‘And the old man looked into her eyes, like one who could see into her soul. Her naked soul tried to cover itself. He wore a tweed jacket, the fashion of the fifties. His crushed bowler hat sat on his head, his trousers baggy. She felt young, even immature, innocent… A sharp contrast to the corrugatedness of his soul. The artist called Life had turned his face into a canvass, drawn lines upon his visage. They were lines of history.
“You say love is over-rated?” And he chuckled, said “Hmn!” holding his lower mandible with an uncertain hand. “But let me ask you a few questions…” and he turned to look at her, with kindness. “Have you ever loved someone, truly loved, selflessly? And have you ever been loved by someone, selflessly? Have you ever experienced what it means to know that someone is yours? (It’s a good feeling!) Have you ever had the privilege of committing your heart to someone, knowing he’ll always be there for you? Have you ever known what it means to trust someone…with your heart, your soul, your emotions? Have you ever wished the weekend would jump the queue, so you can see that special someone?
Have you ever looked into the eyes of another, and found thankfulness, and love, and kindness…and peace? Have you ever experienced a knowing, on the inside of you, that you belong with someone, always? I’m not talking about fluttering butterflies. I’m talking about a surfeit of soul… (*He was banging his chest). Have you ever felt like someone knows the chords of your soul, the music sheet of your life? Have you ever woken up with thankfulness, grateful to the Creator for bringing that someone special into your life? Have you ever been afraid of losing someone…you don’t want to imagine a life without him?” And his eyes became misty, though the tears refused to climb down the ladder.
“Have you ever felt completely at home with someone, like you’ve known him all eternity? Have you ever laughed the laughter of love, that quiet peel of happiness, happiness of soul? Have you ever written a note to someone, a letter…in the alphabet of joy? Have you ever looked forward to the pleasant surprises of a lover, the handful of wrapped gifts of life? Do you know what it means to be married to someone kind, caring, strong, trustworthy? Have you ever experienced the simultaneity of slowness and fastness of time…the strange clock of love? Has your heart ever ever gone on a picnic with someone- walked on the beach, your feet crunching the sands of time? Have you ever known the loyalty of someone, a loyalty so personal and worthy? Have you ever known what it is to know that you know that someone loves you? Have you ever felt the comfort and assurance of love at the other end of a telephone line?
Have you ever known what it means for disagreements not to dare touch upon the love you share with someone? Have you ever looked into the sky, and known that God must love you because of that someone special? Has your heart ever felt Adamic nakedness with someone, like there’s nothing to hide?” He sighed once more, heaving his old gait. ‘Hmn’ he said, pursing his lips. “Have you ever had a shoulder to lean on, felt the strong hands of comfort on your soul? Have you ever experienced going to a card shop, leaving disappointed because the words are not enough? Have you ever composed poetry for someone in the unintelligible paragraphs of the heart?
Do you know what it means for someone to be there for you, no matter what, come rain, come shine? Do you know what it means to dress for someone, to make up for someone, on behalf of someone?” And he smiled. Then returned to the present.
“Have you ever gazed at yourself in the mirror knowing you’re the apple of someone’s eyes? Have you ever lived in the cocoon of love and affection, in the neighbourhood of tranquillity? Have you ever felt the boastfulness of love, the unspoken bravado of a thankful heart that sighs behind the scenes? Have you ever gone to the movies with that special someone, the plot of the movie a great unconcern? Have you ever smiled with your eyes at someone, with playful tenderness, and received a note from the other side?” And at this the old man smiled again, like one retrieving lost memory from the archive of life. “Have you ever taken a culinary journey with someone, and the mundane serving takes on special meaning?
Have you ever travelled with someone and a six hour journey seemed but as yesterday? Do you know what it means to be so special to someone, so special the ordinary things in your life become so special? Have you ever gone on a journey, and you know someone is fervently looking forward to your return? Do you know what it means when nothing else matters but the love you share? Do you know how it feels to have a stake in the life of someone, and to be that stake? Hmn! Do you know what it feels like to be connected with tissues of the heart to someone?
Have you ever known the loving appreciation that attends to unflattering culinary effort? Do you know what it feels like to know that someone is patient with you, and chooses to understand? Have you ever been with someone, knowing your secrets are safe, that the past doesn’t matter? These, my young lady are the paragraphs from the love Maggy and I shared. (I look forward to seeing her in Heaven).
Love is not over-rated my dear. You just haven’t found it yet. It’s worth looking for. The right person is worth marrying. And when you find that someone- your soul mate, your life mate- you’ll know. If you want my advice I’d say don’t allow your past to cheat you out of love.” And with that, the old man got off from the bench, leaning on his cane, his hands shaky, like his gait. And he began to walk away.’ And that’s the end of the story.