Celia A. Leaman
journeys from having no esteem to realizing that she has worth.
Ophelia, reading poetry, burst into tears and she could read no further.
"Oh, Ben," she sighed. "What am I going to do?" She was hopelessly in love again, with the wrong man.
Ben looked at her, and yawned.
That night, Ben appeared in Ophelia's dreams. He sat beside her and revealed everything he'd been thinking about her lately.
"You should learn to love yourself a little more and others less," he said. "There are many people you can love, but only a few who are worthy of it."
At first Ophelia was hurt, stung that he thought her such a loser.
"I didn't say that," he said. "I didn't call you any names. You are desirable. You are beautiful. I adore you and always will."
"Why don't others see me that way?" she said. "Why do they keep breaking my heart?"
"They only see your desperate loneliness. Your devouring need. Yet, you have no need for anyone to complete you, only another soul to complement you. And only when you stand alone, empowered as your own person, will you draw the right person to you. If you don't, if you aren't careful, it'll be too late. You'll have no heart left to give."
When Ophelia awoke she remembered this and looked curiously at Ben. From the way he was looking at her, she'd swear he'd had the same dream.
Later that week, when one of her former lovers called, Ophelia remembered the dream. She suspected that he was only phoning because no one else was available, and she gathered enough courage to say she was busy that evening and couldn't see him.
It wasn't easy.
"It'll take me a while to get the hang of it," she told Ben after she put down the phone. "I'm so afraid I'll always be alone. After all, I know you can't be with me forever."
Ben looked away from her and closed his eyes.
Soon, Ophelia could no longer ignore the seriousness of Ben's illness and she cried when a near stranger, Colin, told her how little time Ben had left. When he put a hand on her shoulder to give her the news, Ophelia longed to be held, to be comforted. Her body instinctively keened towards him, but then she remembered what Ben had said and kept hold of her emotions. After all, she didn't know this man. She didn't know if he'd be worthy of her.
Colin called Ophelia almost every day to see how things were going and told her that if she needed him, she must contact him immediately, day or night.
A while later, when they knew each other better, Colin asked her out to coffee.
Ophelia accepted. "There's nothing wrong in that, is there, Ben?" she asked. "He just wants to be there for me."
Ophelia saw what she thought might be approval in Ben's eyes. "And if he doesn't please me," she added daringly, with a small toss of her head, "I shall never see him again. Not socially."
But Colin did please her. He said he admired her courage and her achievements. No other man had ever said that to her, even though Ophelia's accomplishments were many.
And so, over the weeks, Colin and Ophelia became close friends, each respecting the other for their similarities and differences. He never even hugged her until the night Ben died and she wept with grief in his arms.
"I once had a pet I loved as much as you loved your dog," he said, whose voice, even though he was a vet and had to handle this situation often, was strained with emotion. "I still dream of him, even now."
Many months later, Colin proposed to Ophelia. He said he thought that they would make good partners, as each was strong where the other needed strengthening. Ophelia noticed he didn't use the word weak. And although Ben wasn't there now, she imagined what he might be thinking as he heard her say, yes.
Journeys Copyright © 2007. Celia A. Leaman. All rights reserved by the author. Please do not copy without permission.
The pilgrimage, or passage, through life.
This collection of short stories…
It's Friday, but Sunday's Coming
No More Regrets
Angels Along the Way
Endings are Just Beginnings
…are about the many ways there are to journey.
From one place to another, or as a pilgrim on the passage through life, they explore how growth of the human spirit can inspire understanding and love; enlightenment and, ultimately, joy.
There is nothing as great as the joy we can find in one another. Let us embrace love.
Celia began her writing career after immigrating to Canada. She enjoys writing in various genres, wherever her imagination takes her. Mary's Child, her first novel, reflects her love and knowledge of the moors in South Devon, England, where she was raised. Her more humorous novels begin with Unraveled, written around the Gulf Islands in Western Canada. Celia is currently working on another Gale Island book, Weeds That Work and Pots of Goodness. The Winnowed Woman is a collection of journal entries, essays and poems.
Celia has also published three collections of short stories: Island Stories, Who is Margaret? What is She? and Journeys. Details of her books and upcoming events are posted on her web site.
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This page last updated 01-02-09.
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