Saturday, January 22, 2011

My Funny Valentine

My Funny Valentine

The clock chimed 3am. She was in town. The woman Zach spent half his life loving. His wife. No his ex-wife Shannon. The woman he owed so much yet, gave so little of himself too. Shannon. Standing at the window looking out, the falling snow reminded him of the nights he and Shannon spent sharing ice cream sundaes and making snow angels.

Those were the days he longed for when the relationship went sour. They were also the reason he waited so long to commit to Meredith. He’d been happy once and then suddenly one day he woke up and the love was gone. Walking out the door never seemed to be an option. He was a man in a marriage that wanted his freedom. Staying did not make any sense.

He remembered the day he came home and the closet was empty. He was relieved that she was leaving. Relived that she not him had the courage to walk away. Sometimes he thought he knew the day the loved end and sometimes he was not sure. What he knew for sure was the last two years of their marriage it was a struggle just to come home at night. Looking over at the dresser he saw the plague he had made the day after she left “a house divided cannot stand”. Abraham Lincoln was right. Their house was divided before she left. Divided, not standing, but sinking in a river of misery.

It was his fault. He’d insisted on the marriage and moving back to Centralia. Shannon wanted to wait to get married after she finished her masters and start their new life somewhere else. He’d gotten his way and they married a year earlier than expected and she’s finished her masters as his wife in Centralia. Maybe they could have made it if he had been more flexible and listen to her with his heart instead of being hard headed, stubborn or determined to have his way.

It was the reason he sent Jay to the divorce proceedings. He could not face her. He remembered the morning she left. He’d kissed her good bye and never looked back. The divorce was his fault. He’d made their lives miserable. Two years of a miserable existence and he could not even face the woman he’d loved more than life itself at one time.

In an attempt to atone for his failures in the marriage he did what he could to easy Shannon’s way as she started a new life. One night while making snow angels she said it was her dream to live in Paris and teach art to American school children when they retired. That’s why he bought her a house in Paris and pulled a few strings to get her an interview at an American school teaching art. He even hired a PI to keep track of her and make sure she was happy and settling into her new life. He was sure if she made it six months she would stay forever.

He waited 6 months before he started to write her. He was still angry with himself for the way he treated her. His first letter was an apology. She never wrote back. But that never stopped him from writing month after month. Then out of the blue after two years she wrote back. He she said should could never forgive him but she could admit her part in the marriage going sour. They both were responsible in some way for the dissolution of their marriage. They wrote to each other for years by snail mail though they did often use email he still loved to send and receive letters in the mail.

He was glad when she met Peter an American Business living in Paris. He had his PI check him out to make sure he was good guy for his Shannon. The first time he saw Shannon in 5years was when he went to Paris to give her away at her wedding. Unconventional for most but for the two of them it was right. Over the years they’d developed a deep and abiding loved that was more than what they had when they were marriage. This was the real deal friendship they never had while they were married.

Across town

The clock chimed at 3am. This was their time to share. Zach and she use to get up late at night and make ice cream sundaes and talk until sun rise. The first year she spent alone in Paris she would wake up and think of Zach and cry. It took sometime but she was finally able to sleep after she married Peter. They now had their own special time. Mornings were the nectar of the Gods that she and Peter shared.

Zach’s Place

She was worried. The tingle in her back was growing worst and Zach could not sleep. Something wicked was coming their way and she was sure it was directed at she and Zach’s relationship. Pretending she was sleep she rolled over as Zach got back in bed and pulled her close.

There was a problem and she was not sure what it was as she snuggled closed to the man she loved. Listening to his heart beat she smiled. It took 4 years for Zach to finally come around and accept their relationship. Now in one day it seemed something had shaken it to its foundation.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

My Funny Valentine

My Funny Valentine

It was less than a month before Valentine’s Day. Meredith wanted to plan something special for Zach. Their engagement had been the talk of the town for weeks. Five years in the making Meredith was ready to settle down and enjoy life with Zach.

The Chocolate Lady opened the day after Christmas and sells were good so far. With only a month until Valentine’s Day Meredith had lots of orders already for special gift baskets, cakes and chocolate fountains that she and her staff of three were working on.

Stringing the Valentines in the window she noticed a raven haired women getting out of her walk crossing the street. The woman must be new in town. Meredith did not recognize her or her car. Besides very few people would walk in the elements when the underground rail system linked all the house and stores in town. The streets of Centralia were empty and had been that way since the Christmas holidays.

Glancing at the woman again as Meredith watched as she was headed to the courthouse. Maybe she was not a new comer at all. Getting off the counter Meredith felt a tingle go up her spine. If she remembered correctly her grandmother would say “something wicked this way comes”. The woman stood for a moment at the courthouse before she walked in. Ensuring she was not caught in the approaching snow storm Meredith was relieved when the woman walked in as the snow began to fall.

