Tuesday, March 18, 2008

'The Man' Tales - An Ending and a Beginning

This time around I wanted to make sure I did not fall for another smooth-talking/dirty dancing guy who came my way. One of the staff talked me into volunteering for a dinner theater company and getting involved with the play she was directing. I took on the job of head of stage decoration and spent all my spare time painting and hunting up furniture for the set. In my earlier years I had studied interior decorating and I threw myself into this project with much joy and abandonment – eager to let my creativity flow. I was in the middle of this when I was informed of the death of a close friend’s daughter who had died in her sleep.

My friend fell apart and it was the saddest funeral I have ever attended. Danielle was in her late 20’s and had always had medical problems. The church was packed and my brother and I slid into one of the last seats remaining. We had stopped at the beautiful white casket and I had pressed my hand against Danielle’s arm as I bent over and whispered, “Oh Danny”. As the ceremony progressed, her sleeping visage haunted me and I tried to wipe away the feel of her rigid body from my hand. Seeing my friend staggering down the aisle as she was supported by her husband and son was almost too much to bear.

We followed the white hearse out to the gravesite and I watched my friend closely, aware that she had slipped past reality and into a place where her daughter still lived. However, it was the silver balloons that haunted me the most. The three remaining members of their little family stood on a little knoll after the ceremony and each of them released a balloon into the brilliant blue sky of an October afternoon. Somehow I knew that my friend had chosen the balloons to symbolize their hearts, and I watched as they lifted into the sky to join Danny somewhere beyond the blue. Not only did those three balloons mark the end of my friend’s life with her lovely daughter, but they also became a turning point for me as well.

Danny loved roses more than any other flower. Her family had chosen a beautiful white marble casket with a lid that was a carved white rose, so she would lay underneath her favorite flower forever. When I returned to the stage I was creating, I stenciled roses across the top of the set - for Danny. Some of the roses were a little blurry as my tears mixed with the paint – but I didn’t care. I was the only one who knew what they meant, but they looked stunning against the pale green walls of the set. Comments came out later that proclaimed it one of the most beautiful sets the dinner theater had ever seen.

On the other side of the country, D struggled with Mono. Days and weeks went by when he couldn’t make it to class or even to the grocery store to get some food. By mid-November he knew he could never catch up with everything he had missed and he applied to have his year refunded. I was happy he had taken these steps, but inwardly I groaned that another year would be added to the long wait ahead of us.

D saw it another way. Sick and beyond tired, he took a look at his life plan and made some changes. “I’ve decided I’m going to pack up everything and move out west.”

“What do you mean by ‘out west’?”

“Well – if you’ll have me – I was hoping to move out west - and in with you.”

In the silence that followed we listened to the sound of buzzing wires as they stretched the 4000kms between us. We listened to the silence – each of us hardly breathing. D held his breath wondering if he had made a mistake. I held my breath, too stunned to do anything else.

“Will you have me?” he whispered.

I laughed and squealed and I think I said ‘of course’. He packed his few belongings and sent them on ahead by bus. Then he went and said good-bye to his family. His father gave him a letter and asked that he read it once he got on his way. He had chosen the joy of traveling across Canada by train as a special treat and he used his student status to get a cheaper rate. Once all the good-byes were said, he went and spent a night in a hotel in Ottawa as he waited for his train. He set his alarm clock and fell asleep.

On the same day that D woke to catch his train, 4000 kms away, Cid arrived to take me out for a drive in the country. We spent the day hiking alongside the river, holding hands when we could or walking arm in arm when the trail was even wider. We talked of the funeral and I asked Cid if he would come down for the opening night of the play. We laughed and kissed as we always did, and had a late supper sitting at a wooden table nestled in a group of trees. With our picnic spread out before us, Cid surprised me with two ceramic goblets and a bottle of wine. When the day gave way to the oncoming night, we wrapped ourselves in a blanket and watched the stars come out. In the silence that so often settled on us as it does with great friends, I thought of D catching the train and setting his sights for the west. A soft wind tickled the leaves around us and brought to us the sound of the river as it tumbled over its rocky bottom. Beside me, Cid cleared his throat.

“Will you marry me?” he asked.

34 comments:

Thalia's Child said...

Oh my goodness!

travelling, but not in love said...

OK. The people around me at the airport are wondering why I'm sniffling and trying not to cry here. You're quite cruel doing that to me, you know!

This is such a mixed post, so beautiful, sad, romantic, lovely, and ultimately it's the cliff hanger to end all cliff hangers.

Aims, how on earth do you choose?

Sweet Irene said...

To hell with Cid, he's been awkwardly hanging around you all this time not making up his mind about anything. he is a little bit late now!

Isn't he, Aims?

I Beatrice said...

Oh no, this is too much! I had made up my mind that Cid must be Gay anyway....

Do not leave us too long with this particular uncertainty!

dND said...

Oh aims, what a dilemma, and yet another cliff hanger for us.

You have heard the saying that men are like London buses. none for ages and then they all arrive at once!

Your description of the funeral and the painting of the roses is so touching.

