River Full of Tears
The river flowed swiftly after the heavy spring melt. This is when Aisling liked it best. She loved to sit in the little woodland nook and watch the water rush by. There were times in the past when she wanted to jump in and let the river take her swiftly, for it was a river full of tears, many of them her own.
River Full of Tears got its name from the ancients who lived in the shadow of the Great White Mountain. They believed a goddess lived up there, far above the people. She was the mother of the river that flowed down to the valley. The river was filled with tears when the goddess cried for her fallen children who died on the mountain. Most mountain climbers who went up there were experienced and always had a guide with them. Some of the less experienced refused to be led by a guide and often went up higher than the advised level where an avalanche could be easily triggered. Some found themselves on icy slopes with no way to get off and slid down into deep ravines. One year during a blizzard a military plane lost its way and crashed between the two highest peaks, killing the two pilots and all 39 young marines on their way to training camp. Several attempts over the years to rescue the bodies failed. So many dead are frozen up there and the mountain refuses to release them.
Aisling’s husband died in an avalanche when the rescue team he was on were buried by the all too common natural event. They had to go up higher than what is safe, to find two missing mountain climbers and lost their own lives. That was over ten years ago, they were all still up there, buried deep under ice. The mountain is unforgiving for those who tried to conquer her at high levels – the goddess cried, her tears filling the river every spring and Aisling cried with her.
When her husband died, Aisling was left to raise their two children on her own. They were young adults now, graduated from college and both in good marriages. It took Aisling a few years to get used to the fact that she was on her own. She took several college classes and narrowed her interests down to jewelry crafting and poetry. She found that beading was a meditative therapy and poetry was a way to express her long buried emotions. Both arts were very healing for her.
Aisling had two short relationships in the years since her husband died. They were both good relationships and both ended in deep sorrow for her. The first love died in a car accident and it sent her into deep depression for months. After about two years she was able to love again, but the relationship ended when she found out the man she loved and thought she could have a life with was married. After that she promised herself “no more loves”. Her poetry was very emotive, for it reflected deep love and deep sorrow. It was her release of deeply buried emotions.
She often wished time would spin her back to childhood, when things were free from sorrow. Friends, she had so many good friends from her early years, most of them still around. Yet, the only one she would have turned to in her times of sorrow was Marcus, who was now the Police Chief.
Since the second grade Marcus always seemed to be around. They squabbled as kids are want to do, but when she was hurt or upset it was Marcus she turned to. As they grew into their teen years, he was still there for her. They often went to the nook to sit by the River Full of Tears just because they liked being with each other. Then when they went off to different colleges each went their own way. Aisling fell in love with the man she would marry. At their wedding, Marcus was quiet and kept his distance. That was unlike him and Aisling was hurt, but nothing could destroy her happiness, not even Marcus. A few year later, he married a woman from out of town. The years went by and both her and Marcus lost their spouses, but they never rekindled their old friendship.
When she opened her own shop in the historical little mountain village, her poetry books, beaded jewelry and handmade beaded skirts and tops sold very well to the tourists. The shop filled her days with joy. Still, she cried a lot when alone. If not for her German Shepherd, Cody, she would not be able to live alone. He kept her company and protected her. He saved her life twice. He was a famous hero in the village. The Mayor and Marcus the Police Chief gave a ceremony in Cody’s honor and gave him a medal.
A serial killer broke in the house one night and would have added Aisling to his victims if Cody had not attacked the man and kept him terrified on the floor with teeth inches from the man’s throat till the police got there.
The second time Cody saved her was in the nook by the River Full of Tears. Aisling was laying on a blanket crying her heart out from her lost loves. When she got up and headed towards the river wanting to die, Cody ran in front of her. He jumped up and with front paws on her shoulders knocked her down. He lay his front paws and head on her chest till she stopped crying and began playfully wrestling with him.
Today the shop was closed and Aisling sat with Cody in the nook by the River Full of Tears, past sorrows and pain temporarily in a quiet place as she worked on a new bracelet design. It was so peaceful till Cody stood up and growled at someone coming down the path towards them. Then they both relaxed when they saw it was Marcus.
“Hello, Aisling. Cody,” he greeted Cody with ear scratches and a hug. “I thought I would find you here.”
“Hello, Marcus! So good to see you.” He was still in uniform. “Is something wrong? Has my shop been broken into?”
“Oh, no. All is fine,” he hesitated, trying to focus on Cody. “Uhm … Aisling … well, we have known each other since grade school, and I … uhm,”
“What is it, Marcus, something bothering you?” He looked over at her. “Well, yes. You are. Well, I mean … would you like to have dinner with me tonight? I … have had a crush on you since second grade and we’re both alone now. I was wondering … I think it is time …”
She stood up. “I would love to have dinner with you, Marcus.”
When I started this story I had completely different thoughts on the story line. I just kept typing and the result was not what I originally felt. I was going to trash it and wait a few days then start over. Then I thought, no – I will publish it and get some critiques.
So, this is a test for you, dear reader, and for me. We all need some practice on giving and receiving critiques in a supportive way. So, give it a go and please critique my story. Thank you.
*** Update: John Hansen critiqued this story and gave me some very good suggestions which I followed. I am now very pleased with the story and am at peace with it. Thank you, John.
© 2017 Phyllis Doyle Burns
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