It is with true love as it is with ghosts; everyone talks about it, but few have seen it
François de la Rochefoucauld
A sort of day that brought the soul warmness and an instant reason for happiness. The sky was bright, an early sun working its way through its cobalt blue sheen reached to the earth with unchallenged gallantry. Linda sat at the iron chair on the porch of the stone house. On this pristine morning in Chitungwiza, even the house seemed to shine. The porch was cocooned within the shades of the towering junipers that lined Carr Avenue. From within their tiny leaves were pockets of breeze discharged with judicious acumen onto the porch. And this morning, Linda's world was full of peace.
A silver-skinned, chestnut-haired Briton, she was immersed in an old issue of the London Times held steady within her dainty fingers against the rushing morning breeze. A stack of old issues of same publication lay on the linoleum at her feet. The last two months had come to upset a habit which had grown with her through the years to become a defining element of her life. Back in London, a Linda's day was never made without the Times. In her opinionated opinion, no other publication in the UK better captured the societal pulse than the London Times. She had come to relate with some of the regular writers with a sense of solid familiarity though she had not met any except Charles Connolly who coincidentally was her most favorite. She met him in London at a state's function. He was just as the things he wrote – confident, suave, charismatic and personable.
She had stood up impulsively from where she sat in a group and winged her way across the room to catch up with him at the base of the staircase. Connolly was headed upstairs.
“Excuse me, Charles Connolly?” she said pointing a finger and squinting hard.
“That’s right,” Connolly said affably. “How do you do?”
“Indeed, I was sure I couldn’t have been wrong.” She said triumphantly. “You see, I discovered the Times through my father who in his life paid the vendor to drop a copy daily by the house and I have been reading the paper ever since Grammar school, and ever since I discovered you, the first page I turn whenever I grab a copy of the paper is your column. I am one big exponent of your works, you see.” Connolly watched Linda enthuse with the spirit of a girl, his lips cuddling a smile at her excitement.
“Wow, thank you; thank you so very much, Mrs….” Said Connolly extending a handshake.
“My name is Linda, Linda Smith.” She said receiving his outstretched hand.
“What can I say, you made my day.” Connolly took a bow.
“And you’ve always made mine everyday of the last decade.” They dissolved into laughs.
Four months before, back in England, exactly two years into their marriage, James Smith came home one evening and dropped an enveloped letter onto her laps. She watched him move away towards the dining set and took position leaning on the back of a chair. The look on his face said, “Go ahead and find the news”. He was awaiting her reaction.
“You’ve been promoted to the rank of Chief Superintendent and are to resume at Chitungwiza District, Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia.” She looked up from the printed sheet, her face a flush of emotions as she summed up the message of the letter. James stood tall and smart in his starched police uniform. He rocked from foot to foot, his hands pressing down on one of the dinner chairs. He hoped Linda would welcome the development as he had. He shook his head “yes”.
She got out of her seat with an unexpected zest, her gown flowing after her, and in a moment she had crossed the intervening floor and had James enwrapped in a bear hug.
“Congrats, Darling,” she cried.
“Thank you, Love; I’m glad you find it as positive as I do. I was skeptical you wouldn’t want to move.” He told her, a note of accomplishment and relief creeping into his voice.
“I don’t mind.” She said with a reassuring smile. “I love you.” She pronounced.
He shook his head in acknowledgement, “Me too.” He said. “Very much.” Kissing her on the forehead.
The words of Linda moved James. Linda was a very passionate and sincere person; she did not say what she did not mean and the word love was expensive with her. They had met and known each other for two years before their eventual marriage, two long years during which James waited in angst expecting Linda to come along. Two years during which Linda was a part and reference point of James’ life even if as nothing more than a tepid lay figure. It’d been two years now since they got married and James could still almost number all the rare times Linda had pronounced to him she loved him in more than four years since their paths had crossed. James had hoped in the beginning that with time things would improve and Linda’s devotion to their life together would burn and glow, but with time he had not been sure again what he hoped. In sincerity, James was just as Linda. With him the word love was something spontaneous; every time he told her he loved her, which was often, it wasn’t a cliché. The force, meaning and the mainspring of the word had refused to drown in the ocean of triteness.
So Linda holding onto him this evening, pronouncing she loved him was something to hang onto. He could feel the bulge of her stomach on his own stomach; Jake was growing and taking space as appropriate. That was the name he said he would name “him” after his uncle, Jake, who was a huge inspirational force in his life.
Uncle Jake was a mirror through which James caught a reflection of endless possibilities, an irrepressible spirit, who was all out to defeat his humble beginning to become a world renown. James would name his unborn son after him. Linda did not object; it was James’ show.
Previous Posts in the Series – In Linda's World
IN LINDA'S WORLD Synopsis
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IN LINDA’S WORLD II: Uncle Jake – the Dreamer