A Love Story
A Love Story|
Copyright © September 4, 2016 by Douglas W. Jerving.
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I had seen her around the neighborhood a few times. She was a quiet young girl. Very pretty.
She would move in and out of the shadows in the alleyways. She was always plaintively studying me,
and clearly aware that I was studying her as well. I think it was the Spring of 2013 when I first
started seeing her. It was the Summer of Love for we two.
The neighborhood was incendiary that fourth of July. I remember with some embarrassment that she
caught my eye at an inopportune moment. I was sitting on the porch with my wife watching the
fireworks. It sounded like the blitzkrieg bombing of London, circa 1943. It was no good night
for man or beast, either one of which could easily have been mistaken for a character from a
Tennessee Williams’ play.
There she was in the alley; that same little lady. So young, and so tender. So naive. The look
in her eyes was one of sheer terror, and her movements were erratic. She had no idea what kind
of hellish apocalypse was happening round about her. She fled one way and then the next, as bombs
went off all around her. Vainly, she attempted to escape and find a safe haven. This poor lost
young woman had no place to go, no home of her own, and no loved ones to whom she could flee. She
was utterly bewildered. My wife and I both witnessed her desperation before she disappeared again
into that horrifying night.
After that, we would see her in the alley, wandering aimlessly, and homeless. I would gently
speak to her. She feared me at first, but eventually would receive the scraps of food I offered
her, and listen to my encouragements. A bit of food and some loving encouragement was enough to
keep her interest. She just needed someone that loved her.
At first my wife did not even realize that I was courting this young lady's love. She was just
one of several lost souls; not much different from the rest of the vagrants of our neighborhood.
Every one of them was a wanderer, or a collector. Some of them walked the alleys collecting
aluminum. One of them had lost his hands and used steel claws to make his living. I would always
save the best toss-outs for him, and occasionally would light his cigarette from the stub of my
cigar. Some drove rusty pickups filled to the top with junk. One morning I discovered to my dismay
that my two Webbers were gone. One was old and no great loss. The other was brand new, and a Fathers’
Day gift from my children. After that, we locked all our gates.
Locked gates were no prevention for those determined to get in. A good thief can get under, around,
or leap over. Whatever was necessary, my little sweetheart always found her way to meet me.
She began visiting me at my porch during the day, and I would feed her and coax her love, until she
finally allowed me to touch her, at first with much trepidation. She pulled back in fear for a while
but soon enough she gave herself to me, allowing me to gently stroke her hair, and speak quietly with
her. I was finally gaining this gentle woman's trust.
My wife soon realized what was going on. I had a love affair with this dear girl, and although she
never thought such a thing could happen, she knew instinctively that the girl and I needed each other.
The little sweet lady was changing me. My continual depression began to subside as I became aware of
the needs of this young person now in my sheltering care. She began to know the sweet hurt little
lady herself, and to encourage our daily liaisons. She knew that little person was no threat to our
home, and saw that I treated her as a beloved daughter, not an interloper.
By late autumn the quiet little woman was asking about our home. (My wife had by this time come to
love the little woman as well as I.) She entered the door a few times to investigate, even going
down the stairs to the basement study, or into the kitchen on the first floor where we prepared her
food. But soon she would flee back to her homelessness, to the alley, to the streets. It was all she
really knew. The comfort of a stable home environment was still alien to her world. But she always
returned the next day to speak with us, and to eat a morsel, which by this time of year was
increasingly hard for her to find.
Neither my wife nor I were sure we wanted to let her live with us, but every day she pressed her
needs upon us, and we felt we had become her foster parents. There was no other place for her to
go. The nights were getting very cold. And by November we had grown to deeply love her and we
desperately wanted to see that she was sheltered. We again opened the door to her, and she came in.
This time she chose to stay.
She chose us as her own parents. We chose her as our daughter. Our little adopted daughter whom
we named Gracie. She gave us her name, as in a whisper. Her full name is Gracie Slick, because
God's grace brought her to us, and because she was so slick in convincing us to love her.
Gracie has lived now three years with us and has grown into a beautiful woman. She no longer seeks
to return to the alleys from which she came. She is at peace in her new home. She has a sister as
beautiful as her, who came to us in a similar fashion, two years later, and both adopted, by our
love, from the alleys in which they would have otherwise died. Gracie's sister we named Rosie after
the color of her hair (she streaks it brown and grey with reddish orange). Rosie and Gracie fight
a bit. Children, siblings, fight sometimes, but they learn to love each other because their parents
love each other and love them equally. They are jealous for our love. But our love for both of them
dominates their relationship with each other. “It’s a family affair” said Sly Stone.
Now you know the story behind our Gracie, and a little bit of the history of her sister Rosie, who
is not really her sister, but still is, as Gracie, our dear sweet little girl. These are our two
sweet kitties, our rescued cats, whom we love with all our hearts.
Doug Jerving is the publisher of the NewEdisonGazette.com. You may contact him at
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