Saturday, August 27, 2005
Today, I had the chance to see my friend Kristen, but unfortunately had to work. I felt very sad knowing that this couple hours of work was going to keep me from seeing my friend. I, with every fiber of my being, wanted to call in sick. I felt like there was no real reason I was necessarily needed that day, but I knew the responsible, mature thing to do, was go to work. I'm always thinking of the responsible thing. So I sat at my desk this morning, fielding phone calls from clients and organizing paper work, fully hating the fact that I was there. Then in walks this sweet, generous lady from Liverpool, England who always finds a way to make me smile. Mrs. M is one of those women who would do anything for anyone and has a heart the size of Texas when it comes to people and animals. She lost her husband of over 50 years not too long ago, and then the death of her beloved feline followed shortly after. She put her own health and well being on hold in order to give the best care possible to both of her loves. She has children strewn across the country and had little help in caring for either. We haven't seen Mrs. M around our office lately as she lives in a town outside of Stillwater and doesn't have much need to come in as often. So seeing her walk through my doors was a ray of sunshine that I needed this morning. She brought in a homeless cat in order for us to find it a great home. That is so like her. Then she sat me down and said, "Sweetie. I need to tell you a love story. I think you need to hear my story." (How did she know?!) We took a seat in the waiting room and she patted my knee as she began to speak. Her frail voice wavered as she searched for the words. She proceeded to tell me of her first, and deepest love. A man named Hans that she met in England when she was young. It was during WWII when she met him and they fell instantly in love. He bought her a bright gold watch and told her how much he cared for her. She loved him as well, but found it very hard to express it, as she did not want to be a widow. She watched as homes and businesses throughout town were bombed and destroyed. She heard of family and friends going missing...never to return. Hans left for his ship and she didn't hear from him for 9 months. She told me, "I didn't let no grass grow under these feet, Love, I kept right on dating." She later came to find out that he had been a prisoner of war and that he had spent all those months thinking of nothing but her, home. Months passed and she was leaving her home to visit her sister. As she was walking out the door, she spotted Hans. He was standing on her driveway. He had traveled a great distance to see her again and then took the trip with her to the train where they boarded and headed for her sisters. They then took a ferry ride for the last leg of the trip. She knew he would propose once they reached their destination. She knew he had a ring. She knew her family would be pleased. She knew how much this man adored her. But still, she turned to him and said, "I don't want to be with you anymore." She turned to walk away, only pausing to glance in his direction one last time. He stood crumpled, defeated, crying. She told me that to this day she does not know why she walked away, only that she didn't know then either. Her family was devistated once they heard the news of her decision. She moved to the US, married and had children. She lived in a small town in Oklahoma and led a happy life, but never, not even for a day, forgot about Hans. She told her girls of her lost love and they now encourage her to find him. She has booked a flight to Liverpool and has many, many individuals on the search for any clue as to where he may be. Last word was that he waited until he was in his 40's to marry. Mrs. M looked at me then and said, "Liz. I know he loved me. I have always known it. It took me this long, 60 plus years to realize that I have always loved him too. It was just buried deep down inside me." Rumor has it that he is married with children. Mrs. M told me that if he is still married, she will love his wife, his children and his grandchildren because they are a part of him. She said that she wants to meet them and keep in touch with them all, as they are a part of the man she has loved all these years. She looked at me and said, "I want him. But if he is married, I will love each and everyone of them." She then told me that she appreciated me listening to her story, that she thought I needed to hear it. Whether she knew that I too have a heart that yearns for something I can not see or whether she felt that every young woman needs to know that true love exists, I'll never know. What I do know, is that I hope upon all hope that she finds this love and that it surpasses anything she has ever hoped for. And I hope it finds her in return. One day, I will have a story like this to tell of my own, but until then, I shall dream.