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  • Writer's pictureGiacomino Nicolazzo

Straight From The Heart...


STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART...

Edition 59. December 2023


I memorize every line And I kiss the name that you sign And darling, then I read again...right from the start Love letters straight from your heart

Edward Heyman & Angus Young


The air of that early winter night was cool. The sky was crystal clear. The stars were out by the millions. The scene was almost too beautiful to describe. Indeed...


It was all truly beyond words.


Everything she saw around her was awash in tones of silver and muted white. The brilliant light of the full moon should have made the walking easier for her to find her way up into the meadow atop the hill...the meadow that he loved so much.


The only sounds to be heard were the muffled cries of the nightbirds...well out of sight, hidden far back in the woods. It was a long walk for her in these days. She did not want to admit it, but she was not as young as she used to be. Not as agile as when he was alive, and she shared this walk with him. But despite his passing, and the passage of time, his meadow remained and oh so a glorious place to be! So quiet. So peaceful. So calming. Something was drawing her there that night...


Something she could not resist.


Atop the hill, at the very edge of the tall grasses, stood an old, lone cherry tree. Beneath it there was a small wooden table with two wooden chairs. Time, as it does with all things, had taken its toll on them...


“I remember when he put them here,” she thought to herself. “It was shortly after we’d moved onto the farm.”


In happier days, on summer evenings they would sit there together...drinking wine, watching the sun go down and talking about the small, inconsequential things that soul mates discuss...


That meadow was one of the safest places she’d ever known.


They would hold hands and talk about the future…all the things they wanted to accomplish with all the years God was surely going to give them. Neither of them had ever planned on or even thought about an ending to their fairy tale story...


They did not discuss such things.


There was only one other place in those hills where she felt as safe in her aloneness as she did in that meadow. It was at the old church down the road...


La Chiesa di Santa Cecilia della Croara


She’d always called it simply, The Croara Church.


With the full moon lighting her way, she walked quietly and carefully higher up into the meadow. Her memories were racing through her mind. Before long, her thoughts were running away with her. One memory in particular took her back in time...


back to that old church


When she was a much younger woman, when troubles would come to her in life, she’d go there to put things behind her...


when she felt the need to start anew.


She carried so many things inside her heart that she felt she needed to hide…things she would never dare to show or tell anyone. She kept them hidden in her darkness and her silence.


Over the years, as so many of the people and things she loved would leave her…she would go to that old church to say good-bye. The time-worn steps, leading up to the grand and ancient wooden door, seemed to be the best and most fitting place to say goodbye to passing things.

It was there that she said goodbye to her father in the days after his death. Years later it was there she wished Godspeed to her beloved aunt. They'd both lost their valiant but short battles with cancer.


And now he was in there her dark silent place. Now he too was gone.


She tried her best to say goodbye to him at the cemetery, standing there alone long after everyone else was gone...lost in a thousand and one memories of him. If someone had shouted her name aloud, chances are she wouldn’t have heard them.


She had buried his body the day of his funeral, but now she knew if she was going to make it through the pain in her heart, she was going to have to bury many of her memories of him...one way or the other.


She stopped walking and looked out across the hills of the farm, recalling something he’d said to her many years before...


“Sweetheart,” he said. “When I die, when I am gone, you will need to make new memories for yourself. The old ones will slowly kill you if you don’t.”


She finally realized he was right...


She was much older now and finding herself alone. And quite frankly, she was not dealing with it very well. She’d spent a whole day going through his things, sorting out what she would keep and what would go. Trying to put them away was the saddest experience of her entire life...


It was doing terrible things to her spirit and her soul.


He left her early in the morning one day in mid-winter several years before. They’d been in America at the time, spending a month or so at his old house on the Neuse River, just off Pamlico Sound in North Carolina.


He’d been sitting out on the dock for most of the morning, soaking in the warm rays of the sun, reflecting off the peaceful waters. She came down from the house to bring him lunch only to find him slumped over, struggling to breathe. His last words to her still echoed in her ears, even after all these years later…


“I promised you that I’d love you forever and ever,” he whispered. “And I have. I hope you see that. And I told you I would never, ever leave you. And I won’t.”


But in fact, he was going away. And though he swore he’d be ok, she knew a broken promise when she heard one. She knew there was no coming back from where he was going.


Now on this night...in the meadow atop the hill on their farm, she recalled his promise, and it brought her to tears. She had no problem finding the old cherry tree in the moonlight. The night air carried with it a chill, making her feel both frightened and quite alone. She stopped and stood there in the knee-high grass, looking at that old, dilapidated table and those two chairs…their two chairs.


Though they were begging her to sit, it was much too painful to give in to their plea. Instead, she simply turned around and walked back down the hill to the house.


Once inside, she closed the cold air out. She busied herself with this or that, but nothing was going to distract her enough to ease the pain of her broken heart. She lit a fire in the fireplace in his writing room, just like he’d taught her. And as it grew to flame, she went to the closet. She took down a tattered old shoe box from the top shelf. In it were letters…his letters. Love letters he’d written to her over the years...


She’d kept every single one.


She read them all, slowly…one by one. It took all night and the entire fire before she was done. Before she knew it, the morning sun was breaking over the hilltops and slowly creeping in through the windows, filling the room with a holy light.


She put the letters back in the box and returned them to the closet, placing it on the shelf just so. Pushing them back, out of sight. Then she closed the door and leaned against it with her back.


She found herself completely alone...wondering what to do next. In anguish she spoke out...


“I am lost without you!”


Her words echoed down the empty hallways, filling the rooms of the empty house.


“I am weary. I am grieving. I am carrying within me a broken heart”.


The only thing waiting for her was an empty bed, and she knew that. So, she walked without thinking, to the bedroom they’d shared. She pulled down the covers of the bed and then walked over to the window. She stood there, staring out at the first rays of sun that were peeking over the distant hilltops...


“I still believe your promise, you know,” she whispered aloud. “I still believe I will see you walking down the lane again. I will hear you coming inside and calling for me.”


But there would be no sign of him that night, or any other. She turned and stumbled into the bed. There, she fell into a shallow sleep…a troubled sleep.


She tossed. She turned. She dreamed.


Waking several hours later, she felt an urge rising up within her. Something was telling her to walk to that old church again. To sit on those steps and say good-bye to yet one more person that she’d loved more than life itself.

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