Today I sat in a cemetery for two hours and heard a beautiful story. A love story. Coronavirus is currently first most on everyone’s mind today, and was yesterday and will be again tomorrow but for my friend Judy, there was also an anniversary to feel and acknowledge today on this 25th day of March, 2020. Ten years missed, forever loved. A husband, father, son, brother – a man of standing, integrity, wise, funny, and imperfect like all of us, but just perfect for Judy as she was for him.
I was honoured to be invited to join her and as we sat under grey skies and green trees, the world around us continued on with local government voting at the church across the road, several other pairs and solo visitors to this quiet resting ground of dear ones and cars passing – most likely filled with drivers anxious to make preparations for the next round of government instructions. Today was not about Corona. Today was about Ross.
The sharing of a story is a gift to me – a precious joy. This one is about yellow corollas, Queensland number plates, touch rugby and a delicate bouquet of mixed flowers. They were young. Beautiful of course. He was a country lad who had joined the army as an apprentice and she was a city girl with an adventurous spirit and a sassy attitude.
Judy has a mentor. A charming lady of wisdom and talent who speaks to her of the chapters in her life. The large ones and those which will be smaller. As a writer, I view all of our lives as a story hence chapters sit logically – rolling on with a rhythm which may refuse to be compliant.
She spotted his car first – arriving into the carpark with its bright yellow paint and distinctive Queensland registration in the Sydney enclave which was the location of her own military posting. My heart warmed when Judy shared this part as she was smiling and her eyes had all the spark of a teenager. As she told me more, I was thinking about Ross, oblivious as he parked his little corolla that he was about to collide head on with the unfathomable force of love.
Later there would be enquiries made by this young, pretty blonde girl. Who was he? Where was he from and what is he doing here? She was away from home and all that was familiar and here was this new boy – a Queenslander. Judy does not know – shy! Outgoing and friendly, that very night at the ‘boozer’ over friendly beers and mixed games of darts they exchanged tender flirts and enjoyed the commonality of being superior Queenslanders in this southern state.
Soon enough there was afternoon sport and fitness and a friendly touch game which gave him the chance to impress her. I could hear in the telling that it was not by chance that he was close to her each time she intercepted or had possession. Judy shares this chapter of her life – soon to be their life with elegance and humour. We are comfortable during the telling that he is not here, and yet he is here.
That afternoon and the obvious chemistry, mutual fun and banter must have given Ross the confidence to ask Judy for a date. A dinner date it would be. She laughed at something then – a private memory. The day after their first formal date, flowers arrived for her. She knew then. Their love story had begun.
There would be a tiny Sydney one-bedder and a small cottage further west which brings her only joyful memories. Boozy camping with friends and all the while planning a future – commitment. This was the best love story of all – the real kind.
We are back in the cemetery and it is sad to have to miss Ross. Judy looks and acts strong. She has honored their life and family together whilst carving out a new chapter just as Ross wanted. Now that wish from Ross is a true love story and it does not have an ending.