Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Loss Thereof

           I shall always remember the seen from little women where the professor advises Joe to only write about what she knows. This ran through my mind more then once when I was assigned the writing of a short story (a few years back now). At any rate, the following is what I cam up with. Please comment and tell me what you think of it.

The Loss Thereof 

I want to tell you a secret. A secret, mind you, that I share with very few people. A secret that has shaped my life. A secret concerning love and the loss thereof.
Thinking back, I remember ... I remember when I first met Him. I was young then, living far from here on the east coast of the U.S.A., where the waves practically crashed on my doorstep. 
When I was young, I was quiet and shy. I liked people, I had friends, but I wasn’t a social butterfly, flitting from person to person. I went to a small high school, with a student body of only 377. I had plenty of friends there, but I was still quiet. He was in all my classes but one. He had a quiet, gentle, friendly personality. He never picked on me or made fun of me and sometimes He even admonished the other boys for doing so.
But being the “Shy Person,” I hardly ever talked to Him. This you would probably, correctly, conclude was my downfall. We could have been great friends, maybe more, but for my unending stupidity.
I remember English class the most. I was intrigued by His reading, as well as the glance he would occasionally cast my way, lifting his dark eyebrows under His sandy brown hair which always seemed just a little too long and scraggly.
From the deepest parts of me I longed to talk to Him; I wanted to know who He was, what He liked, what He thought about things, important things like God, life, literature, people, politics, stereotypes, music, death. I wanted to know everything, I had never met His equal and that engaged my mind through the countless hours of the day. All of my friends were pretty shallow anything they felt deeply about was hidden behind an iron curtain, I could see through those deep expressive eyes and the little He said that the oceans of His mind were endless. I wanted so badly to jump into those boundless depths; drown there, be engulfed by and saturated in His thoughts.
He was always talking to this other girl though: Shoe was loud, crazy, excited, and creative, ALL the time. THey made up some of the craziest most random things together. I wanted to join them in there creations of worlds and languages, but I never felt there was a place for me, so I sat and watched from afar. I almost envied that girl, wishing and wanting to be like her. It took me many years to realize that what I wanted then and many times since, was not to be like her or anyone else, but rather to be seen and valued for who I really was, as they were.
The following year, I had no classes with Him; I was really sad, all summer I had looked forward to being in class with Him and now He was absent from my life. But I kept busy with school. Each day I would see him in the halls laughing with my friends conversing with my enemies, smiling for no particular reason and never once looking at me. 
As the weeks passed on I began to think, the wheels of my mind slowly turning. I watched Him and found out what classes He had;  Algebra II, Biology across the hall from my Geometry class, Computer II and Health. As I scanned my next semester schedule a white dove of a thought flew into my mind, He hadn’t had World History I and neither had I. 
Next semester as eagerly walked into my fourth period class I saw Him, just exactly as I had imagined. In that class we had assigned seating and my name was put on the chart right next to His. Call it what you will, providence or fate; it made no difference in my mind, I was just happy to be at His side. Being the “Shy Person” I was, though, I was more than willing to let the other three at my table do all the talking, I simply listened. I liked to hear the sound of His voice, it was low but not deep, and seemed at time melodic. I liked listening to Him talk, although I will say my History grade didn’t like it very much.
Most of my life I had been talked over, and as the time passed I came to accept it and I stopped talking altogether; now I simply listened, sitting, invisibly in my corner of doubt, waiting for someone to recognize my significance and worth in life.
That year February fourteenth fell on a Friday. As I was leaving school all the happy fantasies for the day melting away, my friend excitedly called me to her locker. Inside lay a short stemmed, fully bloomed, blood red, rose. No note, no sign of who had left it. But I knew, I knew who it was from, not only in my mind, but even more importantly I knew it in my heart. It was Him. My friend was of course, thrilled, but she wasn’t so sure I was right. That didn’t matter though, because I knew ...
As the months past their affinity grew, like a weed! I was upset, envious, I even felt some exasperation towards her. I knew what I was feeling was wrong, that it wasn’t her fault. But I still felt those feelings; I couldn’t seem to help it.
