OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD!!
Reader! Sweet reader! I have been looking EVERYWHERE for this short story!
I FINALLY FOUND IT!! It’s been missing since 2007! Here it is in all it’s wonderful glory!! I wrote this on 19 November 2007. One year later, 21 November 2008, I would find my Isaac again.
She looked up from the neglected grape vines tangled on the ground, to return the pining stare of a boy buried in the eyes of the man now before her. There he stood as real as the smell from the summer’s leaves.
Too long she had dreamed of this, when he would stand at her side once more. She had spent the long winter realizing she had loved him all this time, which had passed too quickly. Over the years, they each had surrendered to their own loveless passions, broke several hearts, rediscovered new lovers, and broke countless more hearts.
Together, they suffered through Spanish classes and finals exams and then, suddenly, graduation. The following summer had come and gone like every summer before. It was the Autumn that had changed. September had come without him. There were no more classes to bring them together like every September before. It was then that she felt the first pinch of suffering. An overwhelming lust to see his eyes once more, devoured her.
A deep longing seeded itself in her breast and throughout that long, bitter winter she ached to hear his voice again. By the first dew of spring, her lust ran deep with pain as thoughts of him consumed her. She would never forget the day a rusty old Ford pulled up the drive way, kicking up a sea of dust behind it. Her heart was in her throat as the Ford drew nearer. She knew it was him.
The truck stopped and out stepped a man she had never seen before, enveloped around the eyes of a boy she had never forgotten. She ran to the truck and, before she realized what she had done, she threw her arms around his neck, her legs she wrapped around his waist. That June, they relived every moment lost to the winter.
They spent hours digging in the black soil and planting rose-less bushes in the bed. They had unearthed the vines her uncle had planted there decades ago. As they unearthed the forgotten vines, a storm moved in. The clouds were like gods casting a shadow on the earth. The urge was irresistible. Both laid down their trowels and stood, feet apart, facing the south to welcome the winds. Together, they stood united while the winds encircled them.
They spent the remaining summer, making love beneath the maple trees. As quickly as a perfect dream vanishes with consciousness, he vanished that September for college. She was left with a fierce emptiness and his promise that he would return. Years passed and she waited.
She waited while burying herself in the eyes of another and succumbing to a new love. She waited while her thoughts carried her back to that summer, while she stood, in white, before a priest and committed her life, love, and body to a man she would forever love. It wasn’t long before she awoke to the hungry cries of a newborn girl, all the while waiting for her summer love.
The nightly feedings became sleepless nights as her thoughts wandered back to a lover lost. She waited and soon she was making cupcakes for her daughter’s school parties. With her two-year-old son wrapped around her leg, her mind was forever on rose-less thorns and thunderstorms. The loved fabric kittens and stuffed bears were soon forgotten for boys and dresses. That night she sat at the kitchen table awaiting her daughter’s return from her first dance. The snores of her husband and son were drowned out by the rains that pelted the windows and the lamenting winds.
She closed her eyes and saw a lover not forgotten. The sound of a car drove up and a door slammed shut. She had fallen asleep again while waiting. This must have been the hundredth dance she had stayed up for waiting. Her sixteen-year-old daughter walked in. She had been crying and her hair was no longer twisted and curled into the coil she had styled for the prom.
As her daughter cried on her shoulder about boys and their endless insensitivity, she thought back to a boy she once loved beneath a maple tree. There, she sat with Pomp and Circumstance leading her daughter down the aisle in a black gown. After the class had seated, a man stood at the pulpit and started a droning speech about beginnings and endings, accomplishments and failures. With the early summer air drifting into the gymnasium, her thoughts were forced back to the memories of summer maple trees.
She had ordered the flowers and hired the caterer to help her daughter cope with the added stress. Everything was in place. She had already lit the candle and awaited her daughter’s cue as the first chords of The Wedding March began. Everyone rose as the March ascended in modulation and her daughter entered the auditorium. Her husband’s arm was linked with their daughter’s as tears filled her eyes. She was reminded of another promise that day. She released a sigh . . . and waited.
Not a year later, she looked down into the clear eyes of her daughter’s baby girl. She kissed the head of the sleeping babe nestled in her daughter’s arms, then settled into the chair by the bed. Her husband kissed their daughter’s head as she closed her eyes and allowed her mind to drift away in memory. Long ago and once, she dreamed of sharing this day with a love she would not soon forget.
She watched as her son now walked down the aisle in his black gown. He had been accepted into the ROTC program and would be leaving in a few weeks. Once more, an old man no one really knew, stood up to talk about beginnings and endings, accomplishments and failures. Once more, she closed her eyes as her thoughts filled with memories of summer maple trees.
Tears filled her eyes as she kissed her son on the cheek. Her husband’s arms wrapped around her as they watched their son board the plane to Iraq. Her daughter and son-in-law stood by as they all waved, their little granddaughter sleeping peacefully in the stroller. Tears filled their eyes once again as the soldier handed her a folded American flag. Her heart ached with its new pain, as she looked for comfort from her husband who shared the same tears. With her head laying on her husband’s shoulder and her hand clenched in his, her mind was filled with a face who she had always remembered for strength.
The years passed quickly now. She looked out into the horizon where the ocean met the sky. The storm moved in and filled the horizon with storm clouds amid the Hawaiian sunset. She was lost in thought of a summer storm long ago. Suddenly, a firm hand fell onto her shoulders and awakened her from drifting thoughts. Her husband lightly kissed the nape of her neck, forcing her to grin. For fifty years she had loved this man. For fifty years she had shared her life, her body, and bed with this man. Little had she known that in less than a year she would be dressed in black once more, her eyes filled with tears.
She clutched the golden circle tightly in her hand. She watched as her husband was lowered into the earth. Thoughts of the years flooded her mind. Even then, through all the hurt, a face shone bright and clear. She sighed through her tears and lifted her eyes to the cloudless sky as she thought to herself, “I love him still. I do. I’m glad I never had to bury him. That’s one death I couldn’t live through.” The winter was growing near once more. Her thoughts often drifted to summer storms and rose-less thorns, tangled vines and maple trees.
She waited by the phone often, ever hoping. She felt the light inside her fade as she remembered her body next to his under the summer maple trees. It was time to go now. She stood from her rocking chair and slowly walked up the stairs. She spent many hours recalling aged memories of summers gone and sleepless nights, broken hearts and vows now spent. A son she should have had. The spouse she always had. The love she never had. The years had passed too quickly. After turning out the light she laid upon her bed. She closed her eyes and quickly fell asleep. She never forgot the day a rusty old Ford pulled up the drive way, and kicked up a sea of dust behind it.