THE GREATEST LOVE STORY EVER TOLD

 

They walked together during the day. Year after year after year… they walked and worked together in the overgrown gardens. For years uncounted…side by side...

 

Folks would ask – do they ever see or speak with anyone else – does she have a name – I cannot answer those questions. I do not know. Some of the questions are more pointed. Yes, there are many that question if there was a woman up there at all.

 

The only one who might know is old Jessie. He has visited the cottage every Sunday morning for breakfast…forever it seems. He has always simply ignored questions relating to those Sunday morning meals.

 

They would see him – once in a while – getting groceries or mail, but her…never.

 

Jessie, however, would once in a while say strange things. Once he was asked about the gardens at the cottage – has he/they kept them up? Jessie was still a moment before answering quietly, “Their gardens are alive.” Everyone thought that was pretty funny. They bombarded him with more questions. He simply picked up his coat and left the café.

 

Then the Sunday morning arrived when old Jessie showed up at the café for breakfast. The place fell silent. Nobody asked any questions…something in ole Jessie’s face. I could not help myself, and went up to the cottage myself. When I pushed open the door I was struck by a sensation. A spring breeze coming off the water…dried wild flowers…it was the presence of a woman.

 

As I walked through the quiet cottage I knew it was empty. I also knew there was an overwhelming presence in the air. But, it as not until I walked through the back doors to the gardens that I was struck dumb. The plants were all swaying softly in unison and I was struck by two powerful sensations: music and sadness. A long intensely beautiful slow sad ballet was being sung. Yes, it was true the gardens were alive. Standing there overwhelmed…I suddenly realized I had tears in my eyes.

 

As I stood there wiping my eyes listening to the song from the gardens…I was overwhelmed by the fleeting presence of them both…I realized suddenly what had happened. They had left…where, how and why I do not know, but they were gone.

 

That was years ago. But the place still looks the same.

 

Jessie still goes up there on Sunday mornings. Not for breakfast – he goes up to work in the gardens. In the winter he keeps the driveway clear. I also go up once in a while. Their presence is still strong, as is the garden’s song…still strong but worn smooth with the passing of the days. Other than the two of us, the cottage is given a wide berth. Nobody else goes near the place. Jessie and I never really speak, but the few times we have bumped into each other at the cottage our eyes have briefly met. As we quietly moved through the rooms our thoughts were identical.

 

Maybe someday they will return – return to these worn wooden floors, their gardens and a quiet place in time. We do not know for sure if they will return, but Jessie and I are sure of a couple things, wherever they are they are together in love, walking and working side by side.