THE BUTTERMAN’S BRIDE
Copyright (c) Victor Darnell Hadnot
"With what, these things I do possess?" Tales of the Butterman
I was going to go through all this stuff about how I was alone because my wife had died. I was going to make other people understand how I felt but the truth of the matter was that, no one really understood, not even if you had gone through it. Each loss is different. Each person’s life is unique and thus, each loss is unique. My wife and I loved each other deeply. I lived for my wife and she lived for me. We were best friends. Lovers. Companions that truly enjoyed being around one another. Have you ever experienced a love, where, when you are away from the person, you can’t wait to be with them. And when you are with them, you don’t want to be away from them? Well. That was me and my wife. But. She is gone now. Fate or destiny or something, took her away from me and even after a year, I still couldn’t figure out how to live without her. So. One day, I worked until I was the last person in the office. I went up to the top of the building and there, I prepared to end it all. I must have stood there for an hour. Watching the cars and people below. The night lights were starting to come on as the day faded. It was fading like my hope had faded. Oh. I tried to live without her. But. Everything I did, I used to do with her. It was so hard to carry on. Oh. I missed her so much. This was going to be the day that she and I were together once more. If could get her back, I wouldn’t want her to have to suffer the sickness that finally took her lovely life, just to be with me. So. Tonight I end it all. I was standing there, moments from throwing myself over the edge of the building. Then. I heard a voice in back of me.
"It’s a nice night, isn’t it?" The voice belonged to this really beautiful woman. She had long back hair, big violet eyes. Warm and friendly lips.
"How did you get up here?" I finally asked her. I was sure I bolted the door from the outside because I really didn’t want to be disturbed. This was my day to rid myself of the world.
"It’s a much too nice of a night for this, don’t you think?" The woman’s voice was soothing.
"Are you a policewoman or something? Because I have a right to do this, you know."
"Sure. You can kill yourself. But it is a nice night, isn’t it?"
"What are you, a broken record? You said that already. If you are trying to stop me from killing myself..."
"Is it working?"
"No. Not at all. All you are doing is making things worse. Now. I want to jump more than ever."
"My name is Leah. What is your name?"
She was some kind of a professional. She knew how to engage the jumper. Personalize the moment. "My name is Walter. And while it is really nice to meet you. I have something very important that I have to do. So. If you don’t mind leaving, so that you don’t have to see this."
She moved in closer and touched my shoulder. "If you don’t want me to watch you take your own life, then perhaps you shouldn’t do it."
Oh. Great. A woman with logic and compassion. "Look. You don’t know anything about me. Why I’m doing this or anything."
"You are right. I don’t. I know nothing about why you are doing this. And no one else will either. Tomorrow, your friends and co-workers will awake to the news that Walter has taken his own life."
She was right. But. I had it all figured out. People would talk about it at the water cooler for weeks. They’d ask questions of themselves. Those who cared. Why didn’t they sense something. It is always the quiet ones that do it. Hell. I wasn’t trying to hurt anyone. Just myself. I wanted desperately to find a way out of this hell I was going through. Oh. I just wanted to be with my wife. If could bring her back, I wouldn’t dream of making her have to go through the suffering that she had been through, in order to be with me. No. This was the way out. She was my best friend and I missed her desperately. The woman was now standing close enough, that if I had the mind, I could take her with me. She must have known that, but, she just kept eye contact and talked to me in a comforting tone. Who was this woman? I had locked the door, how did she get past all that? But. What did it matter, anyway? If she wanted to watch a man kill himself, then who was I to try and stop her? Maybe she was one of those weird people that got off on this kind of sick, perverted thing. I don’t know. My mind was racing. I didn’t want answers, I just wanted the pretty lady to leave so I could end it all. But. The bitch wouldn’t leave! What was she? One of those do-gooders? Gonna save me from myself? Well. Where was she when my wife died? That was someone who needed saving. My wife didn’t ask to get sick. She had her whole life ahead of her. Her death was so pointless. And I missed her so much. I looked over at Leah. I closed my eyes and leaned forward. In that instant, she reached out and touched my hand. It was like I had been touched by God himself. I felt this energy rush through me. Like a warm feeling and peace and contentment. Was I falling to my death? Had I already hit the pavement below? I opened my eyes.
