Her husband gazed heavenward at Hesperus, the evening star. At first Maeve thought he praying. She heard him mumble, “Come darkling. Oh, majestic queen, rise from the abyss. The day is done and the darkness is falling from thy wings.” Nope, not praying, reciting poetry. Then she thought that the weary look on his face, worn expression, his pacing of the floor and the way he kept touching his forehead that her husband must still be hung over from the night before. This was silly because John was born for the night. This started her to worry.
“You know,” John started worriedly. “I know things sometimes.” He smiled weakly as his night-tressed wife as he brushes back the hair at his surprisingly not-gray temples
“Your little voice.” she admitted respectfully in that tone that all his friends and extended family used.
“Remember when our eldest graduated high school and I asked him what he was going to do about his girlfriend?”
Maeve loved her sons, but knew nothing about them for the most part. John handled the kids. She nodded for her husband to continue.
“I asked him if he was going to make some sort of commitment to her.”
“They were too young.” Maeve interjected tentatively, suddenly aware that she’d said that one too many times over the years.”
“That’s what everyone said. I told him, I believed in long engagements.” John chuckles. “Anyway, he said nothing to his girlfriend and she dropped him like a hot rock. So eventually she follows him to college. They date for two years. Your oldest son is getting ready to go off to medical school; I ask what he is going to do about his girlfriend. He says it will be okay. She drops him like a hot rock. So, right before graduation from medical school I ask him if he is going to propose to his new girlfriend of two years. She gave up her apartment and was living in her mother’s basement so that she could move at any time. She’s a beautician, so she can get work anywhere. He says, he’s too young and that it will be okay. He gets accepted into a practice and doesn’t propose. She too drops him like a hot rock. So, now he’s approaching thirty and still looking for love. And you know what my grandmother use to say; as we get older we get more and more particular and less and less desirable.” John finishes with a flourish and lift of his open upturned hands. He shakes his head. “Now his younger brother Rugen has graduated and started a career with the railroad managing a couple of crews of gandydancers. His girlfriend will graduate shortly and if he doesn’t propose… I know what is going to happen.” As he finished his presentation, he bit his plush lower lip in frustration. But something in the dawning thought showing on his wife’s lovely face reassured him and he smiled knowingly.
Maeve didn’t have a close relationship with many people beside her husband and sister, but she was close to his youngest son Rugen. She went to visit him the next evening.
“Mom!” the handsome young Rugen called in surprise as her unreigned car advanced swiftly upon his job site in the middle of nowhere. His most-fair mother exited her limousine attended only by the stars.
Being his father’s son, he gave her a big bear hug. She returned it with unnatural strength. When she thought about it, Maeve thought she loved Rugen (Bennie, as she called him.) the best of all her sons. They had a special relationship. With any of her other sons, she would have their lovey-dovey father speak to them. She admired Rugen’s broad shoulders and muscular upper arms, the produce of several summers during college swinging sledge hammers while working as a gandydancer. When she took his hands, she proudly noticed he still carried the calluses from hammer, crowbar and shovel.
She licked her blood lips predatorily before speaking after the preliminaries. “Your father and I think long engagements are alright. I think you will propose to Thyona. So the next thing I want to hear is that it happen.” Unknowingly the young man’s lungs sucked in air in order to… Maeve’s moon pale right hand went vertical, palm out, affectively stopping any unwarranted question. “Ask your older brother.” In response to the shocked look of understanding rounding his eyes and lips, her razor-sharp manicured right index finger lifted and lowered his dimpled chin; her sparkling diamonds and angular knuckles resting at his throat. She laid her velvet hand upon his weary brow and with her returning smile, his “fears decay and courage springs.“ Then she left for the airport and home.
Being more of a doer than thinker, Rugen proposed at the first opportunity; at his favorite cousin’s birthday party back at the college they all attended. Seeing a bright future for the two of them Thyona accepted. They agreed to do it (wed) once he got a job in town and wasn’t always on the rails. Though mostly college-age people attended, Rugen’s Aunt Roxanne was at the celebration and impromptu proposal.
“Dearie? Dearie, did I wake you? ” Roxanne screamed into the cell phone. “I just had to call you! It just happen. I had a feeling. I woke up this morning and told Stan, I just had a feeling and how it happen! Rugen proposed to Thyona.”
On the other end of the call Maeve laughed, not so much at the success of her plan, but rather at the delight in her sister’s voice. She could hear the great sobs rolling from her ample bosom and thought for sure big round tears accompanied them.
Roxanne literally jumped up and down waiting for Maeve’s response. Her face positively glowed with excitement, the false dawn rising over the mountains echoed back the color. Jumping about made her jewelry sparkle like the departing stars Her feminine frame shook and dangling earrings rocked in anticipation of telling how it was almost midnight, the place was really hopping, Rugen slipped the band a twenty to play their favorite song and then knelt there on the peanut shell covered floor. “He offered her a ring with a large black sapphire surrounded by diamonds. And she said yes! And then the band kept playing and playing. They took a break and this is the first time I could call you! I have a really good feeling about this. It’s wonderful!”
Roxanne’s husband Stan came out on the concrete patio with drinks and Kleenex, all quiet and solid, totally unfazed by the events of the night. He smiled bemusedly at his wife’s excitement as she chatted with her sister over the cell phone.
“Isn’t it wonderful?” Roxanne asked as she accepted his offerings.
Stan just smiled back slyly.
“You aren’t surprised! Did you help our gandydancer set this up?” Roxanne gasped.
“No. John talked to me about it Rugen proposing to Thyona. I understood it would happen.” Stan could feel the heat of the risen sun on his face. “Shall we drink to their new life and the new day?”
Roxanne turned to see the dawn and burst into tears, again.