This story is dedicated to my grandmother, Kathleen Anne Labuschagne and my late grandfather, Willem Van Zyl, who sadly passed away in 1958. Rest in peace grandpa.
was a cold, miserable
night, typical for mid-July, and Kathleen had been more than happy to
settle by the fire in the lounge. Now that she had put the baby to
bed, she knew that she could relax completely with very little chance
of being disturbed. In fact, she had already decided to change into
her night attire before returning back downstairs. This was how
Kathleen loved to spend her evenings – at least she loved to
Kathleen was rudely awoken from her daydream, as the fire that had been roaring fiercely in the hearth suddenly flickered dramatically and she felt a cold chill penetrate her bones. She leaned forward to disturb the coals and poke some life back into them before sitting back and pulling her shawl around her. She shivered uncontrollably and no sooner had the goosebumps started to appear on her arms, when she felt his strong arms envelope her, pulling her close to him. She didn’t need to look around to know that it was the warm and comforting embrace of her darling husband.
Kathleen let her head fall against his shoulder. She had always felt so safe and secure in his arms, ever since he held her close and declared his love for her all those years ago. In that moment, she had known, that standing before her was the man that she would spend the rest of her life with.
She felt his fingertips softly caressing her cheek and she could feel the damp heat of his breath on her neck.
“Oh, I've missed you,” she sighed, as he continued to pepper sweet kisses on her collarbone.
“Remember…” she heard him whisper, his voice, soft and loving, as his lips grazed her forehead. Kathleen’s head began to spin with the sensation of feeing him next to her. He had never lost the ability to transform her into an emotional wreck, both mentally and physically, just by his mere touch.
“Remember our first kiss,” he continued, and in her mind, Kathleen was instantly transported to that beautiful moonlit night. She could see his gorgeous blue eyes sparkling, full of promises that he would fulfill, over and over in the years that were to follow.
She blushed when she remembered how he had sung to her while playing his guitar that night, and how he had reveled in her beauty and innocence. He knew how to play the guitar, and sing and yodel. It sounded so beautiful and she could have listened to him for hours and hours.
Their kiss had been brief but for Kathleen, it had been the most heavenly experience she ever had. Only in her wildest dreams had she imagined that his lips could be do delicious and yet so delicate. She had wanted more but she knew that patience was a virtue and that before long she would be able to taste his lips whenever she pleased.
Next, Kathleen’s thoughts turned to the day they met. His elder brother had been dating her elder sister. He was moving to Johannesburg from Kakamas , and he didn’t have a partner to the dance. So his brother asked Kathleen if she would partner him to the dance. Of course, she agreed. They were just sixteen at the time. They dated for four years before getting married.
Kathleen felt his fingers trail languidly down her arm until they came to rest on top of her hand. He took her hand in his and slowly lifted it to his lips, where he kissed her palm softly and brought it to cup his own cheek. She sighed and sank back further into his embrace, resting slightly across his firm chest.
With tears stinging her eyes, she whispered, “sing for me,Willem.” She could feel his lips move against her temple as he began to sing very quietly and the tears that had threatened to fall started to trickle down her cheeks.
“Let me call you sweetheart.
I'm in love with you.
Let me hear you whisper
That you love me too.
Keep the love light glowing
In your eyes so blue.
Let me call you sweetheart.
I’m in love with…”
The singing trailed off gently and almost as soon as it had begun, she could hear his mellow voice no longer.
Kathleen closed her eyes to try and stem the flow of tears as he brought his mouth to her ear and whispered, “always remember that I love you.”
His lips captured hers in a sweet, chaste kiss. Feeling him pull away, Kathleen instinctively brought her fingers to her lips, trying to capture his kiss forever.
As she slowly and tentatively opened her eyes, her head dropped gently against the back of the settee. She felt the temperature in the room plunge once more as the fire this time spat and crackled it's last.
Kathleen turned in hope but there was nothing, just like all the other times when she had felt his presence, but in reality, all that was left was a crippling sense of loss and the hope that one day soon, she would truly feel his arms around her once again.