  “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” This is what love truly was and I had to constantly remind myself of this, day and night. Then one morning as I walked the beach at sunrise talking to God; I lodged my complaints, and cried a sea of tears. Slowly I felt something like love and comfort seeping deep into my soul, there in that place of solace and security the Lord spoke to my heart. It was at that point I realized something, it was at that point that I realized something about my heart and my soul, and I decided that it was time for me to give him up. He held and probably always will hold a special place in my heart, but it wasn’t like He belonged to me! What was my problem, I mean, gosh, after all it was his life. His life was a tapestry, He’d begun weaving her thread in shortly after I had attempted to weave in my own. I didn’t belong there though; I didn’t fit into his picture. Remorse filled my being. So I quickly and painfully unraveled my heart. But no matter how hard I tried, never could I afterwords get that thread back into the place it was supposed to be in my heart. It just hung limp, nearly lifeless, waiting to be put back where it longed to be. The opportunity never came.
The next year I decided to go on a mission trip, I would enjoy the work, and I loved to travel. When I got to the first planning meeting, I was the only one there, even the team leader was late. Anguish once again reached out to strangle my heart with its iron grip. I had wanted so badly to get out of this small town, even if only for a little while, to get away from everything and everybody, not to mention the memories. But if I was the only one there; there would be no trip. My heart sank. Then just as I was about to leave, I heard foot steps in the hall and the rattling of keys in the pocket of a pair of Khaki pants. My stomach wrenched, landing uncomfortably in my throat. It was Him! I quickly rationalized myself out of this thought, it was a 376 to 1 chance that it was Him. Who was I kidding. But to my utter astonishment and delight He walked through the door and said. “Hey what’s up, sorry I’m late.” Two people still wasn’t enough though. But as time progressed more people joined our group. Each one, purposed to fit perfectly into our picture. my best friend was one of the fourteen others that went on the trip; she helped me through that adventure good times and bad. And trust me He didn’t always make it easy. He was one of those really funny, slightly goofy guys who you couldn’t help but liking. He wasn’t loud and obnoxious like other guys. He was confident, sure of Himself, He didn’t need to prove anything to anybody. But I had given up! That was the end of the story the last page and I would not be permitted to write on the cover.                                                            ********** That trip changed my life; forever! Everything I experienced changed my heart and my mind. I was a new person. A man once told me that people are like sponges, it isn’t until you get squeezed that you find out what is truly inside you. I got squeezed while I was there, it wasn’t pretty and it didn’t feel good, but it needed to happen. I got rid of most of my junk; my worldly baggage came off and there was finally room for God to do his will in my life. While we were there I learned a lot from my friends, He changed my views on a lot of things, He opened my eyes to new horizons. He treated me as a friend. Most of my life when a guy was nice to me it meant he wanted  something that didn’t belong to him. This was different something I needed. We made jokes and talked about all kinds of things. He encouraged me not to just stop talking and sit invisibly in my corner of doubt. He pushed me to speak out and to talk louder, He and my friend even made me sing, something I never did. Having lived under the shadow of my friends with beautiful voices I didn’t even think I could. These two weren’t my crutches though; I didn’t need them to walk. They taught me how to walk alone as I do today.                                                              *********** It was great, I had an amazing time while I was gone, and I gained Him as a friend. But the tides of life were rapidly changing and they soon carried him off the shores of my life, like driftwood, the waves unwary of His significance. When we returned I didn’t see Him much, we didn’t have any of the same classes and I rarely saw Him in the halls. Graduation came to soon; and the fateful day He left our small town for good. He moved to Indiana with his family and that was the last I ever saw of Him. That adventure is still in my mind though, clear as if it was yesterday.
That trip is what brought me here to Africa so many years later, to do the work of God among his children. Don’t get me wrong, I still dream of Him sometimes, I still wake up in the early hours of the morning wondering what my life might have been, if I hadn’t been the “shy person”. But that is another story and I guess I’ll never know the ending to it. 
“Is that it!?” Asked my sweet little African daughter Constancia (she was almost thirteen).
“Yes” I said
“I thought you said this story had a happy ending,” she replied with a frown.
“But it does!” I replied, smiling widely.
Constancia looked confused.
“You are my happy ending” She looked up at me and we both giggled, we were happy.
“But why did you tell me the story?”
“I told you my story, Constancia, because you remind me of myself, and I don’t want you in your quietness to make the mistakes I made. Even though God worked it out for good and I am now happy, my life could have been much easier and I could have been much happier along the road.”
“But what happened to Him?” Constancia asked in a curiously concerned tone.
“I don’t really know; last I heard He was in Russia.”
“Did He ever marry her?” Constancia asked
“No He never marri ...”
I never got to finish though; as there was a soft tap on the orphanige’s front door and Constancia quickly ran off to answer it. She was always excited to have visitors; all the children were. I heard footsteps in the corridor and the rattling of keys in the pocket of a pair of khaki pants. My stomach wrenched , as joy sprung like a fountain from the depths of my soul, and my heart skipped a beat!

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