From Chicken Soup for the Romantic Soul

A Friend’s Secret

The greatest weakness of most humans is their hesitancy to tell others how much they love them while they’re still alive.

Orlando A. Battista

There’s a moment in the Disney classic Cinderella when the ragamuffin heroine lays claim to her wayward glass slipper and Prince Charming adoringly sweeps her into his arms and waltzes her away. It’s a scene that draws longing sighs from every woman who watches it. Why? Romance! That’s what it’s all about.

I’ve often wondered how that intangible sense of true love and romantic devotion makes the leap from celluloid to reality. I know it can happen. I’ve been around couples married for decades who still glow while sitting side by side, hands lovingly intertwined. Yet, as the child of divorced parents, and a divorcée myself, I also know that the course of true love never runs smooth. In fact, “Rocky Road” might better entitle the majority of marriages I’ve encountered.

However recently, a friend of mine told me a little secret—a tale of love that brought tears to my eyes and, I must admit, a little envy to my heart.

Her story wasn’t about the latest piece of jewelry that her husband gave her, or flowers he sent as my friend’s husband passed away two years ago, just short of their fiftieth wedding anniversary. Now, at the age of seventy, she is alone, but thanks to her loving spouse, not always lonely.

For tucked away in drawers and cabinets throughout my friend’s home are love notes scripted by her husband. Terms of endearment that he planted as romantic surprises during the course of their marriage. Over the years, she saved his sweet inscriptions, often leaving them in their original hiding places, his loving sentiments tenderly playing anew with each rediscovery.

Now that he is gone, my friend’s life is a daily challenge of loving memories and sad yearning for this romantic man with whom she shared almost half a century of life. Yet in her indomitable way, she is continuing on with determination and enthusiasm. She is healthy and strong and lives each day with an interest in the world around her. She is surrounded by family and friends who support her and a community where she is acknowledged and respected.

Most of all, however, my friend endures with the inner sense that she is loved, truly and totally. Any time she thinks otherwise, all she has to do is open a kitchen drawer, or look in her bedroom nightstand, to find a reminder.

Although somehow I have a feeling that even without looking . . . she already knows.

Christina M. Abt

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