This is a little story that I wrote a while back for something that never panned out. In order to have a little more time to focus on Holy Week I thought to share it with you. This is the first part of a two part story. I hope you enjoy.
Jerry Waverly met the love of his life in Mary. This was not so amazing. Most everyone loved Mary to one degree or another. The amazing part was, at least to Jerry, that she loved him back.
Though she was universally loved or at least appreciated it was a strange point of fact that, when describing her, the first adjective anyone would use was, “different.” Not even would Jerry wax eloquently on her beauty, her intelligence, her honesty, her virtue, or any other of her outstanding qualities but simply stated that Mary was different. Even when asked by his brother over the phone to describe this person who had so thoroughly stolen his heart he found himself saying, “Well, Harry, I guess I would have to say that Mary is, well, different.”
Mary was indeed different and difficult to encapsulate with common descriptions. That task would have to be the job of a poet. Though Jerry had the heart of poet he lacked words. The closest he was able to come was to say that “when she was in the room it was if the sun were shining” and though it seemed short of the mark and rather trite, he was satisfied with his poetical effort for like the light of the sun there was still something not quite substantial about her. You never really possessed Mary, you enjoyed her light when she was with you and when she left the warmth of her presence stayed with you. But if you wanted to somehow hold on to a piece of her the effort more likely left an achy hole in your heart.
Despite this Harry loved her with all his heart – or so he thought. He did what he could to demonstrate to her his great devotion. Of course he employed all of the traditional means such as sending flowers with love notes, making minor repairs around her humble but charming cottage, and making sure that he always looked and behaved his best whenever he even thought he might see her. There were also employed the less than usual means of demonstrating his love. When he was painting her parlor he first painted, “Jerry loves Mary” on the wall. And then, fearing that the message needed further clarification quickly added, “and Mary loves Jerry.” Before Mary could see what he had done he quickly painted the wall completely over with the hope that somehow that subliminal message would get through to her and reinforce her love for him.
Soon he grew sick in his adoration of her. Whenever Mary left (it is difficult to say that she ever left, she seemed to just fade away) and the warmth of her visit had dissipated Jerry would mope around droop-shouldered, unable to eat, unable to sleep, neither satisfied sitting around nor being distracted by activity. The ache in his heart was extreme. “I’m sick in love with her!” he declared to himself. “There’s no helping it. I must have her! I am going to ask her to marry me as soon as I can.”
He had hoped that this decision would somehow assuage his passion for a spell but it only made it grow worse. So one day in a fit of unquenchable passion, quite out of character for him since he was usually given to romantic and picturesque declarations of his love, he fell on one knee at the bowling alley – right on the lane where Mary was picking up her ball! - and presented the ring that he carried around in his pocket and pleaded, “Marry me Mary!”
Mary’s eyes beamed and a beatific smile graced her lips, but there was something wrong. “Oh, Jerry,” said Mary, “I do love you. I love you with all of my heart. I could spend the rest of my life loving you. I would easily choose you among all possible suitors to be the object of my marital love. But even though you do not realize it, you do not love me in that manner. So because I love you so much, I say no, Jerry, I will not marry you.”
Jerry heard the words but they seemed not to make sense. He sputtered for a few moments and then, still on his knee and a bit dazed said, “No Mary. You’re wrong! I’m sick in love for you and there’s nothing for it. You are stuck in my heart like Author’s sword in the rock. I want you in my life forever Mary. I’ll do anything. Just say that you will be mine or I think I’ll die!”
They stayed mute, staring at each other for what seemed like eternity, the only sound was the rumbling of bowling balls and crash of pins in the back ground. Finally Mary sighed deeply and said, “I’ll tell you what. I’ll say yes under one condition.”
“Whatever it is Mary, I’ll gladly endure it.”
“Oh, I know you believe that dearest.” She paused for a few more moments in seeming anguish and then retrieved a serious countenance. “Here it is. We will continue from this day forth as if I said yes. But at some point before I say, ‘I do’ I will subject you to a test of your undying love and if you pass, I will choose you and love you for the rest of our lives.”
Jerry positively beamed! He knew quite instinctively that he could pass any test his sweetest could devise and so over the next six months they went about the process of planning their wedding. Every day Jerry would wake and wonder if that day would be the day that Mary would try her test of his love till finally it was days before the wedding ceremony and he began to think that perhaps the test had already occurred and he had passed it so easily that he had not even noticed it!