I like all the others will be watching all day for the 'reader' to update and tell us that there might be the next instalment to put us out of our misery of wondering, what happens next.

Canadian flake said...

ohhhhhhhhhh myyyyyyyyyyyy good god...holy cowwwwwwww....

pleaseeeeeeee don't keep us hanging too long...

can't WAIT to read what happened next.

Maggie May said...

I am beginning to pick things up a bit better now, having gone through lots of the Truth posts. Fascinating how its all unfurling! Still have a way to go & my eyes are on stalks some eveinngs!

softinthehead said...

OMG - it never rains but it pours, I agree with Irene and very succinctly put. He had his chance and he blew it....right??

softinthehead said...

My second thought on reading this latest cliffhanger, is that I imagine you giggling away as you eek out the pain and pleasure for us!! Do you?

Stinking Billy said...

I've said it before, aims, and I'll say it again. Riveting! I defy anybody to nod off while reading you.

Anonymous said...

What?!?!?!
I'm a little confused. I went back and read, I thought, all your posts and took them to be truth, and then someone in the comment section said that they were beginning to piece it together by going back and reading all the "truths". Rats, now I have to start over. But like everyone else, please, please, please do NOT leave us hanging very long on this one. :) Margie

lisa marie said...

Timing. Such bad timing.

Casdok said...

Oooeeerr!!

The Rotten Correspondent said...

I've been quietly keeping up with the story recently. I guess it's just as well that I'm back to commenting since I'd have a lot of trouble keeping quiet here.

Aims! Or should we call you The Cliffhanger Queen?

John-Michael said...

YOU are a WICKED, wicked child! Creating an Addict simply must be against some kind of law ... somewhere. And I am reporting you! I mean it! You are bad, bad, bad!

OK (chill-pill do your magic!), Yesterday (very early) would have been a real good time to get on with it. Now is late. Later is unacceptable.

John-Michael said...

I have linked you on my blog as:
(A True Journey to "True Love")

('cause I want to share the pain) [grin]

dawn said...

Oh, how painful in almost every way. Why does the timing have to be such. I suspect through life there are some that don't hit the timing at the wrong time, but wait too long. There were times I was sure someone was totally interested, and they didn't step forward, and one that came forward and he wasn't the right one and his heart was broken. Oh, it is such a mess when the timing is wrong.

CrazyCath said...

Like everyone else said....

Oh my....

Can't wait.

Joy T. said...

"His father gave him a letter and asked that he read it once he got on his way." A mystery letter. I love mysteries :o)

laurie said...

hmmm what's in that letter?

Potty Mummy said...

What? I mean, WHAT?

Breezy said...

Oh Aims! You let us forget Cid on purpose and now I have to bring him back into the calculations again. What a story this is proving to be. You should be writing for a soap with all these cliffehangers

aims said...

To all my faithful readers .....

I'm not deliberately trying to throw in cliffhangers - honestly! and no - I don't mind when you say that :0)

It is just how these things happened. I would never in a million years have thought Cid would ask me to marry him on the day that D got on the train to start a new life with me. Never!

And for Margie who doesn't have a blog and has come in part way through the story - this is a true story. This is and has been my life. It is all true. Sorry to have confused you but I think I confused some people too when I used some excerpts from the book I am writing to tell the tale. It was just easier to do.

CrazyCath said...

Aims - thanks for stopping by again. If you saw a photo of me there would be NO doubt who my dad is.... I don't have a beard though. Shaved it off. LOL

Living the Dream said...

I;m speechless and holding my breath

A Mother's Place is in the Wrong said...

I can't stand it Aims, but will have to I guess. Clever girl! M :)

Mean Mom said...

What an unusual site! The description of the funeral was sad and very beautiful. I won't be satisfied until I have read everything, from the beginning, however. I may have to stay up all night. Love those teddy bears.

Canadian flake said...

wanted to pop in and thank you so much for the kind and thoughtful words of support on my blog. It meant so much to me and you really lifted my spirits.

Thanks again.

MZUNGU CHICK said...

Aims - I soooo can't believe you're keeping us hanging here not knowing which one you choose !!
I of course, still have my money on Cid the honey, but I'm getting awfully twitchy.
- Perhaps an easter present for us .... let us know, just one word will do it...;-)
Am soooo excited .. He He x

Shrinky said...

Oh sweetie,

My heart goes out to you. What powerful writing, you truly have a gift.

(Now you've gone and sent me blubbing, darn it!)

Lane said...

Cid? Cid? Now... after all this time? I'd written him off as a life long friend, no more.

Your poor, poor friend (Danielle's mum). What an awful thing to have to go through. Just awful.

John-Michael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Popkins said...

What I would do, P, is have the funeral for Danielle on one page....and the Cid episode on another. But that's just me...but I reckon death and love walk hand in hand anyhow. The funeral of anyone, let alone, a youngster, can be so tragic. But you told it beautifully as always....and you and Cid under the stars with D on his way and then the proposal..Yowza!

Popkins said...

oh...I made a mistake in my first comment...just reread the title....An Ending and a Beginning...sowee