Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My Romance

The point is the love story.
We live in a love story in the midst of war. 
- John Eldredge, The Sacred Romance

Little Girl Dreams
Once upon a time I dreamed little girl dreams, of castles and crowns and happily-ever-afters.  My prince was my Daddy, handsome with dark curls and chocolate eyes, brilliant, tall and strong, having muscled arms that wrapped all love, rescued warm and safe, and drew me close for the sweetest of good-night kisses...and sometimes lashed out anger. 
Like father like daughter, I was quiet and contemplative, independent and strong-willed, analytical, but having a bent toward the artistic and creative side as well.  I lived to read at an early age, loved being outdoors, and learned to push against the boundaries, those austere iron gates that dared to limit my horizon--and where my mother often stood as a keeper.
Stubborn, I was forever reaching beyond the no's, always daring to test the waters for love and acceptance, though never able to catch more than a ripple or two.  And in spite of the fear that hovered and bellowed its thunder, sometimes overwhelming me with torment--You will never be enough!--I still hoped little-girl hope.  And I still dreamed little-girl dreams.
Because somewhere deep within was a longing for beauty and significance, and an innate, but not fully understood, sense of knowing a secret, one the world hates and wars against:  God fashioned us for romance.
He Loves Me
When I was in the second grade I penciled my first love poem to Ralphie MacFarland, a scrappy Irish boy with sun-bleached hair that hung to his shoulders and spiraled like my dad's.  His cornflower-blue gaze caused my heart to flutter a hundred butterflies. Ralphie lived in a boxy, brown-shingled cottage nestled snug among the pines, directly across the street from where my friend Molly's parents ran a dairy farm. 

In the "summer of love" Molly and I sat often among the blades high on a hill overlooking the little Cape Cod, up behind the barn where Bessie and the Jerseys grazed.  Some days we flopped on our backs, barefoot in the green, and dreamed dreams all color while adrift on clouds crossing a cerulean sea; and sometimes we plucked velvet the white of daisy petals round and round until they prophesied true:  He loves me.  He loves me not.  He loves me!

I got brave one day, in spite of the butterflies, and pedaled my royal-blue banana bike, streamers flying glitter from the handlebars, through the center of town to Molly's to ask her to deliver my verses, the brown paper now creased and wrinkled from hiding in my pockets. Along the way it slipped from my jeans into the milkweed growing along the road.
Oh, Sugar!  (An expletive I learned from my mom. {smile})
I didn't know.  Doug, my neighbor, my sometimes-best-friend and sometimes-worst-enemy, was only a few minutes behind me.  He was heading to the creek to look for crayfish--an illegal adventure we usually trekked together, illegal because of the sewage--another unknown--leaking from a neighbor's swampy backyard.  (Of course, we weren't allowed to play there either.)
Doug found the words of my heart lying lonely in the dirt, and being true to his nature and calling in life to make mine miserable, thought it great fun to read them out loud on the bus the next day.  I was mortified at the stumbling reveal of my heart!  Of course I denied it.  Vehemently.  But my cheeks, all rosy with shame, betrayed me and blabbed the truth.
Our bus, jammed with kids from both elementary and junior high schools, erupted into a chorus of oohs and ahhs.  And Ralphie, he laughed as we jerked to a stop in front of the pines, mussing my hair --a quick dismissal--as he sauntered to the front to get off.  A surge of laughter followed.  For the first time ever, I didn't get caught up in wonder of his beauty.  I couldn't bare to look.

The next five minutes were some of the longest in my life, as my friends and classmates sang a familiar playground taunt:  Missy and Ralphie sitting in a tree K-I-S-S-I-N-G.  First comes love.  Second comes marriage.  Then comes...
I couldn't get out of there fast enough, tripping down the stairs and running home with tears and snot all drivel across the shame, my heart breaking and leaking pain.  This was my first lesson in love, one of several, none of which ended in happily ever after.
To be continued...

Photo Courtesy:  flickr - Kabils

1 comment:

  1. What a compelling story - can't wait to hear the rest. Soon I hope! :)


I welcome and appreciate your kind words and comments.