"Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends."
(2 Corinthians 13:7-8)
"Mommy, tev me another story!" Alicia demanded, pulling her blanket up to her chin, and fixing her mother with her large, expressive eyes.
"But I've told you so many already!" her mother exclaimed, tucking back a strand of hair from Alicia's face.
"Pwease?" Alicia begged, with all the innocence of a three year old.
"Oh, okay then," her mother relented, and opened a book to read another story.
"Mommy, don't wead 'em, tev me one just vike that, from your 'magination." Alicia said, frowning at the book her mother held.
Her mother sighed, and then thought for a minute. She smiled as she recalled a story from her childhood, one that her own mother had told her. Recalling the sound of her own mother's voice, she started.
"This is an old legend," she said, "one that my mother told me."
Alicia listened quietly as her mother began.
"When God made the world, he made all kinds of things. Most of all, he made people. He liked making people. He made good, honest people and helped them lead a good honest life." She looked at Alicia. "Do you understand?"
Alicia nodded and asked her mother to go on.
"Well, when he made these people, they became families and for a long time, the world was a happy place. Then one day, God saw a young lady crying in the church. He listened as she poured her heart out.
She said, 'No one loves me anymore; what can I do?' She was crying very badly, because she felt lonely."
"Wouldn't you feel bad if no one loved you?" mother asked looking at Alicia, only to see a sad little face staring up at her from the pillow, nodding her head.
"I wouvd fev bad mommy." Alicia said softly, feeling sorry for the woman in the story.
"Yes, this young woman felt bad too. So, to make her happy, God called one of his angels. He said, 'That woman is unhappy. She has not met her soul mate yet. Could you help her find him?' the young angel, with wings of pure gold, said yes. Then, the angel flew down from heaven and helped the sad young woman find love."
"Was she happy then mommy?" Alicia asked.
"Yes honey, she lived happily ever after.
When the little angel went back to heaven, he found that one of his gold feathers was missing and in its place was a pure white one. He was worried and went to God, to ask him why his feather had fallen off. God told him 'When an angel helps someone find love, that angel loses a golden feather and in its place grows a white feather. That feather shows that the angel has done a good deed.'
The angel, after listening to God, went away determined to have a lot more white feathers."
"Where did the gold feather go then mommy?" Alicia asked her eyes wide.
"Well, they say that the person who has found true love finds the feather, and keeps It.", her mother said softly, tucking her daughter in.
"Wiv an angev hevp me too mommy?" Alicia asked, curious.
Her mother kissed her forehead and whispered, "Yes honey. An angel will help you too."
"Gimme another shot." Alicia told the bartender, after draining her seventh glass of vodka for the evening. She never drank, but today was a special occasion. Yes siree today was decidedly special. Today was the day she came home to find her husband in bed with his secretary.
She had walked in that afternoon, intending to surprise Julian by coming home early to prepare dinner, but when she went in she heard the sounds coming from the bedroom.
Her first thought was the Julian had arrived home from work sick and was throwing up, but she was confronted with the real reason when she opened the door. There he was, kissing and pawing his naked secretary.
They were so engrossed in what they were doing that they didn't even notice she had come into the room until she walked over to them, yanked the bitch from her husband's arms and gave him a hard slap on his face.
Distraught, she had walked away, tears streaming down her face, turning a deaf ear to Julian's explanations and apologies. She strode out of the front door and slammed it in his face when he tried to follow her. She then raced down the steps and made her way to a small bar near their house.
Now here she was doing something she had sworn never to do. She was drowning her sorrows in glass after glass of alcohol. When the bartender placed yet another shot in front of her, she drained it quickly and asked for another.
By this time, the bartender, who had plenty of experience with such matters, served her shots with more water in it than vodka. She drank on, visions of their life together passing in front of her eyes like a film reel: the time they were in college; the day they got married; their honeymoon; the day they moved into their house; the day they got their St. Bernard pup ... and now the day when he cheated on her with his secretary.
Suddenly, she broke into loud sobs, startling everyone in the bar. The bartender slowly and gently managed to move her to a corner table which was secluded, so she could cry in peace.
She lost count of time, and just sat there, wondering why he would do such a thing, why he would want another woman in his life when he already had her. Perhaps she wasn't good enough? Perhaps she wasn't a good wife?
All these agonizing thoughts kept swirling around in her mind until she suddenly exploded in anger. All her anger was directed at Julian, at how he could possibly cheat on her. Didn't he say he loved her? And didn't people who love each other always stay faithful? She had always remained faithful, even though there was temptation everywhere.
She was startled out of her reverie when she felt a hand on her shoulder. When she looked up, her eyes met the face of a strikingly beautiful woman. She had wild, black hair, a slender frame and gleaming brown eyes which were now filled with understanding and pity
She sat down next to Alicia and ordered a beer. Turning to her, she said, "I know I'm a total stranger, but I am a good listener. Mind telling me what's bothering you?"