"What the freak?" The woman was standing in front of me. Just staring at me. I looked down at my hand, she was holding it. I stepped back from the edge. "Why did you stop me?"
"Because I could, Walter. I couldn’t save your wife. I’m sorry. It was her time to go."
"No!" I yelled. "We were happy. We had our whole lives ahead of us. It is not fair! It should have been me." I finally blurted out. Then I looked up at her face. She was really pretty. Her long black hair blew in the wind. It was windy up here where we were. "You are not going to let me kill myself, are you?"
The woman shook her head. "No. Not tonight."
"Tomorrow then. Because I’ll just find another building to jump off. I’m determined to end it." I wasn’t bluffing. I was going to end my life.
"One day at a time, Walter. All you need is one day at a time." She placed her arm around my shoulder and we began to walk back to the door. "Who are you really?"
"Okay. I’m an angel." The woman looked me in the eyes. In her eyes was the totality of the universe. Those beautiful violet eyes were actually the cosmos when you looked up close.
I stopped and began to panic for a second. I leaned over and threw up. She patted me on the back. "You asked me."
"An angel named Leah? And you just happen to give a crap if I live or die? Why? God didn’t care if my wife died? Why care now?" I was pissed for all the right reasons I thought.
"God does care, Walter. And your wife is in Paradise where she awaits you."
"Well. That was what I was doing, dammit. I was getting ready to be with her!"
Leah shook her pretty head. "No. You were getting ready to be with the one who caused your wife’s death. If you had killed yourself tonight. You’d find yourself in hell."
I continued off the roof of the building. I didn’t buy a word of what this woman was telling me. It was more likely, that she worked in the same office as I did. I didn’t know half the people who worked with me. She must have spotted me going up to the roof. Followed me and saw what I was getting ready to do. A good Samaritan, perhaps? And angel. Not likely. We went back on into the building. She walked with me as I got my things and went on down in the elevator. None of us saying a thing. Outside the building, I looked up. It would have been a long way down. But. It would have been over by now. By now, there would have been ambulances and stuff. Cops and people just looking at the mess I made as my guts were all over the place. Splat! It’s all over. The woman walked with me towards the subway. I suppose that she got the same train that I did. I should have been grateful to her for stopping me. But. I wasn’t. Every once in a while, she’d look over at me and I’d glance over at her. We sat together on the subway. How is it that I never noticed this woman before? If we took the same train home? She was definitely beautiful enough for other men to notice. I spotted a dozen or so, trying not to be obvious, but they noticed her. And she was sitting next to me. I tried to act like everything was normal. But. I was having a time of it. Everything wasn’t normal. This woman, this stranger was just up on the roof with me, no more than a half hour ago, talking me out of killing myself. And now here we were. What kind of a name for an angel is Leah anyway? And I didn’t believe in angels anyway. Didn’t have much use for God now that I thought about it. Hardly ever went to church, now that my wife was gone. Never read the Bible, not even a peek. So. This couldn’t be true. Why would one of God’s finest help me where there were so many people out there that did believe in God and angels and Heaven and stuff? Just not me. My wife is gone, Dammit and I miss her! I got off the train and she continued on. Another night in the house that reminded me of my dead, beloved wife.
It was a nice day. I was sitting out under a tree eating my lunch. I liked to watch the old people across the way as they did their Thai Chi exercises. It always looked so cool as they moved in slow movements. What was with American exercises? You had to grunt and lift too much or over exert yourself. Yet. This ancient exercise was three times more effective. I sat there eating my little lunch. Man. I remember the lunches my wife used to make for me occasionally. Oh. They were so good. So. There I was and the next moment, the woman that was on the roof was sitting next to me. She smiled. Opened up her lunch and began to eat.
"You are not an angel, are you?" I just looked at her and blurted it out.
Leah stopped eating and met my gaze. "No. Walter, I am not. I’m just a woman who didn’t want you to kill yourself."
"How did you get up there? I had locked the door from without."
"Men. Did it ever don on you that I was up there, too? Thinking about doing the same thing that you were going to do. I was on the other side of the building. I heard you messing around with the door. First I thought you were there to stop me. Then I realized that you were there to do the same thing that I was going to do. I watched you for a long time. Just standing there. Trying to muster up the courage to jump. That was when I realized I couldn’t let another human being destroy their live. Just because I wanted to destroy mine." She shrugged.
