From Chicken Soup for the Romantic Soul

Open Heart

Love’s greatest gift is its ability to make everything it touches sacred.

Barbara De Angelis

My parents fell in love at first sight, and they’ve been in love for more than fifty-two years. They’re not just comfortable with each other, or merely tolerant of each other’s faults. They are still truly, deeply in love, with all the passion and heartache that wildly emotional state entails.

My father has always been more of a tease than a romantic, and he has regaled us with tales of his exploits all our lives. For example, the first time he and my mother ever spoke to each other was after World War II, after Daddy had just returned from Japan. He was driving his brother’s brand-new car through town when he saw my mother go into a furniture store. Pulling over, he jumped out of the car and managed to slip into the store right behind her. My twenty-six-year-old mother, who was thinking about finding an apartment, asked the store owner to show her the twin bedroom set she had admired the week before. My father, a mere passing acquaintance, stepped up beside her and said, “Now Maude, we are not sleeping on twin beds.”

They were married three months later, and they did sleep on one of the twin beds until they could afford a double bed. Fifty-three years later they still sleep in the same bed.

At age seventy-eight, my father had open-heart surgery. My seventy-six-year-old mother spent every night at the hospital, and every day beside his bed. The first thing Daddy said when they removed the tracheal tube from his throat was one of the most romantic things I’ve ever heard. He said, “Maude, you know what that doctor found when he cut me open? He found your name engraved on my heart.”

Rickey Mallory

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