When Meningsbee’s wife, Doris, died, a minister friend counseled him to take some time and give himself the luxury of grieving.
So for six months, Richard permitted his heart, soul and mind to reminisce and dream delightful thoughts about his dear friend, Doris.
There seemed to be a healing. It got a little easier to consider her gone, though there was never any real “ease” in the notion.
After the six-month grieving period, Meningsbee decided to reenter his life of writing and pastoring, only to discover that the emotional stitching he had done on his internals busted loose, and he was flooded with a deluge of remorse.
He thought he was crazy. He even thought he heard Doris moving about the kitchen.
Sitting at breakfast, his mind wandered. He saw her perched in the chair across from him, with her feet tucked up under her butt, with her long, graceful fingers caressing a coffee cup–closing them around the handle, bringing it to her lips, sipping slowly and then giving a seductive little contented shiver. It was so beautiful.
Her peace of mind made him feel like a man.
Even one Sunday at church, during a communion service, his eyes filled with tears. The congregation thought he was moved by the experience with the Holy Meal, but actually it was the scent of the communion wine that brought a memory of a green lotion Doris once applied to her feet–to heal her corns. He giggled inside, remembering her smearing the fluid on her feet and quipping, “I was a girl. Now apparently I’m going to become a grandma with corny feet, and completely skip woman.”
Then, three weeks ago Matrisse’s sister from Chicago came to town, and a blind date of sorts was planned. She was an extraordinarily attractive woman–intelligent and the general manager of a corporation in the Windy City. But because she was just coming off a divorce, she ended up discussing her misgivings and in no time Meningsbee found himself counseling and consoling her instead of considering her. The movie was cancelled and she expressed her gratitude for his words of wisdom with a peck on the cheek.
Meningsbee realized there’s no such thing as “getting over” someone you loved.
There’s always a space–always something they did that was so unique that it couldn’t be duplicated by the actions of another.
Exactly three days before she passed away, Doris rose in the morning after they’d had a fussy tiff with each other the night before, bounced into the room, hugged his neck and said, “Reverend Richard Meningsbee, you are my favorite annoyance.”
How can you forget that?
Somewhere along the line, the preacher just decided to stop fighting the urges to love her.
People are not replaceable–we just learn to appreciate what other people have to offer.
There’s always a space–a space forever occupied with visions of Doris.