"You were going to kill yourself at the same time I was going to kill myself? In the same way? On the same building? What are the odds of that?" I was amazed at what she had told me and relieved that she wasn’t an angel. I was starting to think that I had lost my mind.
"Yeah. What are the odds?" She took a bite of her sandwich.
"You are too pretty to kill yourself." Oh, man. That sounded better in my head, than it did when it came out.
Come to find out that Leah did indeed work on my floor in my office. She actually had been there for over a year. I just had never noticed her until that day. She showed me her cubicle and I showed her mine. She was a nice woman. Decent and kind hearted. I got to talking to her regularly. Found out that her mother had died and she was having a hard time coping with the tragedy. Her mother and her were very close. It started off with me just talking to her occasionally. Either I’d go over and ask her to lunch or she’d come over to my cubicle. After awhile, others would ask her to lunch or I’d get asked to lunch. Seemed that our interest in each other sparked an interest by some of our other co-workers. But at the end of the day, it was Leah and I saying goodnight to one another or sharing the ride on the train back to different homes. One day, I decided to ask her out on a date. An official date. Not lunch like we had been doing together. Though I considered lunch to be very important. It was the place where we could just catchup on the events of our lives. It helped to have someone to talk to, to share ideas, no matter how stupid they were. I know it is going to sound stupid, a year went by, with us doing these things. Finally, at some point, one of us decided that grieving over the past was less important than the comfort we had found in the companionship of the present. I found myself for the first time in a long time, looking forward to the future, and she expressed the same feelings. It was funny how fate drew the two of us together. Just one moment not realized, and one of us, if not both of us would have killed ourselves that fateful day. Then what would the world look like to the other? I found myself more and more not wanting to think about it. Had I gotten to the turning point, and wanted to live?
It was during Christmas time. I know. One of the worse times of the year for suicide. Believe me, when I say that I know. Getting through that time of year was really hard. Leah and I decided to have Christmas at her place. She lived in a good part of town and had a nice little flat. Not much different than my own. We had exchanged presents and placed them under the tree. It was Christmas Eve. Leah had hung some mistletoe. We both managed to walk under it, not intending to do so, it just happened. She looked up. I looked up. She smiled and pointed at it. I acknowledged it. Then we kissed. For the first time. I know, slow movers, the two of us were. But in our defense, we had been hurt, and emotionally scared by tragedy, so moving slow was probably a wise and safe thing to do.
"That was a nice kiss." She told me after it was over.
I followed her into the kitchen where she was baking all sorts of things. She was a really good cook. I remember her telling me that she had studied cooking at some chef school in France. Hmm? I’d never been out of the States and she’d been to several countries, before things started to get out of control overseas, you know, with all the uprisings and environmental tragedies. "This is the first Christmas that I didn’t have to spend it alone. Thanks."
Leah had some icing on her finger and she offered it to me. I took it and it resulted in another kiss. We both were starting to feel comfortable doing that. It didn’t feel forced. "We were both looking for something. Somehow, fate worked it out so that what we were looking for, was right under our nose."
Why hadn’t I realized that before. "You are right. We both feel comfortable together. I really enjoy our time that we spend together."
"It is nice, isn’t it?" Leah said with a warm smile.
"Oh. Yes. Man. What a mistake I almost made. If you hadn’t been there, where you were." I allowed myself to reflect.
She placed a finger over my lips and kissed me again. "Merry Christmas, Walter."
It was the first Christmas we both had, that we could remember being happy again.
