Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day!!

"Written for a Lady"

Brian Schwartz headshot by Brian Schwartz

This story just popped into my head this morning and I share it with you only because it is the first piece of fiction — if that lofty word can be applied to so humble a ditty — I've ever written. It is poorly done, sappy and hopelessly romantic. Blame it on Valentine's Day. Share it with the one you love.

In a kingdom that time forgot, lives a princess. She is the most beautiful woman in the world. She is you. (You look just like you do now, of course.) You have had a fairytale childhood with a loving family, happy, utterly perfect. Unfortunately, the fame of your beauty has spread. A few kingdoms to the west is an evil monarch, and to make a long story short he presents your king with an ultimatum. Either you marry his eldest son or his armies will invade your happy kingdom and lay it waste. Your family is distraught but what can they do? You must marry that prince.

The groom's family is paying, and a perfect wedding is planned. Sadly, fearfully, you plan it. Whatever happens, you think, at least I will have the perfect wedding. When my subjects see me for the last time, they will see me happy.

It is the night before the wedding. Alone in your room, you are terrified. All your life, you have dreamed of this day. Of being united to your soulmate, the One who can satisfy your deepest, unspoken, even unacknowledged desires. But you have never laid eyes on your husband-to-be, know nothing about him, nothing. He might be coarse, ugly, bestial. He may not care about your feelings, and they will wither under his neglect. Or he might be a passionate man who is already in love with someone else, but he is forced to marry you and you will forever be denied the love which he bestows upon another.

And so you shiver in anguish. Tears touch your eyes. Because he might be good and kind and loving. Maybe...the One? But what are the chances of that? And so, ecstasy or torment, Heaven or Hell…in a few hours you will know.

The night of anguish is over and a day of waiting has passed. Now it is night again. The time has come. Carefully, you put on makeup. Whatever may come, you are determined to appear your finest. Then, your gown, the gown you have seen for years, in your fantasies. White silk, thick, soft, caresses your body. And you realize with a shiver that when next you take that gown off — or it is ripped from you — your life will have changed forever.

The walk is all too short. Trembling, your heart thudding, you enter the cathedral. Proudly, you walk, head held high...determined that though your fear is so strong that it has engulfed you like a tidal wave, none shall see it. A long aisle, high vaulted ceilings, a night of a million candles, you've been there a thousand times in your dreams...but you barely see it now, all your being is focused on the one thing that will determine your fate forever.

By the altar he stands, proudly, and yet even from afar you detect a certain trembling. His fate too, it seems, is to be decided forever in the next few minutes. Something is drawing you toward that man. Closer you walk, closer, and the air has become a liquid you glide through, glide, as if drawn by a force as strong as gravity, as subtle, invisible. And you meet his eyes, and suddenly your whole being melts. Burning, filled with passion and kindness, strength and love. Yes, that's what fills his eyes, and that's what fills you too. Closer, closer, and suddenly the wedding protocol is totally forgotten. You've thought of it and nothing else since you were a small child, and suddenly it is of no more importance than the lemurs of Madagascar. There is nothing in the world but this man, these eyes, and suddenly, without knowing it - against your will? not exactly, but your will has ceased to exist, somehow, without warning — you are in his arms. Drowning in his eyes. And then…drowning in his kiss…

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