Mystic Writer

Peeking out to see if there is a real world out there...

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Sweet November



I met Penny when I was in my early teens. We had mutual friends and we saw each other often at parties and get togethers. She was quiet and thoughtful, laughed occasionally but was inclined towards the serious. I considered her a distant friend who was easy to talk to but I never missed her when she wasn't there.

She moved away during college and I saw her on rare occasions through my twenties. We shared our updated life's stories, had a drink or two, and parted as friends. We both stayed single and I think that made us become a little closer as all our friends got married.

I met Jon in my early 30's. We quickly became drinking buddies and had some intense times together. On the surface Jon seemed like your classic happy go lucky kind of guy, but after knowing him for a while he opened up, and I found he had a lot of depth. He also was single and we both talked a lot about finding the right person.

We had come to the conclusion that we might never find 'the one', and I think both of us were expecting to be single for the rest of our life. We were both witnessing our friends who had gotten married earlier starting to have marital problems and divorces, and being a lifelong single was starting to seem pretty attractive. We joked about that a lot, but underneath I know we were feeling pretty lonely.

In my mid-30's a group of friends chartered a day cruise, and Penny and I spent most of the time at the rail drinking spiked hot chocolate and talking. We agreed on most everything, and it was still really easy to talk to her. She was attractive in her own way and I enjoyed being around her. I kept thinking about asking her out but never did. I think she even joked about it, but neither of us took it seriously.

The next time I heard from Jon and Penny was at a summer camping trip. They showed up late, arm in arm. They had accidentally met each other for the first time a month or so earlier and they had been inseperable ever since.

They were married soon after and every time I saw them they were together and happy. They were always aware of each other, sharing looks or hanging out together. It was truly beautiful.

After a couple of years of marriage, Penny was diagnosed with breast cancer. I saw her often during this period, and she and Jon were always smiling, first when the news was grim and then even more so when it looked like Penny had caught it in time. She lost her breasts but their love seemed to just take that in stride.

Their marriage went on, and as Penny was approaching her five years clear of cancer, it reappeared. This time the cancer spread fast, and on a November day when the wind was howling and the snow was coming down in sheets, I got the word that Penny had died.

I drove in terrible weather the 150 miles to where they had lived and Penny had died. There was a memorial service that night, and when Jon got up to talk, he was still smiling. He said "I am the luckiest person on Earth because I have had these years with Penny. She taught me how to be happy regardless of what happens. She gave me true joy just by loving me and being with me. She showed me how to give of myself, and she taught me how to love. She is the best person I've ever known".

He turned to the casket and the smile he gave was so full of love and affection there wasn't anyone in the room who didn't feel it.

I sat dumbfounded, shocked that a love that deep could exist. It made me feel like I was the one who was suffering a loss and Jon was the lucky one.

Jon married again a few years later. He told me he and Penny had talked about it, and he knew that that is what she wanted for him.

After all this time, I now know how Jon could lose Penny and still feel he was the luckiest person on earth. I've recently met someone I feel that way about, but will probably never have the chance to be with romantically, and still I feel blessed...

... and to Penny - I miss our friendship, and I think of you often...

5 Comments:

  • At 5:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wow.

    I just stopped by through BlogExplosion. I have to admit that I usually don't spend more than the obligatory 30 seconds on people's blogs, but I became hooked on yours after just reading a few sentences of your entry "Mystic Writer."

    Your writing was beautiful and sincere. This is obviously someone you really cared about and I am sorry for your loss.

    Now, I need to go back and read more of your entries.

    Jason
    http://jasonstone.typepad.com

     
  • At 5:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ooops.

    Sorry. I mean to say, when I read your entry "Sweet November" You are "Mystic Writer."

    Jason

     
  • At 1:31 PM, Blogger mw said…

    Hi Jason,

    Wow, thank you for the kind words - you've made my day. I'll go check out your site when I get some time tonight!

    mw

     
  • At 2:16 AM, Blogger Nicky said…

    Such a moving post - thank you for sharing it.

     
  • At 7:29 AM, Blogger David said…

    I came back in time to get inspiration. I vow to never let an opportunity to bless someone with a hug, or a kind word go by. Life is too short.

     

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