Saturday, January 22, 2011

Once Upon a Friend

I met her shortly after meeting that good looking guy in the blue jacket with matching eyes. You know the one. Snow White described him as the one song, one heart, one love.  Sleeping Beauty walked with him once upon a dream. He said, 'I can show you the world...'. I said, 'I've seen enough of that, thank you!' He said, 'I can open your eyes...'. I said, 'I BET you can buddy!' Well, eventually I learned to love a beast, and now I'm part of his world because I invited him to stay for dinner and he stayed forever. But that's another story.

This story is about a friendship long ago; a woman I came to love and admire. Someone I looked up to as a mentor and a role model. 

Once upon a friend took great pride in her home and enjoyed cooking and baking. She had seen her share of hard times and didn't want to be there again. Her life partner was also her business partner and she stood beside him most days as a saleswoman, bookkeeper and decorator. 

Our first few encounters with each other were surface and formal. Politeness and good manners superseded any underlying feelings we had toward friendship. I was young, shy, and reserved. She was older; the kind of woman that always spoke her mind and wasn't concerned with how you felt about it.

The day I really met her, was the day she threw back the covers of formality. She was on edge, and snappy. After seeing two sons married within a short span of each other, she wasn't in any position to let the third one go easily. 

She thought him too young to be serious about this girl. With legal age being twenty-one, and he being just nineteen, she felt much more secure in seeing him propped up against his fish tank raising Neon Tetras, rather than gambling on him to take and keep a wife. The young gal he wanted to marry suffered the backlash of those feelings. She and her tender soul were driven from the house on loud, fast words with tears streaming down her face. The things said to her were astonishingly cruel, and even more so were the things said about her family. The handsome lad took his hits as well, but it only served to make their determination to marry that much stronger.

Over the next few months there were other episodes strategically directed at breaking the two apart but they stuck together. They pressed on, eventually gaining the reluctant blessing of his parents.

Over time and through some heartbreaking hardships the young wife cut her way deeper into the young man's family, especially into his father's heart. Once upon a friend was harder to win over but slowly the two became friends and their bond deepened.

To Be Continued...

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