Some people can’t take criticism. Their emotional psyche is so fragile that if you do find something that they can improve it, they freak out and take it personal, like you don’t like them, when in truth, they might have invited the comments. Hoping for validation or unwarranted acceptance. I wasn’t one of them. I knew that I had lots of faults and that one didn’t have to go very far, in order to find something wrong with me. I say this because Leah and I seemed to have developed a thing. She could sense how far I wanted to go with a certain situation and not push me beyond that point. I too, had a sense, as to how far I could go, but, I was just happy to have someone like her in my life. I hoped that she felt the same way about me, though by every indication, she did. The New Year’s office party was kind of awkward. For some reason that now escapes me, we both decided to go, together. There were the usual characters there. Someone who got too drunk. Someone who was caught doing drugs. A couple deciding that they couldn’t wait to get a room and got caught doing the wild-thing in the office closet. And the list of events and mishaps went on and on. At one point, the two of us just looked at one another and wondered why we had decided to go. I’m not sure why we did. I knew for me, it was a chance to try out our relationship on a wider scale. You know, see where the kinks were and find ways to either fix them or strengthen those things that were already strong. A relationship doesn’t exist in a vacuum There are influences. Other friends, both jealous and supporting. Relatives that may or may not approve of the relationship, and have their own ideas as to whom you should be hooked up with. Life was weird like that but love always found a way. Yeah. You heard me right. I used the word love. It didn’t happen over night, and with good reason, Leah and I were the kind of couple that took things slowly. So. When one of us accidently let the word slip out, the other quickly picked up on it, but didn’t push it. Why? What is wrong with love? Absolutely nothing. Fairness is important in a loving relationship. Leah and I had fairness. I respected her and her feelings and she respected me and mine. A good year had just flashed by and we were invited to her relative’s home for Thanksgiving. Yeah. Another holiday where suicide is high. How can you be around all those family holidays and not feel depressed, if you are the one being excluded? Or excluding yourself?
"Just follow my lead," she whispered as the front door opened and we were warmly invited in.
The evening got off to a great start. There were all the usual smells and the normal chat. Everyone wanted to know something personal about me. I tried to answer in as generic a manner as possible. "Your original wife been dead a good while, has she?" came Leah’s uncle. His wife hit him lovingly for being so insensitive. I answered, "I try and not think about it much. Not since I met Leah."
This got a good response from the group. Things went well. Next year, we were going to visit my relatives. After the meal and the expectedness, we headed on back. She was driving. I’d had a bit too much to drink. Her uncle really liked to pile it on. "I think you’ll like my side of the family." I think we had already talked about getting more serious in the relationship.
"You did very well, Walter. They all liked you."
"Even your uncle?"
"Oh. Don’t let him get to you. He liked you just fine. He’s just like that."
"It wouldn’t be weird if we decided to get married..."
Leah was quiet for a moment. "No. It wouldn’t be weird at all."
"Yeah. Leah, will you marry me?" I just blurted it out. I should have picked a more romantic setting, than just driving back from her relative’s place. But. It was out there now.
"Are you serious? Because I know you’ve been drinking, too much, apparently." She was good at understanding me. But. I shocked her. I reached into my jacket pocket and pulled out an engagement ring. She pulled the car safely over to the side of the road and excitedly accepted it. No. It wasn’t romantic. But you know what? Years would go by, and the story of how I proposed would still be told by this wonderful lady. To whom ever she found that was interested, if the subject ever came up. I hadn’t planned it, but she found it perfect. And I guess that was all that really mattered. News traveled fast, everyone in the office found out about it. Either from me or from her. It was great.
One day, I was going about my business. I think we were within months of getting married. This guy comes up to me, in the store. Starts to talk to me, knows Leah. I gathered that he was a past boyfriend of some sort. Well, he keeps on talking and finally told me something I wasn’t expecting to hear. The guy was gay and Leah was not always Leah. Yeah. You heard correctly. I was floored. I didn’t believe the poor bastard at first. Why in the hell did this guy come up to me and start telling me all this crap? First of all. I didn’t want to hear it. Was it something I needed to know? Yes. Was it something I wanted to hear? No. The woman I was in love with, going to marry, was once a man. Oh, God, how could I have been so stupid? The slowness in which the relationship developed. The other little things that I passed off as nothing, suddenly made sense. Wait! What did that make me? Was I gay? No. I thought that Leah was a she. I mean, she looked like a she. Didn’t she? When I first saw her, I thought she was beautiful. Was she? He? Oh, I was beyond confused, I was conflicted. I should have been able to tell that something was wrong. Why didn’t I see the signs? But. When I thought about it, Leah just seemed like Leah. A really nice woman. I had made up my mind that I would confront her on the subject. First I wanted her to tell me. I couldn’t think of a way that I could get the conversation around to the subject, without it seeming, awkward. I decided that telling me really didn’t matter because I was going to break off the engagement. At some point, Leah began to suspect, seriously that something was amiss. We still didn’t live together and we had never had sex, we both wanted to wait until we were married, old fashion, like that. But know even that bothered me.
