I saw her from across the room. The hall was full to bursting. People dancing and talking in a humongous hall. And yet the space seemed to be so small. There was no room to move. I try to spot her at the edge of the crowd. She is still there. She isn’t in the building; she stands just outside, on the lawn, waiting for someone. I feel compelled to join her. She is beautiful.
I was enjoying the party but now, it seems as if the life has gone out of it. Or maybe there never was any. It may have all just been a charade. All their fancy clothes are nothing more than rags compared to her dress; pristine and white; pure and flawless. She still waits. I need to talk to her. She is so far away. I feel the pressure of all the people around me. I press harder. They press back. She is so close now. I am almost near the edge of the crowd. She is right in front of me. She glances at me and I can feel my body go limp and full of energy at the same time. I renew my struggle against the crowd. They keep pushing, but I wade though, and finally I cannot go any further. I can’t break loose. I am not strong enough. It breaks my heart that she is right there! I begin to clench my teeth.
And then the cries of my heart are answered. My outstretched hand is grasped softly. Gentle fingers enclose and pull me out. And then I am slowly dragged out of the mire of the party and suddenly I am breathing air as if for the first time. I fall over and take a deep breath. Compared to inside, the oxygen out here feels undiluted and my brain can’t take it all at once. I look for my rescuer. She stands over me and offers me her hand. I look at her and then inspect myself. I am so torn up. If wearing my ugly tuxedo wasn’t bad enough, I was even more disheveled from tearing through the crowd. But she still smiles and offers her hand. I would be a fool not to take it.
We walk for what seems like forever. Words are not exchanged. They don’t need to be. She just looks ahead and guides us through the gardens on the mansions grounds. She examines the tulips and orchids. She shows me the roses that I never saw before. I catch them out of the corner of my eyes, but my attention is completely focused on her. My eyes never leave her. We sit down on a park bench and watch the fountain stream and bubble over. Cascades of water are the least of thoughts as I gaze at her beauty.
One of my friends joins us from the party. He asks who she is and I tell him that she is someone very close. He attempts to make conversation and I cringe at his lack of tact. He finally gives up altogether when her disinterest is kindly shown. He grabs her wrist and bruises her, for she is easily harmed but never broken. I am filled with anger. His blatant lewdness is obscene. I attempt to intercede. But I am a weak man and am tossed back. She brushes his grip off without trouble and rushes to my side. She holds me close. I know that neither words nor fists will accomplish anything here. She helps me to my feet and we make our getaway. She knows the gardens better than anyone and we quickly lose our pursuer.
As we turn another corner, I am again greeted by a good friend of mine. But I wary, for my last friend was less than cordial to my love. He asks politely and makes no attempt to abscond with her. She seems cheerful as usual and listens diligently. He asks if he can join us and I feel angry again. She is mine and mine alone! I had no reason to give her to any other man! She touches my shoulder and my fury abates. Who am I that she would love someone like me anyway? If she chooses another, then this day we shall walk together!
We all stop for we are back at the hall. We gaze inside and watch those who we once knew from what seemed like so long ago. I see a dear friend inside as he spies the maiden. He is smitten, just as I am. I see him make his way out of the crowd. It closes in on him like a tidal wave. He fights for so little and then returns to talking with the others. They encourage him to act. I can only stand in disbelief. He dances and continues to talk with others. They lead him to a girl quite unseemly. Her dress is gaudy and large, and so is her countenance. If only he took the second to examine past the makeup and jewelry he would see that it was nothing more than a pig. He and his new companion are urged to make their way to the roof top. There, he and the swine embrace each other and stand on the balcony railing. The crowd cheers even more boisterously as the couple sway back and forth. Finally, a single man steps out of the crowd and tells them to jump. And he does. The both of them.
My love turns away. I can’t help but watch. If only they pursued Wisdom like I had struggled against the ignorance and morally depraved society. If he had continued to struggle, then Wisdom would have come to him. Wisdom is a constant. The perception of what is true, regardless of the circumstances. The ability to use what I “know” so that I can “do” what is most fitting. As we walked, Wisdom guided my path and only if I followed Her. If I turned away I would only become more and more lost. Until I would have ended back at the place I started. In staying with her I was allowed to observe what I already knew in its true essence instead of how I was brought up to perceive it. My desire for Wisdom left me jealous for it.
When my first friend attempted to abscond with her, I was angry because he attempted to abuse the knowledge and Wisdom he was given, to ignore its warnings and cries, and to twist it in a way befitting his evil desires. He caused Wisdom to be harmed in my eyes, but she cannot be truly broken or marred, only in our flawed eyes. In the end, Wisdom would have been nothing to him. Void. Absent. Not present in his life.
My second friend was kind and waited upon her. He desired Wisdom just as I had. In this I felt jealousy. But I realized that it was not a competition to find Wisdom, but rather a course each man runs and should feel free to help others know her as well.
My third and most unfortunate friend was depraved of all knowledge of Wisdom. He simply saw how beautiful she was, but lacked the conviction and discipline to pursue her. He listened to other friends of bad moral character and this led him to everything but Wisdom. In the end, he and all he held dear was destroyed by the very things he listened to that guided his life. His decisions were based on other people’s discernment; people who lacked Wisdom themselves.
I now stand with Wisdom. Me and many others all stand with her. We walk separate paths, but none of us walk without her next to us. Hand in hand we walk. Her and I. And I pray that I will never wander far, and that our love lasts forever.
© Copyright 2016 Allan Reinhard. All rights reserved.
Short Story / Fantasy
Book / Fantasy
Short Story / Literary Fiction
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