“I know you’ll make us proud tomorrow”. He looked at her reassuringly.
“Will you be there to watch me perform?” She spoke with pleading eyes.
“Sure!” He smiled at her. “I’ll not miss it for anything in the world”.
She hugged him tightly, and beaming with smiles, ran off to join the others.
Children like her.
With whom he had spent most of the day, like he often did.
Building their dreams with encouraging words.
Speaking strength and assurance in their moments of doubt.
At the book club.
And he made his way to the florist’s shop, where the old lady welcomed him amicably, as she always did.
“For the Special One, I suppose?”
She had always known of the Special One, but never her identity.
The one he always picked a fresh rose for.
With the prickles still underneath.
“Yes”. He smiled weakly.
“I hope she says yes this time”. The old lady winked. “It’s long overdue you know”.
“Let’s see how it goes”. He paid her and walked away gaily, briefly stopping by the crosswalk to drop a wad of notes with the crippled man who mended shoes; and who gave him a big smile.
He finally got to her, and knelt on the marble slab.
His mind flashed back to a time when he still had grand dreams of success, and personal fame, and wealth; until he met her.
She had given him a different outlook on life.
She had slowly taught him to place his worth in putting smiles on sad faces.
They had both fallen for themselves.
And they did wed eventually.
And the future was blissfully certain for them.
And it all changed after she took in.
With a stillbirth, and more complications leading to her demise.
“Please don’t leave me”. He had pleaded in her last moments.
“I’ll always be there”. She clasped his hand weakly. “If you promise me you’ll bring a rose for me each year after I’m gone. With petals atop to show the smiles you’ve put on faces, and with the prickles underneath to show the pains you’ve endured”.
Thus he came today eight years after, like he always did.
“I’ve brought a rose for you, Lucia”. He smiled, with tears trickling down his face.
As he gazed at her tombstone.
(I learn lessons and I tell stories…)