"Look. I know you well enough to know that something is wrong. I’ve had a feeling for sometime now. And just look at you right now? You won’t even look me in the eyes. My eyes were one of the things that you told me that you loved about me." She had concern and hurt in her pretty face. Well. It wasn’t that pretty anymore.
"I had a conversation. An old friend of yours." And I preceded to explain what had happened. Leah sat back and streams of tears began to flow down her face.
She tried to hold my hand but I pulled away. "I didn’t know how to tell you, Walter. Please let me explain it to you."
"Why? So you can lie to me some more?" I was beyond dejected.
"No. I never lied to you. I never lied..." Her eyes were searching mine for some opportunity to find compassion. She found none. "I love you so much, Walter. You have to believe me. I’d never do anything to hurt you."
"You are a guy! I’m not gay. You made me believe that you were a woman. Hell. I kissed you and stuff!" Oh. It made me want to throw up at one point.
"I am a woman. In every way. Look. Lets make love. Make love to me and you’ll see. I’m a woman." She sounded desperate and stupid, all at the same time.
"I’m not touching you down there. I don’t know what I’ll find." Before I knew it, she was undressing in front of me. I looked away and she moved in front of me. I looked. That wasn’t gay, was it? She had breast. A beautiful waist. And she was a woman down there. She didn’t look like a man. "I don’t care what you’ve had done. You are still a man. You shouldn’t do things like that to other people." I picked up her dress and threw it at her. She dropped to her knees and wept bitterly, broken heartedly. She kept saying to herself, that it was happening all over again. I didn’t really care. I was out of there. It was a bitch coming up with a reason that made me look good, as to why the wedding was off. If Leah thought I was doing it to spare her feelings, I wasn’t. I could have cared less. I just didn’t want my co-workers knowing that I was engaged to a, I really didn’t know what to call her.
Days turned into weeks. And so things began to quiet down. I went through all sorts of emotional stages. It was weird, it was like I was grieving, but, no one was dead. It might sound selfish, but I didn’t give it any mind, as to what Leah must have been going through. A few times at work, a co-worker would come by and say that Leah was crying uncontrollably in the women’s restroom. I was so pissed off, that one time I let it slip, and told them that she didn’t belong in there. But. For the most part, I did my best to avoid her, him, it. If I sound ignorant, well, I am. So. What? What is wrong with a straight guy, trying to find a straight woman? I mean, it’s gotten to the point, that hetero’s are made to feel like racist, if they don’t accept gay people. Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against gay people. Leah, or whatever her real name is, should have told me that she was a he. I hated myself for not being able to tell. It made me feel dirty. Hating her, as I remembered it, made me feel nasty. One time, she actually had the nerve to try and join me at my favorite lunch spot, you know the one, where I watched the old people as they did their Thai Chi exercises. We had become a close enough couple, before the big discovery, that she knew my favorite lunch. She had painstakingly made it for me. Had hoped that enough time had gone by, that we could talk and that at least, a friendship could remain. I took the lunch and tossed it in the trash, right in front of her. I stopped going to that spot for lunch after that. Funny how love could turn into hate like that. But. It had and I was suddenly okay with it. Holidays came and went but this time, I was happy to be by myself. I hadn’t noticed it, but, I wasn’t grieving for my wife anymore. I thought about her. How much of a real woman she was. A real woman, I reminded myself. That was what I liked. A real woman. Once at an office party, for some reason, Leah and I found ourselves in the same space together.
"How have you been, Walter?" Her voice seem strangely weaker, something was missing.
"Can’t complain. You?" I was cold and unemotional.
"Not so good." Her eyes moved away from mine.
Did I care? Hell no! "Been doing okay actually."
"Are you seeing anybody new?"
"Are you seeing anyone?" It was a typical chick question.
"No. Yes. No. Why do you care?"
She seemed hurt that I would even ask. "Because I care about you. You and I had become very close, in the best kind of way, emotionally. I can’t just stop loving you like you seem to be able to do to me."
"Well. Believe it."
"I don’t." She studied my face. "I know you better than that."
"You don’t know crap!" I was hard on her.
"I had agreed to be your wife at one point in time. You owe me that."
"I don’t owe you crap!" I saw some woman way across the room. I waved and made sure that Leah saw me.
