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So, it’s been a while since I offered something more than poetry and prose. I’ve commented more than once that my family loves my non-poetic efforts best because they’re easier to understand. Go figure!beforethis

I’m a reader. It’s as much a part of my DNA as long fingers and dark chocolate eyes. It’s not something I do, but rather who I am. Most all my books are in pristine shape because I treat them as friends, not just books. They are places and stories, and people that I fall in love with over and over again.

But some of my copies (my personal, ‘don’t let me go’ copies) are filled with dog-eared pages, cards, notes and highlighter – placeholders for words that I wish I had penned, thoughts I wish I had been able to express with such simplicity. They are the hidden treasure in every book I own. Funny, I used to think that Stephen King’s reference to characters and places from another book were the treasure. That’s not so, or at least, it’s not so now.

Last night, or rather early this morning, I finished “The Bridge of Sighs”, and it was just such a book. It took forever to start, but once started, I didn’t want it to end. I fell in love with Bobby, Lou and Sarah. At various times, their struggles aligned with mine, and even where they didn’t, I caught glimmers of people I know and love within their stories.

I want to share one such quote from the book. Maybe it will be enough to inspire you to find the book yourself, but if not, you’ll have this taste.

“Not long ago, Lou asked me if I thought he’d stolen my rightful destiny in marrying me. I told him the truth, that I loved him and I didn’t regret anything about our lives together. But do we ever tell ‘the truth, the whole truth and nothing but, so help me God,’ as my father used to say, to those we love? Or even to ourselves? Don’t even the best and most fortunate of lives hint at other possibilities, at a different kind of sweetness and, yes, bitterness too? Isn’t this why we can’t help feeling cheated, even we know we haven’t been?”

Those words resonated with me, and likely with most every person over the age of fifty.  Try as we might, we can’t help but be intrigued by the thought of a parallel life where those we love are still fixing breakfast, opening the diner, or taking out the trash – an alternate universe with a different life – maybe one we were meant to live – or one that time and fate managed away from us.

I don’t know the answer to your questions. I don’t even know the answers to my own. But what I do know is that life is incredibly sweet, regardless our misgivings, ugly truths and almost might-have-beens. We are surely blessed even in our disappointments and wonderings.

My daddy once said that there’s the life we live and the life we dream. If we’re lucky, at some point in our lives, even if just for a day, they are the same.

Let us never stop looking for those places where we wrap our arms around both – where we fall in love again with our own story.

were not for winds
those prideful storms
that ripped our fates apart
would not my hand
be found in yours
my heart within your heart

this I know
despite the rest –
the days to pass between
your soul remains a part of all
– the lives I live
and dream