BellaOnline Literary Review
Shades of Rock by Jill Florio

Non Fiction

Love Did Not Give Up On Me

Connie Werner Reichert

I threw another log on the fire and lay curled up in the fetal position on my quilted sleigh bed. “If I could have one wish,” I sighed sadly to myself, “It would be to have a family again. My sheepdog Honey placed her paws by my face and licked my nose.

I had lost both my parents when I was only nineteen. Being an only child, I was orphaned and none of my extended family offered to help me—not even my Uncle, who used to come over and enjoy my mom’s cooking during the holidays. Because of this, I was certain I was a misfit who deserved every misfortune that came my way.

I lived my life in angst. Anger, guilt and unbearable loneliness filled what was left of my shredded heart. Then, I met Julian. He was sweet—until out of desperation, I agreed to marry him. After we were engaged, I discovered he did not want to go to work as a waiter anymore. He expected that I pay all the bills and do all of the housework.

When I confronted Julian and broke our engagement and asked him to leave our home, he refused with a vengeance. I later discovered he cleared out my bank account and wrecked the Cadillac I inherited from my mother. “What is wrong with me,” I sobbed. “Certainly I am a magnet for misfortune.

Two years later, I met Marcus. He came to my door to purchase an old car that I was selling. Later, he said he loved me and I was foolish enough to believe him. Out of loneliness we became engaged. One day, a hysterical woman called my house and demanded to speak with Marcus, saying she was his wife. When I confronted him about this, he became moody and distant. The relationship ended shortly thereafter.

Wishing for a new life, I whispered Heavenward to my mother and pleaded her to tell me what to do. “Give me a sign, Mommy, “I begged. “I am so scared. You always said you would be there for me, so please—just give me a sign.

The next morning I heard a loud thump. I sat up in bed. I padded down the hallway and found the cause of the noise—a painting fell off the wall and onto the floor. It was one of my mother’s oil paintings. It depicted a house in the country with several oak trees and a brook. “Thank you, mother,” I said. “I will find a home such as this to make my own.”

I decided to leave the city and move far away into the country. It was time to begin a new life. I drove up into a small mountain town filled with pine trees. I walked into Starbucks, ordered a mocha, and sat down outside to wait for my prospective landlord, Oscar, who I found in the classified ads. He had a small cabin in the woods that was available at a price I could afford. A perfect beginning for my new life.

At that moment, when I waited for my prospective landlord, I met my soul mate. James was outside enjoying a latte, sitting on a table next to mine. He was like a golden energy filled with life and love, and we immediately connected, sharing stories and laughing. Then, Oscar walked in and sat with us. We all spent an hour talking about the weather and of all the good things this mountain community had to offer. As I rose to leave with Oscar to look at the cabin, James suddenly arose and hugged me. For the first time in years I felt comfortable enough with a man to give him my cell phone number.

The house was a dream come true. Three levels high with a small bedroom for my daughter and I to share. It also had a quaint woodstove that would come in handy for the winter. I signed a one-year lease agreement.

James himself was very persistent. It took six months of regular phone calls before I agreed to meet him for dinner. We fell in love immediately. There was just something so nice and sweet about this man that I can truly refer to him as a gentleman.

He was so different from any other man I had ever known, but he did remind me of my kind father I had lost. James always tried to make me and Lauren smile, and often brought us small gifts such as fresh fruit and imported coffee. Whenever we spent time together, my heart felt less than a stone. James liked to stroke my hair as we lay next to each other. His gentleness taught me how to trust again. I began to feel worthy. James’ love was healing me! I looked into the mirror and no longer saw a tired, weary, young woman. I saw a beautiful person looking back at me. Hope began to blossom in my heart. Dare I love and be loved?

One and a half years later, my soul mate proposed. I was ecstatic. We exchanged our wedding vows by the sea in Mendocino. Both crying tears of joy, it was difficult for us to say our vows, but we finally managed to go through it. As we looked into each other’s eyes, we became husband and wife. Our ceremony was a tender spiritual union.

I had given up on love, but love didn’t give up on me. Today, our home looks exactly like the picture my mother painted that had previously fallen off the wall. There are numerous oak trees and a creek running through our ranch.

Truly, my life is a miracle. My world, once filled with tremendous sorrow and uncertainty, is now beautiful, whole and complete.

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