Veiled Longings...
A Valentine Story by Sharon Holtz













***********
.1
It was February 14th, and the workday seemed never ending. Joe was
particularly demanding, and the pile of files on Catherine's desk grew and grew.

All she wanted was to go home, so she would be there in case Vincent should
come to see her tonight. She would not want to miss him on this Valentine's
night...or any other...

Finally at home, Catherine lit the last of the candles, as an anxiousness settled
over her. Catherine began to consider, what if Vincent does not come to see her
tonight.

Catherine knew this was a possibility since they had not made any plans to
spend Valentine’s Day together. In fact the last time she had seen him, he had
not made any overtures to do so. But she hoped he would; she missed him, and
wanted to be with the man she cared for so much. And as a melancholy
dampened her hopefulness, she realized it was the wondering, always the
wondering when, and if...she would see him again...

Earlier that day at work, Catherine listened to everyone in the office busily
preparing for the celebration. Some were excitedly making restaurant
reservations, others were ordering fresh cut flowers, and then there were the
forgetful Romeos, who were planning last minute stops at the drug store to pick
up cards, and Heart-shaped boxes of chocolates for the loved ones in their lives.

Catherine knew there would not be any of those stereotypical little gestures
between her, and Vincent. Things other couples in love do, not on this
Valentine's day this year, or in the Valentine's days in the years to come.

It is not that any of these traditional gestures even mattered that much to
Catherine, not really. However, she was beginning to realize just what being in
love with a man so different, really meant in terms of effecting her life.

Her relationship with Vincent would be something she will always have to hide,
and this secret would forever set her apart from the rest of the world.

And...in all honesty, this realization literally tugged at her heart.

As she put on the necklace Vincent had given her, she regained some of her
faith, and thought maybe tonight he WILL come...

As Catherine expectantly stepped out on her balcony, she looked into the
darkened corners, and then embraced herself, heaving a lonely anguishing
breath, because he was not there.

It was an unusually warm February evening, and she closed her eyes for a
moment, as she felt the warm breeze that oh so pleasingly blew past her, teasing
and tousling her hair. It felt heavenly, and she wished Vincent were there to
share this beautiful night with her.

Just then, she felt, and knew Vincent was there.

Turning around, passionately she said his name. He in turn spoke hers in a deep
fond whisper. He standing entranced for a moment,taken aback by how
beautiful she was in the glimmering moonlight.

As he then approached her in his overpowering manner, he was not shy this
night to look at the woman he loved. He told her how beautiful she looked, and
of how much he had missed her in the lengthy interim since they had been
together.

He then said he had a Valentine’s gift for her, and reached into his cloak to
present it to her.

As Catherine lifted the gift from its wrapping, she wept tears of surprise and joy.
Vincent had presented her with “Great Expectations.” He had read this book to
her as she lay injured below in the tunnels, bandaged, and so worriedly
frightened.

And his voice quieted and comforted her. She told him how special this story
was to her because of this fact, and of how when she closed her eyes, she could
still hear his soothing voice echoing in her heart.

She then told him how thoughtful it was of him to give it to her. He told her he
had written an inscription inside the cover of the book for her. And so Catherine
opened the book’s cover, and read,

                Dear Catherine,
             To the woman who has captured
             my heart with her beauty,
             and harbors my soul by her love.
                                           Vincent


Catherine told Vincent she loved what he had written, and as she swept a tear
aside, she said it meant so much to her.

She then told him his gift was inside, and asked if he would come in so she may
give it to him.

Vincent looked downward for a moment, then back deeply into her eyes, and
answered yes.

As they entered her candlelit apartment, Catherine walked to her couch, looking
back at Vincent, as he stood steadfast at the threshold.      

Catherine held out her hand to Vincent and asked him to come and sit beside
her.

As he approached reaching out for Catherine’s hand, she thought back to the
time he once held out his hand for her to guide her through his world, now she
felt as if she was guiding him in hers.

As they sat together, Catherine gave Vincent his gift. Firstly he opened the card,
and  read,

            To Vincent,
                       for all of eternity
                              Love, Catherine

Vincent whispered, thank you, and sat silently for a moment as her words
touched him deeply, and warmed his heart.

As he then opened his gift, the beauty of the portrait stunned him, for he knew
of this painting. He told her the replica of Frederic Lord Leighton’s painting,
Flaming June, sadly seemed to be of a woman waiting, wanting, and wondering.
Perhaps a perfect reflection of aloneness.

He then privately thought of how this was an all too familiar feeling he lived
with throughout his life, that is before he met Catherine.

Catherine agreed, saying she imagined the woman who was wearing the flowing
red gown, may have fallen asleep on her settee, wanting, waiting, wondering if
her love was going to come for her...

She then also privately thought, "Wanting, waiting and wondering..." To which
Catherine recognized, this was very much how she so often felt too since she
met Vincent.

And then because of sensing her heartache, Vincent helplessly expressed, how
badly he felt he was not able to give her all she desired.

Feeling guilty for her selfish, pitying thoughts, tearfully Catherine told him he
does give her all she desires, and tonight she realized the traditional things do not
matter to her. And she would gladly wait through a hundred lonely nights for the
one when they could be together.

She spoke in wonderment as she told him how he seemed to know her heart,
and he coming to her tonight, was proof of that.

As he carefully held her closely to him, he told her the bond they shared,
allowed him to hear the voice of her heart, and said this bond would connect
their hearts and souls forever.

Feeling safe, protected and loved, Catherine smiled up at him, and asked, "Read
to me Vincent?"

Opening up the book he had given to her, he began to read, and as he did, she
closed her eyes, listening to her true love's voice, adoring the devotion it owned.

Feeling whole and contented being with Vincent this night, she felt she could not
want for anything more on this Valentine's Day, because she knew at last...she
had everything, everything.

                                             The End



                    
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