THE TRUE GIFT OF LIFE
by Misty
 
 
It was starting to get late, and the blackness of night already encompassed the city.  It had been  cool that day, but now that eventide had arrived the temperature had dropped even moreso making it very cold and brisk.
 
Slowly, it was apparent the coldness brought with it yet another gift for all to enjoy, feather-like snowflakes were just beginning to fall.
 
Laura was sitting sedately on her windowseat in the living- room of her apartment, which was on the 18th floor of the building.  Her gaze was held captive by the fantasic view before her.
 
Most of all the xmas lights were now up and the twinkling multitude of colors against the black velvet sky, held her captive and mesmerized her by the beauty of it all.
 
It was now only a few weeks before the yuletide season would begin, and in looking down at the streets she could see the early shoppers already out scurrying about to get their presents bought.
 
Suddenly, there came a jarring knock at Laura's  front door, which immediately brought her quickly back to the present, and the curiousity of who would be banging on her door at this hour of the night.
 
Being now a senior Laura did not venture forth on her own at night, but preferred the safety of her comfortable apartment, but who in heaven's name would be banging so commandingly at her door.  She opened the door cautiously and what she saw made her almost chuckle, but she refrained from showing it.
 
Hello there, sorry to bother you at this time of night, but I"m your new next door neighbour, Sean Michael O'Reilly.  And I just moved in two days ago. 
 
Laura said politely, I'm pleased to meet you Mr. O'Reilly, my name is Laura Kent but what exactly brings you to my door step at this hour of the night?
  
As he stood there in her doorway, Laura took a good look at this new neighbour; he had silver foil icicles stuck here and there on his heavy nubbly sweater, and artificial snowflakes on top of his head and a few sliding down the side of his face, and he also held a garland of artificial poinsetta's in his big knarly hands.
 
In all he looked quite a comical site.  This great hulk of a man looked almost like a little boy who had got caught playing with the xmas decorations.
 
Well, you see it's like this Mrs. Kent, I'm trying to get the apt. all fixed up for xmas so when my grandson comes to visit there will at least be a tree and a few presents under it.  After which he laughed and did so very heartily.
 
But, I ran into some trouble I broke a couple of those dainty glass ornaments and I havn't yet bought a broom and dustpan.  So, I was hoping perhaps if I could.  Laura raising her hand quickly responded already knowing what was coming next.
 
Say no more Mr. O'Reilly, please step in the foyer, while I go get mine so you can borrow them and clean everything up right and proper.  We certainly wouldn't want anyone to cut themselves would we now she said, and he smiled as she reached in her hall closet and handed him the broom and dustpan.
 
That's mighty kind of you Mrs. Kent and I will return them first thing in the morning, but won't bother you too early.  I'm afraid I've done enough of that tonight.  He smiled once again at her and his eyes twinkled, she noticed he had a kind face and was a tall but slightly rotound man and must be around the same age as her.
 
That will be just fine Mr. O'Reilly and if perhaps you brought them back around 9 a.m. you would be welcome to join me for a hot cup of coffee, it is only neighbourly she smiled back.  Mighty darn nice of you maam since I come bothering you and all, I think we are going to be great neighbours, and please call me Michael.
 
As Michael turned to leave she softly said, and you may call me Laura, since I'm going to be calling you Michael.
 
He turned slightly and the snowflakes floated down over his face, (she covered her smile with her dainty hand), oh my that is a pretty name maam, I mean Laura, and thank you for all  your kindness, I"ll wish you a goodnight now, and look forward to tomorrow, and chatting over coffee with you.
 
The next day came and went and all the days to follow only served to bring Laura and Sean closer together.  The had found out they shared the same losses and enjoyed the same things in most all they had done prior to their meeting.
 
Now not just as neighbours, but as good friend's and then much warmer feelings began to engulf them both.  Slowly one nite long after the whole yuletide season had passed, Sean was sitting holding Laura's hand in her apartment before the warm glow of the fireplace, he turned to her and smiled gently.
 
 
I can't hold it inside of me any longer Laura, and since I am not getting any younger I feel now is the time to let you know I am very much in love with you and I'm hoping maybe you feel the same.  He fidgeted in his pocket what seemed to be forever to Laura and then he finally stopped.
 
 
Sean with much hardship got down and knelt before her, and he spoke.  Laura Kent, I love you and am asking you if you would do me the honour of becoming my wife.  His eyes twinkled with anticipation and his gentle smile only served to endear him moreso to her.
 
Laura felt perhaps this is what he may ask of her, but once he did she lost all feeling in her whole body, except for the love she felt for this man in her heart, which at this moment was overflowing.
 
 
Well, dear please say yes, for I fear I shall never be able to get up of this floor if you don't.  Laura burst out laughing and crying at the same time as she said, yes, oh yes I would love to marry you Sean O'Reilly you romantic, wonderful man.
 
 
Slowly, Sean's big knarly hands place a most exquisite emerald cut solitaire diamond on his beloved's hand, and tears rolled down both their cheeks.  He then slowly rose up and towering over her gathered her into his arms and gently kissed his lovely bride to be.
 
 
Both knew that it was the right time, and with the right person; for neither gave less to the other than unconditional love and expected no more of one another.
 
 
The wedding was beautiful, held just before Easter and to each symbolized the meaning of the easter blessings; that even through dark times and life challenges there is always the shining light of love which can encompass us all.
 
 
Laura and Sean's story only goes to show us that age is only a number, and no one ever really knows what lay's ahead of us on our journey through each of our lives.
 
All that matters is that we embrace all the beauty and unconditional love we share while we can, for that is truly the gift that is precious in life.
 
 
THE END