The icy wind whipped at my bare, tear soaked face as I hid in the shadows of Autumn’s dusk. With my head bowed and my hands stuffed firmly into my jacket, I fought off the cold air as I briskly pounded the pavement in my desperation to get home. I was having a horrible day, the kind where nothing you say or do is right, where it feels like the universe is conspiring against you and every insignificant chore becomes a painstaking mission of frustrations and complications. I longed for giant hands to reach down from the sky and scoop me up, taking me above the rain and the gloom so I could curl into a comforting ball of denial and release. As I fumbled for my keys I knew I would have to be satisfied with hiding under my duvet until I was prepared to face another day. No-one was coming to rescue me.
He must have seen me as he sat in the traffic opposite my front door. He must have seen me wipe the tears from my eyes with the sleeve of my jacket. He must have seen the hopelessness on my face as I searched every pocket for my elusive house keys. He must have seen that I needed him.
‘Hey, you alright?’ he hollered out of the window of his white van. The headlights of passing cars lit his face, baring his expression of concern in short, sharp bursts.
‘I’m really not’. Another burst of tears welled up in my throat. I couldn’t contain them, couldn’t hold it together for another second longer. Not in front of him.
He gestured towards the church as the traffic carried him along. I shoved my hands back into my pockets, turned back the way I had come and took a shortcut down a nearby alley.
The floor of the graveyard was a carpet of orange, red and brown leaves glistening with fresh raindrops. The wind groaned through the spindly branches of the trees and they creaked in ominous response. The sky had fallen dark so quickly that it was as if the moonlight hadn’t yet caught up and only the flicker of a dying street lamp alerted me to his arrival. I held my breath as I watched him walking down the path towards me, wanting every part of my body to be focused on the details of his stride, the way his arms moved, the sound of his boots on the gravel path. I never want to forget even the smallest of moments with him.
Face to face, both with our hands in our pockets and our shoulders hunched against the wind, I looked into his troubled brown eyes and allowed him to see the tears that crept down my cheeks.
‘I can’t do this anymore,’ I whimpered.
He put a comforting arm around my neck, put his warm lips to my forehead and then ushered us both into the church. It was a relief to be sheltered from the darkness outside, but the white walls and bright light only served to show him the full extent of my desperation. I tried to shy my face from him, but he took it in his hands and kissed me again, my tears rubbing off onto his palms. Sat on a wooden bench with hard, tapestry covered cushions, I regaled my woes and angst of the last few weeks, burying my face into his chest and wrapping my arms around him as tightly as I could. I didn’t want to let go. If I let go the moment would be over and I so needed this moment. I needed him. He held me, barely speaking except to offer words of sweet, appreciated solace.
‘Are you going to be ok? What do you need?’
I smiled at him, remembering how he was the kind of man who always wanted to make things better for me, to fix things, to provide. I’d been so worried about him over the last few weeks yet my own melancholy had prevented me from asking after him. I reached up and traced his bearded jaw line with my finger, down his neck, until it came to rest on his collarbone. I rubbed the soft material of his sweater between my fingers. I wanted to climb inside that sweater with him and feel his skin on mine, to melt into him.
‘I’m ok if we’re ok,’ I whispered.
‘We’re always ok,’ he shrugged, taking my hands in his and warming them with his breathe, ‘I do love you, you know’.
That was all I needed. Those three little words from him were like giant hands reaching down from the sky, scooping me up and taking me above all the rain and gloom. I was rescued.