Thursday, February 13, 2014
The winter was slowly fading away. The glowing sun, full of energy and warmth, pulsated in the blue sky, promising a sunny day. Melting snow by my window, it woke up the first flowers, who bravely poked their tiny heads through the thin icy covering. The crystal drops beamed on the white petals, as the flowers gracefully stretched toward the sun. Full of hope and poise, the young snowdrops waved with gentle leaves, greeting the returning spring. Filled with love and peace, their smiling faces brought back memories of my first love.
I had known him since birth. I lived by the river. He lived by the hill. His house was old and crowded; mine was quiet and new. He was shy and calm; I was jolly and noisy. We shared one crib and ate from one bowl. We were neighbors and non-separated friends. We were children of the postwar generation.
We grew up in a small village lost in the Carpathian Mountains. His one-bedroom house, with a cold dirt floor and a huge wood-burning stove, which took up half the kitchen, was my home too. His grandma took care of us while our parents slaved in the fields owned by the communist party. Sitting in his old crib, made from a solid piece of wood, we learned to talk and read. On cold days, we cuddled under the woolen blanket and listened to the stories his dad told our neighbors about the labor camp where the Germans took him when he was a young man. We ate warm bread, baked by his mother. It was dark, like the soil. Made from mixed grains, ground between two stones placed on the bottom of a wooden barrel, it tasted better than any white bread I ever ate. Swinging from wall to wall in the suspended crib, we pretended we were flying to space. With its squeaking rusty chains, the crib threatened to throw us out on the dirt floor. Giggling, we held tight to the metal chains secured to the wooden ceiling and watched his forgetful grandma placing a pan filled with pig grease on the wooden bench instead of the stove.
We shared many secrets, we did things we shouldn’t, we fought and we cried, we hugged and we kissed. Then we grew up. We were five years old. He told me we should get married as soon as the snow melts.
“Why not now?” I asked.
“You will see,” he said.
The winter departed and the snow was slowly disappearing. The earth was warming up under the shimmering sun. Spring arrived. One day he tiptoed to my window.
“Come with me,” he said. He impatiently waved his hands, switching from one foot to the other.
“I can’t leave the house; my mom is not home,” I said through the glass. He sighed and turned around. I saw him walking toward the narrow bridge, and then he crossed the river and disappeared between two hills.
“Wait!” I yelled through the open window, and ran toward the hills. He was climbing the hill, covered in pure white snowdrops, which peered at me with their smiling eyes.
“This is for you,” he said. He gently stretched out a shaking hand, full of delicate flowers. “I love you,” he whispered in my ear.
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