Alicia was never one to open up readily with strangers, but today she was ready to spill it all out.
"I went home this afternoon," she said between sobs. "I found my husband, Julian, in bed with his secretary. Guess I'm not good enough for him anymore. Why did he have to do this ... why?" And she broke down again, crying so hard that her whole body shook.
The woman sitting drew her close, comforting her.
Gradually Alicia's sobs subsided sufficiently for her to ask the woman's name.
"My name is Agnes." she said.
"Well, Agnes, I'm really sorry for dumping this on you but..."
"Aw sweetie, its okay. I work as a counselor anyway; this is nothing new to me."
"Guess I'll have to divorce him now."
"Why do that?"
Alicia stared at Agnes uncomprehending.
"Agnes, he cheated on me! I think that's bad enough for me to get a divorce! I can't possibly live with a man I don't trust."
Agnes looked at Alicia thoughtfully and spoke, "Did you ever stop to think what he would be feeling now?"
"Why should I? He's the cheater, not me. He's probably happy now. Once I'm gone, he can set up with that secretary of his and screw her brains out for the rest of his sorry life!" Alicia said angrily.
Agnes sighed and didn't say anything for a while. When she spoke again, she chose her words carefully.
"How long have you two been together?"
"We've been married for four years, but we've been together since college I guess," Alicia said, puzzled. "Why do you want to know?"
"I just want to. Now, why did you get married?"
Alicia stared at Agnes, not able to figure out why she wanted to give her cheating husband a chance, but she answered the question anyways.
"Well, at that time, we loved each other. Both of us wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. Have babies, spend our lives loving each other ... all those things you think of when you're stupid and in love."
"Not when you're stupid," Agnes corrected, "Only when you really love each other."
"But he's blown it now hasn't he? He just had to sleep with that tramp!"
"Did he really sleep with her? Maybe he hasn't slept with her before. Maybe this was the first time." Agnes reasoned.
"I don't care! I saw them together, and they certainly seemed cozy." Alicia cried, angry now not only at her husband, but also at Agnes for seeming to take her husband's side.
Agnes looked at Alicia again appraisingly, and then asked. "Alicia, Have you thought about a future without him?"
Alicia slumped back in her chair, deep in thought. Would she be able to live without him? Would she be able to move on with her life? She seriously doubted that.
"I ... I don't know." Alicia finally answered.
"Ah," Agnes said, smiling, "Surely this means that you should give him another chance."
"No it does not!" Alicia said loudly, a stubborn look in her beautiful brown eyes.
"Alicia, I want you to think about what I say. I want you to think about your life with him so far. Will you do that?"
"What use is that? No matter what I think nothing is going to change what I saw."
"I want to ask you something," Agnes said.
Alicia shrugged. "Shoot," she replied.
"Remember the first time you met? The first time you saw Julian?"
Alicia did remember; she remembered as if it was yesterday.
Alicia was late for class. She had been studying all night, and had fallen asleep. She rushed down to the lecture hall, hoping that the lecture hadn't started yet. She reached the hall just in time.
She looked for a place to sit, but could see none. Suddenly, she saw a waving hand. Her eyes traveled to the person waving and saw Julian, the college football captain patting a free space next to him.
Smiling gratefully, she made her way over to him and gratefully sank into the seat. She carefully balanced her huge pile of books on the floor next to her and turned to him.
"Thanks a lot!" she said with a smile.
"No problem." he replied. "How come you're late today? You're usually the first one around."
"Well, I studied until late last night and overslept this morning." Alicia replied, looking into his handsome face.
"Oh, so you make mistakes too!" Julian teased her, his green eyes twinkling.
She blushed and turned her attention to the professor who had just entered and started giving the lecture. But throughout the class, she kept sneaking looks at the man sitting next to her, blushing if he caught her looking.
After the lecture finished, Alicia quickly gathered her books and made to get up when she felt someone tugging her T-shirt. She turned to see that it was Julian.
"I'll help you with those," he said, gesturing to her books and quickly relieved her of them. "Where do you have to go next?"
"I've got Blueman's lecture next." She said, her face flaming red at being noticed by one of the most popular guys in college.
"Me too," he said, "C'mon, we'll go together."
Saying that, he started off down the hall and then paused and looked round when he realized that she wasn't following him. He called her, startling her out of her trance. She hurried after him, admiring the way his ebony hair framed his beautiful face.
Yes, beautiful was the word to describe Julian. He had an aquiline nose, strong jaw and high, sculpted cheekbones. His green eyes could disarm anyone and his charm had women swooning.