She didn’t even look around to see who I was waving at. Her attention was all on me. "I was a man a long time ago. Many years ago. Way before I met you. I had a sex change operation. I’ve lived the better part of my adult life as a woman. I am a complete woman deep inside. If you’d only allow yourself to see that."
I didn’t care and what was more, it really didn’t matter. That woman I was waving at, came over, and right in front of Leah, I left with her. Leaving Leah standing there. At the gathering, by herself. Alone. I could be a cold son-of-a-bitch when I wanted to be. Maybe it was for the best that she found that out about me. That there was this side of me that could just shut down and shut you out. Just like that. Time went on and I went on. But. One day, there was this big commotion as I was leaving the building after work. People on the street were pointing up at the top of the building. I looked up. A woman was getting ready to jump. The crap had happened all over again, for her. But. This time, I was the reason. That was why she wanted to kill herself before. I raced back inside the building and up to the top of the building. A few co-workers were still there, they were trying to talk her out of doing it. I didn’t know what I could do to make things any better. So. Why was I here? Why hadn’t I just gone on, caught the train and went home. I knew who it was and could have cared less. Or was that the truth?
Suddenly I began to remember why I was once there. What I was going through. Why did I have to remember all that? Why didn’t I just feel it, like I used to do? The answer was obvious. The time I had spent with Leah, it was good for me. I had healed enough to move on. But. Her emotional psyche was a lot more fragile. She required friendship in addition to everything else. She had tried to tell me that way back there but I just blew her away. And now, what was getting ready to happen? A human life was going to end because I couldn’t find it in my heart to just be her friend. I moved through the group and finally was the only one approaching her. I got to the edge of the building and glanced down. It was a long way down. Somehow, when I was the one in crisis, and looked down, it didn’t seem so far down. But. Now. Really far. How could I let this person kill herself after she had gone out, emotionally, on a limb, so save me?
"It’s a nice night." I finally uttered.
Leah was caught up in the program. You know, the final stage before someone takes their life. They’ve made up their mind. "What?" She seemed to come back to me, for a brief moment.
I repeated. "It’s a nice night. Too good a night to kill yourself."
She looked back at me. But. It was like she had to remember me, her eyes were filled with tears and despair. "Yes. It is a nice night."
"Too good for something like this, right?" Some police and other officials rushed over but the people in back of me told them my relationship to her and they backed off. Giving me a chance to continue.
"I couldn’t let you die, Walter."
"No. You couldn’t. And I’m better off for it."
"You once told me I was one of the most beautiful woman that you’d ever seem."
"You are. The nicest also. You are truly unique."
"I loved you, you know." She tried to smile when she said that.
"Did you ever really love me?"
"Then I can die knowing that I was loved, if for nothing but a brief while." She started to lean. I knew from experience what that meant. I reached out a touched her shoulder.
"I can’t let you die. You’ve taught me so much about living." I took her hand and she shuttered.
"Are you an angel?" She cried profusely.
"Yes. I’m whatever and whoever you want me to be, Leah."
"I used to be a man, Walter. I never got the courage to tell you that. I just wanted what we had to last forever."
"And it can."
"How? I’ve lost everything. You were my second chance at true love. I lost you and I lost everything. I really loved you."
"I love you, too."
"You are just saying that because you don’t want me to jump."
"Is it working?"
The first good sign. She laughed for a brief moment. "No," she lied.
"Liar..." I knew her."Come on with me. I’ve been a fool. I was emotionally destroyed. I didn’t know what to do. I was going to jump and this angel appeared, she saved me. She showed me her heart and it was gentle and pure and kind. Let me reward you with that same gift, Leah?"
"Is it too late? I know how you really feel."
"And I know how you really feel. You are the type of person, that once she loves, you love for life. You love deeply and it is real. You put your whole heart into it. No holding back. It is all or nothing. You know that few if any, can love the way that you do and you thought you had found it in me, because of the way I loved my wife that has passed away. You took a chance with me," I extended my arms, "Now take that chance with me, again. You were right. It just took me longer to realize it. But. If you jump, I grieve all over again. I grieve for the wife I have lost to sickness and I’ll grieve for the wife that never was."
"What are you saying?" There was a spark in her eyes once again. I could see the universe in those big violet eyes of hers.
