How Did Love Endure Then?
by Meredith Dixon
Rated "R" by the Author.
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This is neither a poem or a story. It's something new that just popped into my head; maybe it's a poestry. It's real and it's a fantasy. Hope you enjoy the wanderings of my mind. Love and communication stays the same in a way.
When I am alone and there's all the time in the world, it seems that you never phone. It seems that no one phones except sales calls or the wrong calls.
When I am busy and barely have time to breathe, the phone rings and rings and the cell phone echos along with it reminding me that yes, there are people who I want to and need to talk to but there's no time.
I admit it; I love to talk and talk.
I love to keep in touch and find out all of the news, tell each other our secrets, our fears, our dreams.
Everything, anything on the phone.
I wouldn't have been a very good pioneer woman.
In the midst of my baking bread and pulling stff, dry laundry off the line in our little cabin, I would look for a phone to call someone.
(Back East Father had a phone for us--one of the first in our neighborhood in our hustling, bustling city of folks.)
No, no phone now.
No time to write newsy, chatty letters to tell you how much you all are missed.
I tried to write my sister once and your long awaited meal did burn. I just couldn't seem to stop pouring out everything to her.
She had written me a long letter filled with the Family news, juicy gossip, pictures cut out of the newest women's magazines of the latest fashions.
I cried and I laughed over her loving, happy letter and looked down at my greasy, everyday cotton dress filled with the day's work that even my apron could not hide.
How do I try and write again and explain my life and my life with my new husband in this wilderness?
It would sound so cold and bleak; so mudane compared to what was going on back East.
I don't want to worry my Family.
We do have occasional visitors and sometimes we have a few rare get-togethers of warmth with other new people here.
The rare times my new husband and I have for each other are few and far between if we're not too tired.
Within the hardships we have endured this past winter, we have kept some kind of unspoken agreement not to complain to each other.
What did you say to me? "Keep our eyes on the Lord. We are here for a purpose. Spring will come soon."
He's a man of few words now like most I guess out this way.
I do remember that when he first courted me, the words flowed like wine into a drunkard's thirsty mouth.
He poured his heart, dreams and soul into me and we fell in love.
Me, the spinster, who most people had given up on was actually loved and wanted!
His plans were to go back West where he had lived for a year.
And this time he wanted to bring back me as his wife.
He knew I was afraid and even timid.
But I knew he believed in me and I believed in him.
But I knew my limitations and he refused to let that deter him.
I was strong but yet had some kind of weakness. Some fragility that prevented me at times from working hard.
But within my well blessed Family that was no problem.
But it was another thing to go out West to what would be there.
His love made me strong or feel very confidant that I could be a worthy partner.
As he told me of the beauty to be seen in the woods, the mountains surrounding the pasture where he already had a little cabin with a clear, stream nearby; I fell in love with his dream too.
He told me of the friends he had made and all of his adventures.
Just the space of it all blew a fresh wind into my soul.
I began to feel stifled in my once beloved City.
I would go to bed dreaming about running free and wild in a field.
I even dreamed running naked along with the horses he had told me about.
Once in the Park in the City, he had teased me about something and started to chase me.
My hat flew off and I ran so hard like those horses.
He caught up with me and we tumbled to the ground but we didn't care anymore about what people would say or who was even looking!
We were children and free,
in love, laughing and full of joy.
Then he held me close and kissed me and I knew that he was the one, the really true one I had been waiting for all of these years.
He had kissed me before but this was different.
It was long and hard but gentle still.
It said, "You are mine and I will protect you."
He said, "Marry me now; we can't wait. Please come and share this adventure with me for the rest of our lives."
My Father stood there livid; his eyes burning with disappointment and anger.
My Mother was crying.
My Sister was secretly happy for me.
I could see it shining in her eyes!
I would not listen to anyone but him and my heart said to go and trust this man with my life.
I believed God was leading him and we did pray about the realities.
He bought huge loads of supplies and essentials.
He left me room for my beloved walnut hope chest that was filled with years of planning for my life as someone's wife.
