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MAX HOLLY: AN UNTARNISHED HEART, VOYAGE AND OTHER STORIES

AN UNTARNISHED HEART copyright 2012 MAX HOLLY - December 6, 2015

   ONCE UPON A TIME IN A TINY HAMLET PERCHED IN THE FOOTHILLS OF THE SAN GABRIEL MOUNTAINS OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, HIGH UPON A SHELF IN A CURIO SHOPPE FILLED WITH WONDROUS ANTIQUES FROM EXOTIC KINGDOMS AND OTHER DOMAINS BEST KEPT SECRET, SAT A DIMINUTIVE YOUNG BOY.
 
   DRESSED IN PATCHWORK OVERALLS AND A RED PLAID SHIRT, A TOUSLED MANE OF STRAWBERRY BLONDE HAIR FALLING GENTLY TO HIS SHOULDERS AND THE LIGHT OF HEAVEN MIRRORED IN HIS REFLECTIVE AZURE EYES; A BLACK VELVET NEWSBOY CAP SITTING SLIGHTLY ASKEW ATOP HIS HEAD, BEADED FRINGED MOCCASINS COVERING GAILY PATTERNED STOCKINGS WITH A STRING OF TINY JINGLE BELLS TIED TO A BELT LOOP, RINGING EVER SO LIGHTLY EVERY TIME THE HEAVY OAK DOOR TO THIS SINGULAR EMPORIUM OPENED AND CLOSED. AROUND HIS NECK, A GREEN SILK SCARF IMPRINTED WITH INTERLACED IVY, HELD IN PLACE BY AN INLAID NATIVE AMERICAN KERCHIEF RING JUST BELOW A KNOWING SMILE EARNED BY GREAT ADVENTURES IN THE PASSAGE OF TIME.

   LIFELIKE IN EVERY WAY...EXCEPT ONE.

   BENEATH THE BIB OF HIS OVERALLS, UNDER THE RED PLAID SHIRT, ENCLOSED INSIDE A PLIABLE, PINK-COLORED FLESH LAY A PACEMAKER UNLIKE ANY OTHER: A MECHANICAL HEART. 

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   ONE EARLY JUNE MORNING IN THE SHROUD OF A PACIFIC MARINE LAYER, A DESPONDENT FATHER IN SEARCH OF RESPITE FROM THE HEAVY HAND OF SORROW, AIMLESSLY WANDERED THE VILLAGE AVENUE.

   PEERING IN THE STORE WINDOW AT NOVEL CURIOSITIES OF EVERY SHAPE AND FORM, HE SMILED WEAKLY, OPENING THE HEFTY OAKEN DOOR. CLOSING THE MASSIVE PORTAL BEHIND HIM AS HE STEPPED INSIDE, A LIGHT JINGLE OF BELLS COULD BE HEARD SOMEWHERE HIGH ON A SHELF.

   NOTICING HIS FRIEND HE INQUIRED, HOW"S BUSINESS, HENRY?

   HENRY REPLIED, PRETTY GOOD, VALENTINE.

   WELL...THAT'S BETTER THAN NOT BAD, HUH? VAL JOKINGLY RESPONDED.

   THEY BOTH LAUGHED.

   VALENTINE CONTINUED SAYING HOW HE NEEDED TO FIND A SPECIAL GIFT FOR HIS DAUGHTER WHO HAD BEEN ILL FOR SOME TIME.

   A SOLICITOUS HENRY BEGAN,  I HEARD ABOUT MEGAN...

   I...I'M SURE...IT'S OKAY.
VALENTINE INTERRUPTED. DO YOU HAVE SOMETHING IN STOCK WHICH WOULD PUT A BIG SMILE ON HER FACE? SOMETHING DIFFERENT...COMICAL.

   
SCANNING THE SHELVING HIGH AND LOW HENRY THOUGHT TO HIMSELF, A RAGGEDY ANN WOULD NOT DO NOR A FAIRY PRINCESS DOLL; A PLUSH PUPPY OR A HOLIDAY SNOW GLOBE WOULD BE TOO ORDINARY. 

  GLANCING ABOUT, HIS EYES SETTLED ON THE UNUSUAL BOY IN STRANGE ATTIRE HIGH UPON THE SHELF. WITH A TWINKLE IN HIS EYE IN BROAD SMILE HE EXCLAIMED, AHA!! 

