“Do you think she’ll mind?” The woman asked her sister, who stood to the side, wielding a comb and a pair of scissors. Winter by Vivaldi played almost insistently in the background; its strains hinting at a confrontation that would never come to pass; giving way instead to surprise.
“I suppose there’s only one way to find out?” A voice came from behind and it surprised the woman to the point of fear. She looked past her own reflection to the image over her shoulder. The smile on the face behind her did little to belie the near terror in her heart at the appearance of her spouse.
“I’m sorry. I know I promised, but she sort of knew….” The woman’s sister tried to laugh; wanting to lighten the moment, but the woman would have nothing of levity and burst into shameful tears. She covered her face with her right hand while trying to ward of the demons of her shame with the other.
“No!” The voice was almost soothing; a calm but loud interruption to the anxious fear in the woman seated before her. She reached over and grabbed the woman’s hand and squeezed lightly. Her other hand came to rest gently on the woman’s shoulder, feeling the vibration of fearful tremors as the woman shook.
“No….no….shhhh shhhh.” She said softly as she stepped closer. She pulled the woman’s face into her bosom and stroked the back of her head gently as a mother comforting a sad child.
“I’m so sorry, Aimee….please….forgive….” She was unable to finish the words as she sobbed almost uncontrollably in her lover’s arms. Her tears began to soak through the woman’s blouse, almost an offering of sorts. “I am poured out like water,’ when her spouse’s own tears seemed to duplicate the blessing in kind, anointing her head.
“No….please no….it’s alright….” The voice seemed almost like incense that filled the room; sound and an almost imperceptible bouquet that hinted of great acceptance and love. She looked up into Aimee’s eyes and beheld the most peaceful expression of adoration that she had ever known. Friends at five; tentative crushes at thirteen; dating at fifteen!
A lifetime of life and even death. Breaking up at sixteen…reunited at twenty-two. Marriage at twenty-six with over thirty years together after that; love forged in a crucible that created an alloy of fulfillment and encouragement and strength. Two children born; one no longer in their lives, gracing their creator once again after a brief time of bittersweet presence and blessing. The other with a family of her own.
Empty nests sometimes bring more than just vacant bedrooms and empty chairs at the table. She had changed so much in their many years, but even more so in the past few. But what she failed to recall is that it is entirely true that the more things change the more they stay the same.
“I love you.” Aimee pulled her close once again, but instead of embracing her, Aimee kissed her passionately. A gesture meant to inspire inspired regrets and shame once again as she felt entirely unworthy of the love of the woman who held her. She put her head down, ashamed of what she had abandoned and what she had become, but the woman would have none of that. She kissed her abruptly, almost hard, emphatically before saying finally,
“I still love you, okay.” Her sister stood off to the side, feeling relieved at the provision of help she had made for her; the scene simply proved what she had believed all along. That her brother had never really been a brother so much as a sister in rough clothing. A woman forced by circumstance and life and convention who finally realized that she was loved for whom she had always been, regardless of the clothing and the presentation.
“Thanks, Gina,” Aimee said, looking over the woman’s shoulder to her sister-in-law; she nodded even as she continued to stroke the woman’s hair, feeling the shaking subside as it gave way to a gently rocking in her arms.
“We’ll be okay,” she said with a smile as the woman turned her face sideways, putting her cheek against her wife’s breast as she continued to sob quietly. Aimee felt that in extending hope to her love, her own faith had been restored. She nodded at Gina and spoke once more.
“We’ll be just fine….”
I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me. Psalm 22:14
Winter: Allegro, non molto -first movement
as played by
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