I had to leave most of my beloved books behind and of course, all of my very fashionable clothes and impractical shoes.
I didn't care. I had him. We had our dreams.
Begrudgingly, my Father arranged for us to be married at our church before the wagon train left.
It was a simple wedding but to me the Queen of England couldn't have had a grander wedding.
I wore my Mother's wedding dress as was our Family's tradition though I could barely fit in it.
My Sister gave me a locket with a tintype of her and me when we were small.
My Mother was the "something blue"!
Crying and going through her delicate hankies one after another.
My Father surprised me with beautiful, fragrant red roses that filled the minister's small office in the church where we stood to be wed.
The roses filled the air with their freshness and promise of hope for our future.
My Father even had gotten me a bunch of purple violets to carry with a lacy ribbon tied all around them.
He gave me away with love and apprehension in his eyes.
No time for music, my Mother's crying sufficed.
Father kissed me so gently on cheek and held me a minute longer than usual.
He gave me to my almost husband who was grinning.
The vows were short.
Did I really promise to obey?
A quick, chaste kiss at the end and we were married at last.
Afterwards we celebrated at our Home.
Most of my closest friends came and actually squealed with delight at my good fortune and my handsome husband.
Most of them were already married and had children and were settled into that kind of contentment that years can bring.
I could see the loving envy in their eyes as they talked of my new adventure.
The wedding and reception was so hastily planned that few of our Family members were there. No time for the out of towners to come.
I could see my elderly Grandmother looking at me with piercing eyes that looked me up and down and then she did the same to my Husband.
Finally, she came over to us and held me close and I smelled the familiar toilet water on her clothes and smiled.
It was such a wonderful reception!
Cook had whipped a grand buffet and a beautiful tall cake we feasted on.
Everyone made a toast to our future.
OUR future; how nice for a change.
It was the last party I have been to.
We had one night together.
It all went so fast.
I had waited for years for a wedding night.
I knew my Husband knew what he was doing but I had not a clue.
I have to confess that I closed my eyes and clenched my white, silky nightgown to my breast.
His gentle kisses all over me awakened something I had never felt before and I let go of the nightgown and he helped me out of my undergarment.
He told me that this was just the beginning.
So many of my friends had told me that the first night would hurt and it would take a long time to "get used to it".
What pain there was, was swiftly replaced by sweet, deep thrusts of ecstasy.
No one had ever told me of this!
The romance novels my Sister and I had sneaked for so many years would always stop at this part.
My dear husband became even more precious to me with his manly tenderness.
He showed me a way to love that we could share together.
And yet he still showered me with those kisses all over until I could take no more.
He held me all night and murmured sweet things of our intimate love.
My heart beat so fast and finally slowed down with him holding me all night.
Oh, why, did we have to get up so early and leave?
It was my turn to envy my married friends who had spent month long honeymoons in Europe.
My little Family gathered near our wagon to kiss and hug and say good-bye.
Our little wagon filled with hope which was now our first home until we reached the cabin.
I was so happy and excited that even their tears didn't move me
except for the ones in my Father's eyes as we pulled away.
Of course, we would be back to visit in a year or so.
Long, dusty, boring, slow journey,
it seemed safe enough.
No wild Indians or stampeding animals.
The stars were so beautiful at night
and I tried to count each one as we would sit around our little campfire.
Along with the others, we were tiny little glows of light in the darkness.
During the day by my Husband's side.
Knowing after we had camped for the night and he would help me make our simple dinner that we would crawl into the wagon and hold each other close on our feather bed.
Knowing we would have a few hours of him showing me this new love but how quietly we moved to this new rythmn.
Finally, my bottom got so sore from the hard wooden seat that I crawled down to walk with some of the other women and children and stretch my legs.
But my husband would never complain so I wouldn't either and would just try to walk it away.
The women held me close as a novice although I was twice the age of most of them.
They taught me so much during our talks and at night I would try to remember to scribble down all that they had said.