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   UPON ARRIVAL AT HOME, A CRAFTSMAN BUNGALOW TUCKED BETWEEN TWO PINE TREES WITH A COLORFUL PERFUME -LADEN GARDEN IN BACK, HE NERVOUSLY STRODE UP THE WALK IN ANTICIPATION OF PRESENTING HIS DAUGHTER WITH A GIFT HE HOPED WOULD CHEER HER DAYS. 

   QUIETLY TURNING THE BRASS KNOB TO HER DOMAIN DOOR, SO AS NOT TO AROUSE HIS BEDRIDDEN GIRL, HE WAS GREETED BY AN AUTHORITARIAN VOICE DEMANDING, WHO GOES THERE! FRIEND OR FOE!

   FRIEND AND WILLING SERVANT, M'LADY, VAL REPLIED. I HAVE A PRESENT FROM THE FAR NORTH TO SOMEONE NAMED MEGAN. COULD THAT BE YOU?

   YOU ARE THE BEST DADDY ANY GIRL COULD EVER HAVE! CAREFULLY OPENING THE BOX COVERED IN STICKERS OF COMETS AND CANDY CANES.

   EXTRACTING HER TREASURE FROM THE LAYERS OF AQUAMARINE TISSUE PAPER, WITH TEARS FREELY FLOWING, SHE HELD THE LITTLE BOY ALOFT PROCLAIMING IN A STATELY VOICE OF MAJESTY, I CHRISTEN THEE COSMO, GUARDIAN OF ALL HEAVENLY ANGELS HERE ON EARTH!

   
HOLDING COSMO CLOSE IN GRATEFUL EMBRACE, TEARS SEEPING THROUGH FIBERS OF THE RED PLAID SHIRT TO PERMEATE EVEN THE COVERING OF PINK SKIN, A SPARK OF MAGIC WAS IGNITED...COSMO'S HEART BEGAN TO STIR.

   FOR ENCAPSULATED IN A SHINY COPPER BOX DEEP INSIDE HIS CHEST, GEARS WITH GLEAMING SPOKES BEGAN TO WHIRR AND CLICK IN RHYTHMIC PERFECTION, PROPELLING THE PLASMA OF FOREVER AND ALWAYS COURSING THROUGH HIS VEINS, FREE OF CORROSION AND RUST, ACTUATED BY TEARS OF JOY, TO BEAT TO THE INFLUENCE OF LOVE: AN UNTARNISHED HEART.

   AWESTRUCK, WITH EYES WIDE OPEN IN SURPRISE, MEGAN EXCITEDLY EXCLAIMED, FATHER, HE'S ALIVE! 

   YES, MY DEAR...IF YOU SAY SO.
AS HE DEPARTED TO THE KITCHEN TO PREPARE LUNCH.

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   AS A PRISONER OF DECLINING INFIRMITY, THERE WERE TIMES WHEN MEGAN WOULD CRY BITTER TEARS WATCHING CHILDREN PLAY HOPSCOTCH AND TAG IN THE PARK ACROSS THE STREET BORDERED IN LAVENDER JACARANDA AND RED BRICK PLANTERS FILLED WITH SUNNY DAISIES AND GOLDEN MARIGOLDS. 

   NO MATTER...

   FESTIVITIES OF TEA PARTIES, CARD GAMES AND INVITATIONS TO COURT REQUIRING FORMAL ATTIRE FILLED THE FOLLOWING WEEKS WITH HAPPINESS AND JOYFUL DISCOVERY. IMAGINARY TRAVEL TO KINGDOMS READ ABOUT IN BOOKS AND JOURNEYS TRAVERSED IN THE FANTASY OF DAYDREAMS LIFTED THE SHADOW OF FORLORN DESPERATION.

   CONFIDING IN HENRY, VALENTINE SWORE HE HEARD COSMO SPEAK AS HE STOOD LISTENING OUTSIDE MEGAN'S BEDROOM DOOR.

   EVEN AS HER HEART GREW WEAKER AND WEAKER, SHE BECAME MORE LUMINOUS AND CONTENT ILLUMINATED BY THE LOVE EXCHANGED BETWEEN HER CONFIDANT AND COMPANION, COSMO AND HERSELF.

   ONE FINAL NIGHT BENEATH A CRADLE MOON, AS THE THE STARRY SKY EXPLODED IN BRILLIANT SHIMMERS OF RED, WHITE AND BLUE, SHE KISSED COSMO SWEETLY ON THE LIPS, FELL FAST ASLEEP AND DIED.

