And He Cried

by Ricky Ochs


With utmost trepidation he climbed the stairs leading to his promised land. It was truly a long journey. His left hand pressed at his knee for support, for the joints in his knees faltered as he ascended. A moonless sky gave way to the billions of stars he relied upon for what little light spread across his path. His knees were bad, but he could still rely on his eyes. He could clearly see where he was going. He saw it all just as it was 40 years earlier. And he cried.

Theirs was a relationship like no other. At some point, as in most any relationship, we must all feel this to be true. But their relationship was special. When a tough day or sorrow would suck her heart dry, and words alone could not penetrate her heart, he would hold her close until the sorrow passed. She would look into his eyes and it was good. And he would look deep into her eyes and he could feel her love for him. And it was all good. And he cried.

For the better part of 40 years he would rise in the morning and kiss her on the cheek. As she would make the coffee he would watch her and thank God for such a blessing, even in the turmoil of rushing lives and noisy kids. And every night, for the better part of 40 years, he would kiss her goodnight. And it was all good. And he cried.

In the beginning there wasn't much between them. The old house they rented was warm with love. But they had little else. Having little money, they rarely went out for dinner or to the movie. They were very content sitting in the swing on the front porch. The swing was old and had been painted and repainted many, many times. And it wasn't really all that comfortable. He had toyed with the idea of replacing the old swing, since they used it so often. But he knew it was a part of the house and it should always remain. He thought of the hundreds or thousands of hours they sat together in that swing. He thought about how beautiful she was and he would look into her eyes and tell her so hundreds or thousands of times over. They would sit in the swing and talk for hours at a time. He remembered that it was in that swing where they planned their lives together. And it would all be good. And he cried.

It has been a year since she left him. God must have needed her more than he did. In this last year he would rise every morning and make coffee, alone. At night, he would pray for an answer. He would look at her picture and try desperately to look deep into her eyes. And she can no longer look back at him. And he cried.

He traveled back to that house where they lived all those years ago. He passed it many times in the last year. The swing was still there. On this night he walks up the stairs of the front porch and he sits in the swing. An early autumn breeze blows and he covers himself with her coat. He falls asleep dreaming of 40 years of joy and sorrow. His body is old, but his eyes are good and he can see the past with clarity. And it was all good. Tonight he will be with her again, this time forever. And he will not cry.

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