Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Life's a Dream - 4

It had been a clear, beautiful spring day just two weeks before.  It was our anniversary.  In the past, I probably would have taken her to some place fancy, somehow would’ve taken her out on the town.  But as old as we were it seemed superfluous.  Instead, I had just gotten her some flowers and we went for a little, very slow walk in a park near our house.  When we reached our first bench we sat down to rest.  And there we were, just the two of us, holding hands, she was grasping the stems of the flowers I had gotten her tightly in one hand, squeezing mine firmly with her other old withered hand.
It was still morning, but it was already starting to warm up, and the sky was changing from that dark shaded blue of morning to the lighter blue of day.  The trees were blooming and we caught wafts of their pungent odors with every gust and breath of wind.  I looked at my aged wife, and saw the soft wisps of white on her head slowly dancing in the calm wind.  Her long tan wrinkles looked like the lines of a map, trying to describe a hard life, a good life.  I couldn’t help but smile as I looked into those oaken brown eyes.
She looked back at me quizzically at first.  In our younger years, she probably would have asked me what I was thinking about right at that moment.  But now her quizzical look too changed into a smile.  And there we were lost in a moment of love, each understanding the other, and each well…
In love.
As we stared into those deep memory pools a young couple walked past us, laughing gaily, and carefree.  As they passed my old ears heard something I’ll never forget. 
“Look at how cute that old couple is!  They’re still in love!”  And then the other leaned over and barely in a whisper,
“I want to look like that when we get old.”
I sat as though I had been struck in a boxing match.  Look like us?  Why?  We had very little, I felt like life had just ran right by us, and yet the couple wanted to be like us?  And then I remembered, those sleepless nights spent holding our children.  Those long anxious talks we had together as we did our best to plan for the future, those moments of pleasure, and pain, health and sickness that we shared together.  And I looked back at my aged wife, and saw that we had actually lived life.  We had lived it together.  We had never had glory, or riches, or fame, and yet somehow we had a life well-lived.  And as I looked into those oaken eyes, I knew why; and as I held that weak, withered, outstretched hand, I remembered.  And a smile rose to both of our lips, one of happiness,

And gratitude.

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