness, or, female pride? Whatever the answers, no matter the reasons: “now” she is here and with him. Together the two share his final moments; together and at last, they are one.
(From a distant radio, a most wonderful song)
Slowly and while smiling, the old man closes his eyes. Maria’s lovely hand against his heart, he leaves this life. Now, and without him and inside the “Ave Maria,” tenderly, she cries.
Copyright 2012 Delbert H. Rhodes