Richard W. Reith

SOULMATE

He saw her over the gulf of eternity
Sitting under the great oak.
Her body swathed in white chiffon
and lace,
Her knees up
Her body cradled over
the box… the box of gold…
her gift.

She sat there crying,
Her grief touching every fiber of her soul.
For inside the box, was her gift,
of love, her soul, her desire, her need:
The priceless seeds of her womanhood.

With love
those seeds would grow,
venture out of the box into the sunlight,
and through their growth
fill her life with color
the sweet bouquet of flowers,
the wonder of birds and butterflies
attracted by its beauty.

But her box was grey,
Covered with years of neglect,
the seeds resting on bone-dry soil.
Her heart in hibernation.
Her tears tracing lines down her cheek.

He watched her.
He understood.
She fell asleep.

She woke to see him there
The box cradled lovingly in his lap
Toolbox by his side.
He was a million miles away
across the great gulf
yet seemed to be right next to her.
And she watched,
as his loving hands treasured it
wiped away the years
brought back the dazzling shine of the gold,
made all the years of neglect disappear.
Time stood still as she watched.
The gold was battered,
dented and scraped,
marks of the pain in her life.
Each mark disappeared under his loving attention,
each dent pulled out
each scrape buffed clean.
Time, he seemed to have endless time,
as he focused his love on each flaw,
one by one,
tears in his eyes as he understood the pain each one signified,
then erasing it with his loving hands.
The gentle light from his eyes,
and the water from his tears,
nourished her seeds,
bringing life and beauty where there once was desolation.

And then he was there,
next to her.
She lost herself in his eyes
as he tenderly placed the treasure
in her hands.
“Take it forever!” she started to cry,
but a tender brush of his lips against hers stifled the cry in her
throat.
“My love,” he said,
“God has placed us on opposite sides of a great gulf.
Only He can make that gulf disappear, and He will,
in His own time.
Until then, we have His work to do,
each on our own side.
When that work is done, He will look on us with favor,
for it is He who sent me to you.”
He took her hands in his
touched his lips to hers, and said,
“But this covenant I make: when you need me, summon me.
I will come to your side.
And every night I shall return,
to wipe away every scratch,
fix every flaw,
that life has put on the gift of your womanhood.
I will lie with you and ease your pain.
And when the gulf is gone,
when eternity is ours,
I will place your gift in a place of honor,
So the world will see, and understand
That I treasure you
your womanhood
your love
your precious spirit.
They will all know that you have finally received
the love you deserve.”

And he was gone.
She wept.

Then a soft voice was heard from all around her
and inside her…
“My, child. When you thought it was a man you needed
I let you choose a man.
But he took your gift, and put it on a shelf
To wither
To die.
When you thought it was a lover you needed
You chose a lover
Who simply used your gift as a stepping stool
to reach over the walls in his life which he despised.
No, it is not a man you need,
for a man cannot comprehend your heart.
And it is not a lover you need. A lover is like a firefly,
illuminating your life for a moment,
then leaving you to deal with the darkness
Until it flashes again.
So I have taken it into my own hands
and shown you what you truly need.
He is not just a man, though a man he is.
He is not just a lover, though a lover he is.
He is the man I have given you forever…
He is your soulmate”