   YET... 

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   DOWN THE DARKENED HALLWAY IN THE MASTER BEDROOM, VALENTINE, WHO HAD FALLEN ASLEEP READING HIS FAVORITE POETRY, WAS AWAKENED BY A COOL ZEPHYR AND A KISS UPON HIS CHEEK. CLOSING THE BOOK, HE TURNED OUT THE READING LAMP AND WEPT TEARS OF SADNESS AND JOY IN EQUAL MEASURE.

   WITH A SLEEPLESS HOUSE GRIEVING IN REMEMBRANCE OF A BRAVE AUBURN-HAIRED LITTLE GIRL, COSMO OPENED THE SASH FRAMING A STAINED GLASS ABSTRACT KALEIDOSCOPIC MARITIME SCENE OF GREENS AND BLUES TO THE BEAUTIFUL, SCENT-FILLED GARDEN BELOW. STANDING AS A SOLITARY GUARDIAN, GAZING SKYWARD WITH ILLUMINATED EYES, HE TURNED INWARD IN REFLECTIVE SMILE. 

   WITH ONE LAST GLANCE OVER HER SHOULDER, MEGAN JOINED COSMO, CLASPING HER HAND IN HIS, FINGERS INTERTWINED IN TRUSTING FAITH.

   WHISPERING IN HER EAR WORDS OF TRANSPORT, THE HEAVENS OPENED IN THE FORM OF A CIRCULAR, IRIDESCENT RAINBOW WHERE IMPOSSIBLE IS A THOUGHT NOT KNOWN.

   SPROUTING SILVERY GOSSAMER WINGS OF STARDUST AND DREAMS COME TRUE, THIS PAIR OF FORTUNATE AERIALISTS, STEPPED OFF THE MARBLE LEDGE AND HAND-IN-HAND, HAPPILY FLEW AWAY.

           

VOYAGE - March 9, 2007

BUFFETED IN A SEETHING SEA OF SHATTERED DREAMS AND MISFORTUNE WITH EMOTIONS BORNE OF DISAPPOINTMENT AND TRAGEDY, SHE SAT CROSS-LEGGED IN BEADED BUCKSKIN ON NATIVE BLANKET.

IN RESTLESS MEDITATION, CONSUMED WITH THE TRANSGRESSIONS OF THE PAST...REAL AND IMAGINED; SUSPENDED BETWEEN FORGIVENESS AND FORGIVING, THE REMEMBERED PROMISES OF EVERLASTING LOVE HAD KEPT HER SPIRIT SAFE, BOUYANT AMONGST THE TOSSING WAVES OF TREACHERY, DOUBT AND MISADVENTURE.
                                                                 THEN ONE DAY...
             A                                                                         A
                 T                                                                          S
               R                                                                               T   E
                   I           OF                                  BECAME                 R    A
                     C               T                                                              M         
                        K          E                          OF                          E
                   L                 A                                   S              N   S               
                       E                R                      C    N     C       S          S        
                                             S                     O           I   U
                                                                                  O 

                                                                                                           
                                                                                                         
                                                                                                        

TURNING MOMENT BY MOMENT INTO A COSMIC CAPILLARY OF RUSHING PASSION FULMINATING IN AN ANGUISHED TORRENT OF HEARTBREAK AND LOSS WHICH RENT THE FABRIC OF TIME IN TWO.

...UPON HEARING THE CALL...UNAFRAID...

IN THE COLLAPSE OF UNCERTAINTY AND THE RISE OF COURAGEOUS FAITH AND TRUST: IN BIRCHBARK CANOE, SHE JOURNEYED ON THE CELESTIAL RIVER UNITING MORTAL AND DIVINE IN JOYOUS CHOIR; HEALING THE RIFT BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH AS SHE FOLLOWED THE SOUND OF HIS VOICE.  

STANDING BY HIS SIDE, SHE SOFTLY WHISPERED IN HIS EAR, YOU CANNOT MISS THOSE WHO ARE NOT GONE.

KEEPING HER VOW OF ETERNAL LOVE, BEYOND THE REVOLVING OF EXISTENCE, SHE STAYED TO LIVE FOREVER IN THE HEART OF THE ONE WHO LOVED HER THE MOST...

                                                                      ALWAYS. 

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