There was something on the air that early February day. It was a whisper of Spring despite the day being buried in an enduring and harsh winter. There was a gentle hint of a new beginning, of fresh life, of a healing heart choosing to look up to the sun and no longer remaining frozen like the snow that buried the world that cold, dead season.
For the first time in months she wore a smile that she discovered was genuine, having unknowingly set aside the painted mask of happiness needed for daily survival over the past months. For the first time in years she laid down the smothering baggage of a broken friendship, a relationship that she had felt defined her for so long. That broken friendship had become an identity she wore as a shield against life, as mourning clothes, as an epitaph on her heart. Yet for a brief moment on that chilly, sunny day she saw a life beyond the past, she saw the possibility of tomorrow, she saw hope. For a brief moment she thought of friendship and did not mourn.
The bright sun shone on a new day, a turned page in the book of life. She knew, in the few simple moments that he was before her, that a new chapter had begun to be written in her life. Like the sunflowers she planted each May, she saw the possibility of a friendship growing strong and blossoming quickly. She saw all of this as he walked across the rocky parking lot, get into his truck, and drive away. She took a deep breath, the first breath of newborn life, for that day felt like she was born again, born out of years of blind sadness and into possibility.
He was not the one who had broken her heart in the cobweb-covered past. He was not the one who had stolen her voice, and cast a deep shadow over her spirit. He was not the man who had shredded the very heart that she had given him. This man was the one that unexpectedly reopened her eyes to the future. He was the one who had reawakened her voice.
Over the following days and weeks, she reveled in her freshly reborn smile. She sought out again the connection of friendship that she had, for so long, fearfully shied away from. She opened her heart again after thinking for years that an open heart would never be possible again. She opened he heart to him. She fearlessly made herself vulnerable to this man who had brought the Spring back to her years of Winter. Like a child jumping into a fresh rain puddle, she jumped into his life blindly with both feet. In return, she was rewarded by the sight of him dancing with her in that puddle.
Their connection was immediate and strong. They were both surprised at how comfortable their friendship felt, as safe and welcoming as a soft and well-worn blanket comforting a child in a storm. Dark clouds would try to roll into her heart and convince her that he would break her heart just as it had happened in the long-gone dusty past. She would mutter to herself that they could not remain friends. But the fright she experienced in dark solitude was burned away by the sunshine he flooded her life with each day.
And it all began on the February day that whispered a secret on the breeze, a secret they would both quickly learn. It all began the day that he fell into her life, and she leaped into his. It all began the day that Spring was a hint in the chilly winter air.
Heather L. Flood