I had brought a new journal to write about us and our new life together but I found myself cramming it instead with recipes, herbal remedies and every bit of information and wisdom that they shared with me on how to survive that my Husband had failed to mention.
I knew he was a man
but I had thought he knew everything.
He had been thinking like a man.
Despite his help at night and in the morning; I knew that he hadn't realized how little I knew for this new life ahead of us.
Or maybe he just believed in me so much like I did in him that he thought that I inherently knew it somehow.
Who knew then? I didn't ask him.
Instead I asked these women, these angels of mercy, endless questions that they unfailingly answered with humor and kindness.
Finally we arrived!
How long had it been?
My once creamy face, despite my sunbonnet, was freckled, dark and in my ivory handled mirror that I had managed to bring, I discovered tiny lines around my eyes despite the heavy cream I had put on every night before we went to bed.
My hands were calloused and hard despite all the lemon juice and lard I would rub into them.
I laugh now to think that I thought I looked rough then!
My husband was a few years younger and his thick hair had been streaked by the sun and his beard had grown and was fuller to the touch.
His face was smooth and tan and open to everything.
So handsome is he and beautiful soul.
Our one mirror that my Husband had put in the cabin now shows a woman I've never seen before.
It's like I've aged ten years through one hard winter here in the West.
I look more like my Mother; I feel more like I could pass for her younger sister.
I never thought of myself as being vain.
I just wanted to look beautiful for him while I still could.
He seems to love me as strongly as before though it seems deeper, quieter and more intense.
Our love making nights are now few and far between.
We did get to run in the meadow like I had imagined when we first arrived.
But camping turned into living.
I learned to cook on an iron cast stove and bake bread in the stone oven without burning it too often.
My delicate achievements I had learned in the City were no match for what I needed to do in the cabin.
My lacy doilies just didn't seem to fit and keep us warm.
My knitting was inferior and my sewing quite inadequate.
But we stayed warm and fed and only once did I have to use the mustard plaster I had learned on our trip here for my husband when he became ill.
That was very frightening. A simple cold gone bad.
Thank God for those women and all the hot tea we had in store to nurse him with.
Our nearest neighbor, five miles away, came over and chopped wood for a few days every day and fed the animals.
I was only good with the squawking chickens and our pet dog.
But still he loved me.
Every month he waited to see if I had my "visitor" or not.
That was the only time he would look sad and sigh.
Had I waited too long?
There were times I secretly wished that I would not get pregnant until we had been here longer.
I didn't know if I could handle a pregnancy yet and a birth with no doctors nearby.
I did meet a kind woman who was a midwife and she did teach me how to make a herbal tea that would help me conceive but often I would not drink it and dumped it in the bucket when he was not looking.
I wanted to wait despite his eagerness.
But I was too afraid to tell him and that he would be angry and wish he had married someone younger than I.
Spring would be coming soon and with it, more work but more freedom to go outside.
We planned the garden carefully over the winter days he could not go outside and work.
Those howling nights of storms would only make me cling to him closer at night.
Spring, spring; it soon became my new song.
New life, warm sunshine, blossoms and a chance to see other people more.
I love my Husband so
but there is no phone to talk to my Family.
I can't tell him that.
Instead I will pick a tree and pretend it's my own phone to my Family and Friends and I will tell my Tree all that I have stored up inside this long winter.
I suppose it will seem odd to see a woman embrace a tree and cling to it and cry.
But that is what I am waiting for.
To let out all of these tears and cry.
And then I can go on.
My husband is so kind and good.
He keeps us going, it's true .
I never knew how it would really be.
But I don't think he really knew either with a city woman there.
But if I have him, our prayers, our love, my tree and my journal, I think I can make it through the next winter.
I plan and hope and worry; it's true .
I still don't like to pluck a chicken.
But I have this love I won't let go.
And I know what Christmas present I will give him.
I will drink the tea and lure him to bed earlier this summer. We will laugh more easily and make this child he wants so badly.
And then there will be three.
This is the love for me.