“Now, Missy…” Morris Kramer said, shaking his head. “Do you really have to ask?”
“Yes, I do!” Violet said. “Or I wouldn’t have asked!”
He chuckled. “You and your daughter have something in common after all,” he said. “Anyway, the answer is yes, of course he still loves you. Just don’t ask me why he doesn’t take the bull by the horns and do something about it…but I can guess. It was the same thing with me and Martina I suppose. Blasted pride always gets in the way. Violet, my advice to you is don’t let pride ruin what could be your last chance at happiness.” He then kissed her cheek and smiled. “Life waits for no man or woman and if Victor won’t do it…I say it’s up to you.”
Violet watched the old man walk up to Marty and startle her with a passionate kiss.
“See? If they can do it so can you! Do it, Violet. DO IT!” Richard nearly screamed in her ear. “Just do it already so we can get on with our…uh….”
“You were about to say lives, weren’t you?” Heidi said.
“Yeah well, they have to get on with their lives…while we need to go on with our… death,” Richard said, looking kind of green around the ghostly gills. “Just makes me nauseous to think of it that way.”
“You mean nauseated,” she said, sighing. “Indeed they do. But why would she listen to you now when she hasn’t in all this time? We have to think of something to spur this on.”
“Wasn’t that what the side trip to Mrs. Beckel’s cottage was for?” Richard said. “It was a huge waste of time…”
“You know perfectly well it was not a waste of time,” Heidi said. “Besides saving a an able bodied woman from the ultimate act of desperation-- brought on by psychotropic drugs no less—she realized life must go on, hers as well as Mrs. Beckel’s. Violet has already decided to give her house to your son…that’s something. It may not seem like it, but her courage is growing, bit by itty bitty bit. She just needs another push in the right direction.”
“We push her anymore and she’ll go over the cliff…straight into the Grand Canyon and it’s a long way down for such a scaredy cat,” he said.
“Or frightened mouse. Perhaps…yes, perhaps this takes a woman’s touch,” she said, thoughtfully.
“What?” Richard said.
“I’ve been letting you handle things and it hasn’t gotten us anywhere,” she said, waving a dismissive hand in his face. “My mistake was stepping back when what she may simply need is a friendly, feminine voice, one who understands her and what she’s going through. A subtle nudging always works better than a overbearing command, you know…at least with Violet.”
“What are you planning to do?” he asked.
“You’ll see. Just give me some room to work my magic,” Heidi said, drifting over to Violet. On the way she went through Laurie who gave a violent shudder and pulled her new shawl--knitted by Violet--closer to her body to fend off the sudden chill.
Heidi put a gentle hand on Violet’s shoulder.
“Now, dear, you’ve received as much good advice as anyone can use in one sitting and oddly enough all the same bit of advice. So, you know what you have to do, don’t you? You need to follow that advice, because it’s universally good advice. I know how frightened you are. It is extremely daunting to put your heart on your sleeve especially when you don’t know what the response will be.
That is why some men nearly go into convolutions just before popping the question, but you know what? You actually already know what Victor will say,” Heidi whispered in Violet’s ear. “Freddy’s right, Laurie’s right, Marty, Morris and Flora are all in unison about this, and if you asked everyone single person here at this party they’d say the same thing; You love Victor and Victor loves you.
Those little children adore you as much if not more than you adore them. There are no two ways about it. You all belong together. Think of those children…my goodness, how they owe you so much for their new life, their new family, their loving father, all of this. That was all your doing, you know, and when you ask Victor to marry you and he accepts, as we all know he will eagerly do, perhaps you could sweeten the deal ever so much by suggesting bringing forth another child or two. How Victor would love that! How lovely would that be, Dear?”
“Oh…yes…it would,” Violet mumbled to herself, the fantastic vision vivid in her mind’s eye. “But not just for him… for me too.”
“But the only way to realize that amazing dream is to step up to that perilous and terrifying precipice and take a leap of faith,” Heidi said. “I’ll bet ten thousand rose bushes someone very caring, very strong and very much in love with you will be there to catch you and hold you safe in his arms forever more. What do you think about that?”
Violet nodded slowly, a determined look suddenly appearing on her face. She took a deep breath and forced herself to walk back to that den and kick her mother out if she had to. She was going to do it! She was going to ask Victor to marry her.
“My goodness, you’re a handsome devil, aren’t you?” Harmony said. “No wonder Violet is head over heels in love with you.”
