as she sat on the worn wooden floor
with her curly brown head in her mother's lap.
she was 4, and the thought of leaving her mother
and father, who were as necessary to her as air
that filled her lungs, was unthinkable.
"i'm going to stay here, all my life, in the same room,
with the same sheets on my bed, and lacy curtains."
her mother smiled. "what if we move someday? what
will you do then?"
"we won't move," the child said simply. "we never have before."
the mother smiled, and pulled her fingers through the child's
nest of wind-blown curls and wispy flyways.
her daughter's lacy nightgown tickled her feet
and the eyes that gazed into the distance were large
and full of dreams.
"just you wait, child," was all she said.
"i'll never marry," the 10 year old said,
as she laid her head on the faded white pillow
that had been made by her grandmother many years ago.
"why are you so sure about that?" her mother asked,
smoothing the quilt, and kissing her daughter's forehead.
"because people don't know how to really love,
so why should they get married?"
"do you know how to love?" the mother asked,
curious to hear the thoughts on such a weighty subject.
"i don't know. maybe one day i'll find out."
"and if you do find out you know how to love,
will you still decide not to get married?"
the girl was silent. "i don't know, Mama.
love isn't something to be commanded, or called.
it just has to come, and it has to be right."
"i can't argue with that," the mother said, smiling in the dark.
but in her head, she was thinking,
just you wait, child.
"i'm never getting married," the 16 year old sobbed,
as she cried out all her tears on her mother's shoulder.
tears caused by someone who was loved and
someone who had walked out forever.
"i know i've said it before, but i mean it now. it isn't worth it."
the mother was silent. she was older now; grey hairs had mingled
with the brown ones and the skin around her eyes was wrinkled and tired.
"i said that before i met your father," she said, softly caressing
the curly head.
"i had many heart-breaks; or what i thought was heartbreak. you'll
fall for someone many times, darling, but when you meet the right one,
love will be worth it, i promise."
"maybe, Mama. some people find true love, but i don't believe i ever will."
"just you wait, child," the mother whispered. "just you wait."
"i can't believe i'm getting married," the 22 year old said softly
as she sat again at her mothers knee with her head in her lap.
"i said i never would over and over. i can't grasp the thought
of leaving you, and this life forever."
tears gathered in the eyes of the mother, but she smiled.
"you aren't leaving me, child. you never will. your love
has blossomed and grown, but the roots of your love will
always be here, with us, in this house with the faded sheets,
light strewn hallways and rooms jam packed with memories."
"you were right," her daughter said, after a moments silence.
"you always said, "just you wait", like you knew."
the mother smiled. "i didn't know. i just know how
the heart sometimes denies what it most longs for,
and turns away from what it needs the most.
love is one of those things. it can make you weak,
or it will make you strong. if you've found the right kind,
it will always make you strong."