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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/2188326
Rated: E · Fiction · Romance/Love · #2188326
The Heart Never Forgets...
The vintage Buick sedan slowly pulled over against the curb, eased to a stop and sat there idling, its exhaust like an over-zealous smoker steadily puffing out a thin trail of smoke that swirled around briefly before quickly disappearing in the electric morning air. As Charlie got out and quickly closed the door, an anxious breath of warm air tentatively followed him out before immediately being brushed aside by the unforgiving arctic cold that wrapped itself around him and gripped him like a frozen fist...

The winter sun was already high in the sapphire-blue sky, and its intense reflection off the freshly-fallen snow briefly blinded him, reminding Charlie that he had left his sunglasses beside the cash register back at the diner. "Chalk up another one for old age," he wryly thought, sharply raising a gloved hand as though saluting the sun's brilliance, shading his eyes until his vision slowly adjusted to the glare...

His short journey took him directly up a fairly steep hillside for about 70 yards; it would be slow going. That was okay with Charlie, it would give him time to think...and thinking seemed to be what he was best at these days. The Bible says that in Heaven, we are neither married nor given in marriage, yet we retain the relationships with loved ones we forged here on earth. Like most folks, it deeply vexed Charlie's finite mind when he tried to wrap it around such Heavenly theology...especially now that he had remarried later in life. Perhaps when he took possession of the mansion that was being prepared for him, they could all live side-by-side on the same cul-de-sac. He turned it every which way, just trying to grasp the very edge of understanding before reminding himself, again: without faith, it is impossible to please God...

After stopping several times to catch his breath, he finally stood at the familiar spot beneath the barren cottonwood tree and looked down for a few minutes, lost in thought, before leaning over and carefully brushing away the soft snow that jealously clung to the stone before placing the bright yellow flowers against it. A sharp breeze immediately found its way beneath the flowers and quickly leaned one forward as though looking up at him in recognition and gently chiding him for coming back here...then slowly laying back down in eternal slumber as the wind died away. Daisies. It had always puzzled him that they were her favorites when most women adored roses. But she said they always reminded her of a crowd of happy, smiling faces...and that was reason enough to faithfully bring them home to her for 30 years of a rock-solid marriage...and for the hard years afterward to this very place...

Her shadow, whether real or imagined, always seemed to be there watching over him, just at the corner of his vision. Quickly turning his head did no good as he could never see her, but he felt her presence, nonetheless, and it brought him a measure of comfort...until that fateful Sunday two years ago when Sarah suddenly appeared in the church choir, looking directly at him as she pointedly sang 'Amazing Grace'...and the shadow graciously disappeared...

As he stood there, the thought that God had mercifully sent two angels into one man's lifetime both humbled and amazed him. The first one to build a good life with from his youth to the very cusp of old age...and the last to journey with as they finished the race well together. He would not be back here again, so this would be his final goodbye. His last handful of softly-clutched yellow flowers. They were moving down to Texas tomorrow to be near his children...and his grandkids. With Sarah lovingly at his side, he felt as though he could do that now without feeling like he was moving into their hip pocket and becoming a dearly loved inconvenience...

Brushing away the hot wetness from his cheeks, Charlie turned and began his trek back down the hill as twin furrows of deep gratefulness followed close behind as he slowly plowed his way through the ankle-deep snow. The thought of Sarah patiently waiting for him in the welcoming warmth of the car quickened his step, for after a long and barren season...love had returned to the fallow ground of his heart. And at its unexpected blossoming, he had joyfully opened it up and unreservedly given his heart to Sarah. And yet...he carried deep within him the poignant awareness that a part of it would always remain, throughout the seasons, on a lonely hillside beneath the shade of a cottonwood tree that God had knowingly planted on some unremembered day during a long-ago Spring...softly sighing among the faded yellow flowers of the last bouquet...



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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/2188326