512 Words

Come, Share

M. Stanley Bubien

First I will speak of good times, then the bad, though, most certainly, they stand so closely together.

After my wedding, when my fiancee became my husband, we celebrated. I invited family and friends into my house, and in my joy I said, "Come, share with me!" And they danced in circles upon the living room floor, splashing champagne glasses together with songs for the occasion.

The twins were born later, son and daughter. My husband cradled them, one in each arm, and it lit my eyes like the sun. Family and friends visited. I waved them to my bedside, "Come, share in the miracle of life!" And the same light shown in their eyes as they gazed within the bassonettes.

Through the years, we celebrated more mundane milestones. We called it the "family room," and never did that seem more appropriate than the Christmas when my daughter cried in my voice, "come, share!" to the friends who had no family of their own on this blessed day. And, lest I forget, the Thanksgiving where the turkey barely fit into the oven, yet barely fed those we loved as they gathered at our table---certainly my son attending with a flock of football players did little to alleviate the situation!

Later, much later---yes, it took twenty-five years to learn why it was a "silver" anniversary. Shoulder to shoulder family and friends stood, as my husband and I grasped a single goblet, lifting it with the cry of "thank you for coming, thank you for sharing." And though beneath our covered porch, still the sun reflected off the aged heads of these loved ones, and their hair streaked with the color of that precious metal.

Oh, but in that time it all seemed to go to pieces. Not once, but so often---and we picked them up, those fragments we called our lives. Yet it is certainly the first that I remember. No, not the reason for the pain, and not the cause of the sorrow---that has slipped by-the-by. I recall, instead, the family, the friends, in their offer of aid. And I put my foot down. "Go! What happens under this roof, stays under this roof." Thus, I dismissed them, knowing my self-sufficience in enduring a pain that was entirely my own.

Yet they did not heed, and did not go, instead coming closer still, all the while more entering from the threshold. Within the living room that had once been a dance floor, they stood still. In the family room that gave comfort to the lonely on Christmas, they gathered. Within the coolly silent kitchen, and upon the empty table, they leaned like weary travellers. And still more, undaunted by my dismissal, until family and friends brimmed into the bedroom, poured onto the patio.

"My house! My house!" I cried. "You cannot fit!"

But as a chorus, those whom I loved, still seeking entrance under my roof, replied to my painful time, "But you invited us."

And one-by-one, they offered embrace, like my husband had in cradling our children.

Copyright ©1999 M. Stanley Bubien. All Rights Reserved.

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November, 1999
Issue #43

512 Words