Sitting down on the large bench surrounded by gigantic glass windows Shannon watched as the snow began to fall. It has been years since she had enjoyed a lush snow fall. Turning she looked around the centuries old courthouse. The place was always opened for stragglers who got caught in a snow storm or lost their way in the winter. There were signs to direct visitors to the rail system below or the root cellar filled with fresh food each week. There was even a full service hotel under the courthouse for visitors or in case of a town emergency.

The streets were empty she guessed most of the towns people were probably using the underground rail system to stay out of the snow and cold. Smiling Shannon walked over to the newspaper stand and bought a newspaper. It was time to catch up on what she’d missed over the couple of weeks while traveling to Centralia.

Putting her paper under her arm Shannon wondered down to stairs to the hotel under the courthouse where she’d already booked a room. The small lobby was empty except for Taylor the bellhop. Smiling and taking her key Shannon headed down the hall to her suite her only thoughts were on tomorrow.

Flopping on the bed Shannon removed her shoes and hoped Centralia was ready for her.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

My Funny Valentine

The road to love is never smooth. Witness the visitor that just arrived in Centralia. All lovers due well to remember: A once broken heart is stirred anew when whispers of a new love spark flames afar.

Snow covered most of the town. The beautiful woman stepped out of her rental preferring walking to reacquaint herself with the town she spent much of life in. Looking around not much had changed since she left town years ago. That’s what she liked about Centralia it rejected change.

People came and went most didn’t die but they did leave for centuries or generations only to come back to the place they called home. Centralia was built in the heart of the Republic of Vermont. It was a small town that everyone who ever stepped foot in it never wanted to leave.

She remembered the day she left. It was the hardest thing she ever did. Her marriage was over. The love of her life was distant, unapproachable. She needed more than he was ever going to give her. He did not love her anymore and she refused to continue to try to make the failed relationship work.

The week before she left for good she packed her bags leaving the closet bare of anything that belonged to her. Silently she hoped he would notice the empty closet. Everything she owned was removed from the house. She was not disappointed when he didn’t.

He stopped noticing her 3 years ago. She could almost touch the hour, the minute, the second that his heart untwined from hers. It was Valentine’s Day the same day they meet and the same day they married year later. They sat at dinner never speaking, never touching, and never speaking.

She left a year later on Valentines morning. She kissed him good bye as tears fell from her eyes. He never seemed to notice. He walked out the door never looking back never speaking. They always had plans on Valentines’. This time he never even mentioned it.

Pulling her coat closer she crossed the street. It was time to confront the pass and meet the woman who thawed the ice around Zach’s heart.

The local paper she still subscribed to mentioned he’d become engaged on Christmas. Reading the words hurt but the picture of the happy couple hurt even more. It’d been 15 years since she last saw him. He never bothered to show up for the divorce proceeding. Jay the local divorce attorney showed up with a generous settlement, a plan ticket to Paris, and the keys and the deed to a villa.

She’d spent the night before the divorce proceeding hoping; praying he would show up and proclaim his love for her or at least want to see her one last time. He did neither. She walked out the courthouse that day bitter, angry and not ready to let go of her past.

About 6 months later the first letter came. It was an apology. He’d known things were not good but he never had the courage to leave. Marriage was forever in his book. He stilled loved her but not the way a husband loves a wife or should love a wife. He gave her the option to leave him to find the love she deserved.

A month later another letter came and another month after month he wrote her. It took her some time but after two years she began to write back. Then every year like clockwork he sent her a 3 gifts one for her birthday, one for Christmas and on Valentine’s Day.

The Valentine’s gifts were the first to stop five years ago. That was the day she realized he stopped loving her. She spent Valentine’s Day crying. Her heart was broken in a million pieces. Destroyed by the knowledge that he could love again and she would never get him back.

She’d moved on that April meeting her current husband in a whirl wind affair. She was now married and the mother of two wonderful children but she’d never forget the man who she still loved. She loved her husband but a small part of her needed to know that Zach was happy and love for him had come full circle.

Stopping in front of the courthouse she pulled her hat down lower on her ears. This trip was for her soul. Her soul was the soul of woman that had loved and lost and then recovered in the arms of another man. She needed to see for herself that Zach was happy and whole.

Matthew, her husband of 4 years understood that she needed to come back home to see for herself that he was truly happy.

She remembered the day she received the first letter that mentioned his new fiancée. Are as he called her when they first met “a small irritating fairy in human form”. It was something he’d never done before, mentioned a woman in their correspondence. The letters were about his hopes and dreams and towns people. She knew there had been many women since she left but none that he wrote about. This woman was special.

Through his letters she watched as he fell in love and she suffered another broken heart. The first phone call she received from him in 10 years was about her. He wanted to know if he should be alarmed that she moved her clothes from his closet to the one in the guest bedroom.

He cared. That night she cried. Her sorrow so deep she checked herself into a spa and spent the week drunk and hurt. This woman did what she never could she made him care enough to seek out answers.

Pulling her hand out her pocket she looked at the smiling couple.

Friday, January 14, 2011

My Funny Valentine Starts Tomorrow

Meredith and Zach are preparing for Valentine's Day....The Adventure starts tomorrow.