Victor half smiled and set down the silver tray. “As my father once said repeating what my mother instilled in me, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, what’s on the inside is what counts, so if you want people to see the beauty without, then make sure you have beauty within,” he answered, assiduously ignoring the second part.
“I suppose that’s true. Aren’t you going to give me one of those?” she asked pointing to the eggnog.
“I thought you said you wanted rum for them,” he said obediently handing her the glass.
“That was just to get rid of Violet for a bit,” she said before she sipped at the thick beverage. Her eyes widening at the surprise kick within. “Sakes alive…if you put any more rum in this I’d be down for the count.”
“That’s Marty’s doing,” Victor said, sitting in his favorite chair opposite hers. “She never saw an eggnog or punch she couldn’t spike… a lot. You’ve met her, I believe?”
“Yes, I have and don’t change the subject,” Harmony said, smacking her lips.
“Didn’t think I had,” he said.
“When the subject is Violet and you start talking about anything else, then you did,” she said, shrewdly eying him. “So…what’s the story?”
“Beg your pardon?” he said.
“Victor, please, it does not become us to be coy,” she said. “Come now, time’s a-wasting, so let’s get down to it, shall we? What is the story with you and my daughter? Now, before you spin something, know this: I already know EVERYTHING there is to know. Violet told me things…this is while I was in my suspended state of nothingness or whatever you want to call it, mind you, when she didn’t think I could actually hear anything, let alone remember it all. Let’s just say you don’t wanna know how much I know about you and her, so don’t go thinking you can pull the wool over my eyes…cuz you can’t.”
“I…uh…okay…” he mumbled.
“Let’s cut to the chase,” Harmony said. “You love her, right?”
He thought about lying, but what would have been the point in that? He nodded.
“So? Why haven’t you…” she sighed. “Actually, I already know why you haven’t married her yet.”
“Oh?” he said, curiously. “Why do you think?”
“Because of Richard.”
He half smiled. “No flies on you,” he said.
She gave him an annoyed look. “But there will be tons of them on you real soon if you don’t make her forget Richard!” she snapped.
He shook his head. “It’s not up to me to do that…although in truth it’s exactly what I have been trying to do for close to a year…to no avail. I have done nothing but try to supplant him in her heart, but he won’t budge or, more like, she won’t let him go. Harmony, no disrespect intended, but you’re not telling me anything I haven’t told myself a dozen times, but I’ve done all that I can. It’s up to Violet to…I don’t even know what she could do at this point. We’re at an impasse and I don’t see any way out of it.”
“Do you really love her?” she asked.
“You already know the answer to that. You just told me you know everything, after all,” he said.
“I know everything from Violet’s perspective, not from yours,” Harmony said. “So, I’ll ask one more time, do you truly love her?”
“If she asked you to marry her, would you?” she asked.
He actually laughed. “She’ll never do that, not in a million years!” he said. “Violet’s too old fashioned. She’s said so herself a hundred times at least. What did she call herself when we were first getting to know each other?” he said, searching his memory. “Yes, a dinosaur, a throwback to another time, a time when men knew their roles as well as women did and there was no confusing the two. It’s what I loved most about her. She knew who she was and made no excuses for it and she didn’t expect men to stop being men.”
Harmony stared at him, a slow, lazy smile creeping in. “Well, then…we’ll just have to see about that, shant we?”
He scoffed. “I’m afraid you’ll be waiting a very long time for that to happen, Harmony.”
Just then a knock came at the door and Violet’s head peeked in. “Sorry to interrupt, but…Mom, are you okay? Might I have a word with Victor? Alone.”
Harmony smirked at the stunned expression on Victor’s face and she reluctantly got out of her exceedingly comfortable chair. “I think…yes, I think I better go see what Benjamin is doing. The poor man might be completely lost at this lovely Christmas party, especially without his shiksa to show him the Christian way.”
“Are you sure you’re all right, Mom?” Violet said as the older lady slowly made her way toward the door. “We can go elsewhere to talk if you’re still tired.”
Harmony kissed her cheek and whispered, “I’m fit as a fiddle. Go get’em, Honey. He’s yours for the taking.” She smiled and closed the door behind her, leaving the two of them staring at each other.
“God, please knock some sense into those two knuckleheads,” Harmony muttered to herself as she went down the hallway. “I don’t have the strength yet to drag them both to the alter, but if I have to you know I’ll do it!”
©2018 Glory Lennon All Rights Reserved