Melodie had the face of an angel, her soft blue eyes and Madonna face framed with long blond curls and a smile melted the heart. There was instant magic the first moment I met this child of deplorable chance.
By marriage Melodie was the daughter of the daughter of my wife’s step-mother. One of two children, Melodie asked for no special treatment, was afforded little to keep her as natural as it was conceivably possible to do. Yet, there were times when special treatment for her Cerebral Palsy was necessary, when she would fall and could not get up, when roughness of play would cause her injury or pain. Through whatever the moments might bring, Melodie wore that smile which gave her ownership to my heart and made me want so much for her.
I fell in love with little Melodie the first time I saw her and she with me. With each visit, my life was enriched by her sweet disposition and also saddened by the fact that she would never grow to lead a normal life – a life of an active wife and mother, a life of exploring, hiking, doing the things that lovers and families do. There is no accurate portrait I could paint that would do justice to this angelic child of special design.
When she saw me walk through the front door her mood became combustible with joy and she would hobble to greet me. I would hold her, cover her pale cheeks with my kisses, and ask her to tell me about her recent experiences – which she gaily did while being teased by her sister. Soon, she would settle into games with the toys she loved so much, busy with the little spats that came when the sister would tease her by taking a toy.
While it was always a strange rapture to see Melodie it was also an emotional release when leaving. With that feeling of release came an odd guilt – here was a child I truly adored but felt the need to be away from her because I had to watch her awkward movements, to watch her face change with a spasm of pain, when she saw what her sibling was doing but she could not. It tugged so much at my heart that I would rush our departure…such an amalgam of colliding emotions that I needed to be gone.
There were many visits until the time came for life shifts, a relocation move, a divorce, or a death.
Then, Melodie was gone from my life, but I think of her often, wonder what life options have been offered to her, where indeed she has ended up.
This is a personal post with no real final objectives. I simply think of Melodie from time to time, miss seeing that angelic face and her cute little actions, wonder about her and the path her life might have taken. Her parents loved her dearly, wanted her to have as close to a normal life as she could have, and they chose wisely not to play ‘favorites’ with her. But, amid the family façade of normalcy there was a palpable sadness… I felt it each time I visited, and, despite that love I felt for Melodie, my own fragile heart had to be away from her.
Life can be presented and received so differently by people. For me, my heart awakened each time I saw that beautiful little lady hobble toward me with her arms and heart open to me. In those moments there was something so special which will live with me forever. For me there was in those moments something indecipherable but almost certainly messaging from the soul…some binding acknowledgement of love. Alas, with the ecstasy came anomalous stirrings of the heart.
Flash Truth authored by Billy Ray Chitwood
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