A Gift for You
By Sharon Holtz

It was late evening on January 9th when
Catherine wearily sighed as she closed her briefcase.
She had just finished writing her closing arguments
for the case she was assigned to.

However, it was not the court case
that had left her feeling dissatisfied,
it was the fact she had yet to come up
with a suitable gift for Vincent's Birthday.      

Still sitting at her desk,
she carefully picked up the book
Vincent had given to her as a Christmas gift,
"The Love Poems of John Keats".
Opening the cover, she ran her fingers
over the inscription Vincent had written inside. Aloud she read,

may the love of literature, and poetry,
inspire you to become the writer
you were meant to be,

She thought back over the last few months,
and recalled how Vincent
had been encouraging her to do some writing.
It all began after she had showed Vincent
a collection of poems and short stories
she had written for a college journalism class
she had attended years ago.

He was quite impressed with her work,
and said her talent for writing should not be ignored.
This thought resonated with her anew,
and did indeed inspire her this night,
and it as then she decided for Vincent's Birthday,
she would write something for him.

She picked up a pen and found some paper,
and did not stop until her letter was finished.
Reading over her words many times,
changing this, and adding that,
she finally felt satisfied
she had given her heart a voice
by exchanging words for her feelings.

Catherine thought how liberating it was
for her to express herself this way,
for there was no woman on this earth,
who had more cause to be inspired by a man,
than she.

Vincent's Birthday finally arrived,
and like the January 12th,
when he was found
outside of St. Vincent's Hospital,
it was just as bitter cold!

Icy frigid winds blew over Catherine's balcony,
bringing along with it,
tiny tag-along crystallized snow flakes
from the neighboring rooftops.

And even though it was so cold on this wintry night,
Catherine anxiously waited outside
so she could greet Vincent.

As she looked over the snow frosted city...
finally...just like beautiful music
resonating from a finely tuned instrument,
she heard Vincent speak her name.

Turning toward him,
they looked at one another for a moment
before she smiled, and softly told him,
"Happy Birthday".

She then took his hand in hers,
and said, "Come Vincent,
I have a fire burning in the fireplace
to warm you from the cold."

With only candles burning for light,
Catherine led Vincent inside to their cozy spot
she prepared by the crackling fire.

As they settled in to each others embrace,
Vincent felt both pleased and honored to see
Catherine was wearing the necklace he had given her.

Smiling up at him, Catherine asked,
"I see a smile in your eyes.
I hope this means you are happy
to be here with me on your most special day."

To which he softly replied,
"There is no place I would rather be."

Attempting to stifle the eagerness
she had in giving her gift to him,
she calmly picked it up from the table,
however, the excitement in her voice
gave her away as she presented it to him, saying,
"I have a gift for you. I hope you will like it."

In wonderment he looked down
at how delicately his present was wrapped,
and felt warmed by Catherine's generosity.

Lifting only his eyes,
he captured her radiant gaze with his own,
as he opened his gift.

As Vincent untied the leather tassel,
to the soft suede journal,
he then opened it
to the ribbon marked page.

Silently he began to read what Catherine had written,
when suddenly,
he stopped, and sweetly he looked at her,
asking if she would read it aloud to him.

Shyly smiling, Catherine consented and began:

Dearest Vincent,
Remember that day,
I told you how much I loved, admired and needed you in my life?
You tipped your head as you pondered my words,
and you then asked me why this was so.
I answered you playfully, and said,
"Because I just do."
But as I looked into your eyes,
I realized you really wanted to know.
You had asked your question with such earnestness, that I
thought you deserved a better answer
than the one I gave you on that day.
So I will do my best to answer you now,
in this Birthday letter to you.

I need you because you nourish my heart,
your caring and giving nature boasts a tenderness...
which touches me so...whether it is with words,
actions or just a look.
You have a way of making me feel treasured,
influencing me to be more gentle with others too.

I admire you because of your exceptional brilliance
and feel so lucky to be privy to this wisdom you own.
Your unbridled enthusiasm to share what you know,
is both exciting and infectious
to those of us around you.
You have the ability to incite the desire
in others to learn too.
And so yes...
I deduce that you have the heart of a teacher...

I admire too, for the fact that your giving nature knows no
You are always there with loving arms to hold me
during times I need comfort
or other times when I require protection.
Generously, you lend me your strength,
until I am able to stand on my own again

I love you for your subtle wit
and your introspective perspectives.
The way you view the world...
has given me a new outlook of the world too!

And I love your voice...your rich yet tender voice, resounding so
pleasing to my ears,
A voice which has comforted me in some low times,
and has unintentionally lulled me to sleep during some contented
times too

I love the gentleness in your eyes,
your beautiful blue eyes which are a reflection
of your good, kind heart.
A heart that beats a righteous Godly cadence
for those you love,
and hosts a desire for a life where only love exists,
and no one is abandoned,
or left behind.

I need you because you dream like me,
and I dream like you,
dispelling any feelings of aloneness I once owned.
Never in my life have I been loved so very sweetly,
or have loved back in kind.

I love you because of the differences you own...
not in spite of them.
And knowing too,
you have grown content with who you are,
as you live your life
with such an elegant charm.

In the past you have spoken about limits,
I don't know what those limits are,
but what ever level we are allowed to love,
know I do love you,
and our souls will be forever connected,
here on earth, and tomorrow in the Heavens
All my love, Catherine

Closing the journal, she realized she was crying
tears of love for her Vincent.

As she looked up at him,
she saw tears dwelling in his eyes too as he shared,
"The first time I read Shakespeare's Sonnet 29,
I was certain
he had reached through the centuries
to communicate with me...
but yet an illusiveness hovered...
and through the years,
I have read varying views of love
trying to dispel this feeling,
this sense of needing a better explanation
of what love was or felt like...
And so I read and researched Shakespeare, Keats, Frost, Lord
Byron and Kipling.
However, none of their verses have warmed my heart as yours
have Catherine
or given me what I sought.
And now...after hearing what you have written,
finally, Shakespeare's' words feel like home to me..."

Vincent then took Catherine's hand in his, and continued, "As
each birthday comes and goes,
it causes me to question my existence,
evaluate my worth.
I have asked why I am here...for what purpose?
Today God has answered my futile lament
through your loving words to me...
I now know you are my purpose...
my reason...
For you, on this years marking of my birth,
have provided me with
such sweet answers.
Today instead of cursing my fate,
I count my many Blessings.
What a gift you have given me.
The gift of value and self worth."

Smiling up at him, she whispered,
"You have given me those things too Vincent."

She then passionately asked,
"Stay with me...until the morning comes."

Contemplating her request,
he held her tightly and said he would stay
and as they sat snuggled warmly together
gazing toward the horizon,
awaiting the dawning of the new day
they both understood
this was a new dawning
for them as well.
The End


For you...here is a copy of Shakespeare's Sonnet
Sonnet 29
When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes
I all alone beweep
my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself,
and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man's art, and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts my self almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate;
For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

William Shakespeare

Vincent's Happy Birthday Page Index