She caught up with him, and was surprised when he put his free arm round her waist and pulled her close so he could talk to her.
"Wanna go out with me tonight?" he asked.
Stunned, she nodded her assent feeling that she was the luckiest girl in the world.
"Yeah, I do remember." Alicia said slowly. "It was magical."
"See, you have something special. You yourself are accepting that!" Agnes said a soft smile on her face.
Alicia remained adamant "But he still cheated on me."
"What about Valentines' day? The first Valentines' day you both spent together?"
Once more, Alicia found herself going down memory lane, going back to one of the happiest days in her life.
"Julian! This isn't fair. C'mon. Spill the beans. What're we gonna do today?" Alicia said and pouted, only to shriek in surprise as he suddenly grabbed her round her waist and pulled her against him.
"That," he said, whispering in her ear, "if for me to know and you to enjoy."
With that, he got up and let himself out of her room, saying that he had to get things ready for the evening.
Alicia had spent that whole day wondering what he had planned. They had started going out two months back, and the relationship was going smoothly.
Unknown to Alicia, who was under the impression that she was an ugly duckling, they did in fact made a handsome couple; Julian with his classic good looks and Alicia with her aura of mystery.
She had large brown eyes set in a small heart shaped face, with long, lustrous brown hair that hung to her waist and short brown tendrils that curled softly around her face. Both were trim and fit.
There was one thing about the relationship that was bothering Alicia though. Julian was supposed to be a womanizer, but he had never once suggested they have sex, he had been a gentleman. She appreciated that because she was a virgin and wanted her first time to be with someone she was sure she loved, but still couldn't help feeling uncomfortable. What if he had a woman waiting in the stands and if he was just using her?
Alicia shook her head and expelled that thought from her mind. This was Julian she was talking about, and he would never do something like that. Smiling with anticipation at the evening that lay ahead, she went off to finish some work, so she wouldn't have to worry about that later on.
At five o'clock that evening, Alicia received two parcels from Julian. When she opened the first one, she found the most beautiful cherry red dress she had ever seen nestling inside.
It was made of a soft material and had a square neckline. It was held up by spaghetti straps. It had an uneven hemline, with one side longer than the other.
It was a simple, yet classy dress. She smiled. Julian certainly knew what she liked.
When she took out the dress, she discovered that there was matching lingerie beneath it. She blushed as she picked up the red lace bra and panties. Carefully putting the clothes back inside the box, she opened the next parcel, which turned out to be a pair of red high-heeled sandals. She found a note inside the box which asked her to wear the clothes and be ready by seven that evening.
She smiled as she read the carefully worded note that gave nothing away. She again looked at the clothes she had received. Although she knew that Julian was well off she certainly didn't expect him to buy her a complete outfit, especially one that seemed so expensive.
Still, she was exceedingly happy and went humming into the bathroom to take a shower. She stripped and got under the warm stream, enjoying the feel of the water as it cascaded down her body. She thoroughly shampooed her hair and soaped herself. She washed herself and rushed out, needing the time to get ready. After she toweled, she had put on the lingerie and the dress.
The dress fitted perfectly. It had a snug top and a skirt that flared out from her hips, sensuously defining her curves. She put on the sandals and studied the effect in the mirror. 'Not bad', she thought. She quickly pulled her hair back in a French braid, leaving soft tendrils to frame her face.
She applied almost no makeup, using only eyeliner and lipstick to highlight her beautiful eyes and lips.
Satisfied with what she saw in the mirror, she was just rising from her dressing table when she heard a knock on her door. Guessing that it was Julian, she almost ran to the door, opening it quickly. The sight that greeted her took her breath away. Julian was standing in front of her dressed in khaki trousers, a silk shirt and a casual blazer. He had a bouquet of roses in his hands.
She stood nervously as he looked at her, not knowing whether he liked how she looked or not. All her doubts were erased however when he suddenly pulled her towards him and brought his lips to the tender arch of her throat.
"Maybe we should just stay here tonight," he said, pulling back and looking into her eyes.
"No way!" she said. "I've waited all day to know what you were planning to do this evening, and I will find out if it's the last thing I do!
He heaved a dramatic sigh and feigning heartbreak said, "You've dashed all my hopes!"
Laughing, she took the flowers from him and put them in a vase and then let him lead her down the stairs. When they stepped outside her apartment building, she saw a magnificent limo waiting for them outside.
She gasped and looked up into his face, her eyes shining with delight. He smiled as he saw the expression on her face, glad that he was able to bring her such happiness.
He helped her into the limo and got in after her, then he instructed the chauffeur and leaned back, watching in amusement as she oohed and aahed over the small bar, the entertainment system and the plush furnishing of the limo. She wasn't used to such luxury, and he was glad that she enjoyed all of this.
Tear Jerker /