A Binary Fantasy
By Boris Glikman
It is February 14, Valentine’s Day. Couples around the world are celebrating their love for one another, while I am all by myself, wondering if I ever will understand the true meaning of love, if love will ever possess my being in its totality.
And it is then that a binary star system, locked in an eons-long dance, twirls down from the sky into my front yard. Even in their dying moments they can’t bear to be parted and are continuing the cosmic tango.
Faint strains of “Pas de deux” float from someone’s window. I have always found this music so poignantly tragic, suffused with inconsolable sorrow. Only now is it clear to me what tragedy it was presaging.
The celestial romance of a billion years, that mocks and trivializes all earthly declarations of eternal love, is coming to an end. If you combined the love of all the couples in the world on this special day, it would be but an infinitesimal iota of the passion these two stars have for one another. So attuned have they become to each other’s needs and desires that the slightest change in the mood of one is instantly felt and responded to by the other, even when separated by boundless oceans of emptiness.
I realize how futile human love is; so transitory, fickle, arbitrary, erratic, obeying no law of Man or Nature, following unknown, nay, unknowable rules, stubbornly moving along its own inflexible course.
I am convinced that I am destined to be forever alone, for we all pass each other momentarily, then continue along our divergent paths. The most I can hope for is fleeting contact, a feeble reflection of that cosmic tango, with another being.
Now I finally understand the true meaning of love: it has no meaning at all.
By Donald Harry Roberts
Tanya Zelinsky finished the romance novel she had just bought. The cover and the title inspired the purchase. Then she closed the book and with a long sad whisper she said, “It never happens that way.”
She went to bed.
Light from the street lamp caused shadows to dance across the bedroom ceiling. Tanya was amused that the images, dancing shadows reminisced the characters still vivid in her mind from the closing paragraphs of the novel. She was watching them whirl and swirl when her eyes closed, it seemed, on their own.
Now it was not just shadows dancing on the ceiling. They had taken form and it was her, and Mark in a graceful, magical ballet. But then, even as it was growing into the perfection of heart-born love the scene changed and her soldier boy disappeared into the mist at the edge of a dream, away to some forsaken place shrouded in uncertainty.
Now Tanya, dressed for a gala without joy, danced alone among a garden of roses. A single tear trickled down her cheek.
The click of a door latch woke her. She opened her eyes slowly to find the silhouette of her soldier boy standing in the door way.
“A dream. No. He’s is real.” Tanya whispered as she climbed out of bed and ran into his waiting arms.
Mark put his finger to her chin and lifted her head so that their eyes met. In a soft wistful voice he said, “Tanya. My Sweet Valentine.” Then he kissed her with a warmth she knew would never end.
At last she pulled away only an inch, and said joyfully, “But sometimes it does happen that way.” And they kissed the kiss only true hearts can know.
A Desert Storm Valentine’s Day
Elizabeth M. Vansyckle
During the 1991 Desert Storm war I was stationed in Germany at an Army hospital. Trained for front line surgical nursing and then being placed in a totally different nursing situation was a trial of anxiety and unending stress.
There was, also adding to the misery, day after day of cold and snow like this Texas girl had never seen before. I don’t think we saw the sun the entire time I was there.
I took to walking everywhere to ease the anxiety and fill the time that otherwise would have been nothing but work and endless worry for my son. I missed him and the rest of my family beyond words.
In 1991, we had no cell phones, no face to face calling, no email. We rarely received letters or phone calls.
On Valentine’s Day, I walked from one base to another across town. At the entry gate I stopped and unbundled enough to show my ID. A young sentry, who was probably about eighteen, looked at my ID and started to cry.
As he saluted me he said, “Captain, may I give you a hug? I miss my mom so much.” I told him of course he could and how much I missed my son.
There in the middle of our war, standing in the snow and dreary cold, we hugged as a mother and son, and shared a few tears wishing for home.
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