"Will you marry me, Leah? Don’t let it end like this. I was wrong. You are the most forgiving person I’ve ever known, forgive you fiancé, this one time. We can both have a bright future..."
"Together? Me and you?"
"The two of us."
"You are just saying this because you don’t want me to kill myself." She smiled at me with those wonderfully soft lips of hers.
"You are damned right, sweetheart." And with that she went towards me into my arms. I held her for a long moment. I believe the crowd in back of us had started to applaud. I wiped away her tears. "Is it working?"
The both of us began to laugh as we went on away from death. There was a fight. Between the devil and God, and God won. Leah had to undergo psychiatric evaluation. She willingly underwent it, knowing that at the end of it all, it was going to be worth it. I even went with her, because I was just as messed up inside as she was. We both got better. But through it all, love was what saved the day. An angel at the edge of tomorrow, reaching out, trying to save that one all important soul. The human soul. Each of us, in our own special way, was important to God. Each of us, caught up in a mess that is called life. The only thing that made any of this worth while was the love that we found along the way. I was willing to throw all that away, because of my own prejudices and fears. I was going to miss the important thing, that to be loved is the ultimate form of living. Not wealth. Or power. No amount of those, could take the place of true love, when someone, some stranger reaches out to you as you are about to fall, and they are willing to risk everything, just to save your life. In this case, I was saved by Leah. In the Bible, Leah was suppose to be the ugly one. I didn’t find that to be the case. My Leah was beautiful, and that beauty came from the inside out, not from the outside in.
Things went slowly at first. Just like Leah like them to go. She liked to see where everything were. She wanted to be sure, so that, when she said yes, it was for all the right reasons. Leah had fallen in love with the real me. She actually knew me better than I knew myself. That was why she kept on trying to reach me, she would later tell me that when she first saw me on the edge of the building, that she too, looked into my eyes, and saw the universe. I hadn’t realize that we both and been given a second chance. Something rare in this life. It rarely comes more than once and love had come to us twice and in the end, it was the last love that was real. We married and at some point, adopted kids. Raised them and finally moved to the country. Our kids and grand children would come by on holidays and special family occasions. Our children all knew the truth about how we met. We cautioned them as to our meeting, telling them that it was an act of fate that brought us together. And that angels must have been watching over the both of us, because it could have gone so horrible wrong back then. But. I think our children and grand kids understood at some level that the two of us must have been destined to be together. I know. I know. Those of you who hate the very idea. You’ll never get it. You’ll never know what Leah and I have together. And you’ll miss out on opportunities to find love and to be loved. If you want to take it from a strictly Biblical point of view, then, people are spirits with flesh covering them. Nothing is impossible for love. If you really believe in the Word, then you have to leave yourself open to the possibility that two people, such as Leah and myself can fall in love and be happy.
I learned that, when we started to tell other people who they can love and how they can be, then, all we do is destroy the very concept of that love really is. It isn’t about rules or regulations. Love is about one person finding another.
"Yes, Leah?" We were sitting on the front porch watching the stars in the star filled night. A shooting star had just shot by.
"Ever have any regrets?" Her voice was older now, but still sounded beautiful to me.
"No. I think I got the better end of the deal." I was rocking slowly in the hickory rocking chair.
"Life is funny."
"Why do you say that?"
"Oh. It is cold," she told one of the grand kids to bring out jackets for the two of us. The child brought out the clothes and gave them to us. Before she left, she give each one of us a kiss.
"What was I saying?"
I sipped a glass of homemade lemonade. It was spiked to stave off aching joints, or so I gave excuse, and wonderful Leah just smiled. "You were saying something about how handsome I am."
She laughed, "No, you old coot, I was saying that life is funny."
"How is that?" I got up and started towards the stairs.
"It’s a nice night, isn’t it?" Leah’s voice sounded strangely melodic.
I didn’t look around, "Yes. It is." I glanced about me, I was standing at the edge of the building all over again. What had just happened? She had touched my hand? That energy I had felt. I looked around at her. Her face shone so brightly. "Oh. My God, you really are an angel?"
"Yes, Walter. I’m your guardian angel. And I love you so much, I’ll never let go of you." and Leah smiled at me and kissed me. "It’s too beautiful of a night..." And just like that, we were back in the country. It was a nice night and she was indeed a beautiful wife.
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