“Mother… What’s wrong?”
She held onto me. Her sobbing continued for just a short while, but it felt like forever. She finally eased up and moved away. Taking my hand, she took me outside the house not saying a word. We sat down on the stoop, finding a bit of the late day sun still warming the steps.
“Miranda…a story. I’ve been meaning to tell you, for a very long time. I could just never bring myself to do it. I’ve closed this part of myself off for a very long time.
This trip you are taking for work, to Italy… Your agenda… It parallels a huge hole in my heart.
Your father, know that he and I love you so love very, very much… He is not your real father. That wonderful, lovely, brilliant man that helped bring you to me, my Angel… He is long gone. We met during my first year at University. He was a year older, and he was introduced to me because of a mutual love of literature. This is the world that he lived in, that he breathed in, that shown through his eyes, his smile…it captured me within minutes.
We were so very happy. We had visited all the places that you are now going to: Sirmione, Florence, Rome, and Venice. It was a college trip and we fell in love all so completely… I think really loved before we even went there. But it was the sunset in Sirmione that we knew it was true.
It was in Venice that we first… Oh, Angel, Venice… What can I say about the magic of that time? You’re going to see for yourself.
It’s so hard to describe this complete knowing that I was with a man I’m supposed to with. It wasn’t just teenage hormones driving us, but a true sense of being loved. Completely.”
” What happened to him?” I asked, it barely coming out as a whisper.
Mother grasped my hand tighter, bringing it to her lips which she then kissed gently.
” When we got back, we were married immediately. I was 18, and you were on the way.
We were together for a year and a half. I can’t even tell you what a glorious and loving year and a half that was essentially – except for you – the whole my existence. I don’t bring it up… I have never brought it up… Because I had to put it away, or it would have destroyed me. Your father, and yes, I do consider him your father… I have never mentioned any of this to him, and he is respected my wishes to let it lie where it is. He is a good– no, great man. You know that, and I never want that to change.
There was a car accident. We had gone back to visit where we discovered love and you. You were with your grandmother, safe and sound. He did not die immediately, but it was a fatal crash. I buried him there… So close to where our path of love came from. Except for you… there was nothing that I can keep of him.
It’s was just too painful. It is… Too painful. I can’t even say his name. Yet… Yet, I do keep something of his.
You. You are everything to me and, without knowing it, you embody everything that he was. Is.
You have his grace, his wit, his love art and beauty, you even love Shakespeare way that he did, if not more so. You have his eyes, his smile, his goodness. If I can’t have him, that I have the next best thing. The most wonderful thing. You.
Miranda… You are my angel. Our angel. Never forget that. Never forget how loved you are, have been, and always will be.”
We sat there until the sun set… And sat for a while longer while the night sky took over. It was too much for her. She was weak; the chemo treatment was ravaging her body. Hugging me tight, she got up and went inside the house.
I sat there alone for a very long time. The stars were blanketed by sheets of night colored clouds. I know I cried, but I’m still not sure how much I cried for what I was missing, or what she was.