The beginning and the end

I have a story to tell and it’s taken years to find the proper words to tell it. I met the man who would help to grow my soul in January of 2004. We were both students at the same small community college and we had signed up for the spring children’s play – a production of The Prince and the Pauper. He played the role of a rich and wealthy lord. I played the role of an old beggar woman.

After all these years, I cannot recall when it started for me. It must have been sometime after seeing one another day after day during rehearsal that we struck up a conversation and a connection began to grow. As he would tell it, his own feelings began one night as we were practicing stage blocking and I was quietly reading backstage in the low light. He could remember what I was wearing. He could have told you the style, length, and color of my hair. He even would remember the way I’d hold my body or the manner in which I would turn a page. Eventually, there was one night after rehearsal he offered to walk me back to my dorm.

It was cold that night and the ground was covered in a sheet of ice. We laughed with one another as we shuffled along. At one point, I slipped and fell. As he was helping me up, he gripped my hand with gentle strength and looked me in the eye. He spoke words that still echo in my ears. “I can save you from a lot of things darling, but I cannot save you from yourself.”

He called me “darling” that night. He continued to call me “darling” many nights after that. He has been dead seven years now, but every night when my head rests upon the pillow, I can still feel him kiss my cheek and whisper in my ear “good night, darling.”

Now you know the beginning and you know how it ends. The goal of marriage is for it to end with someone’s death. It makes marriage seem rather strange to think of it that way. What you don’t know is everything that happened in the middle – and that is the most interesting part.

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  1. Right. So maybe you should tell us the middle.


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