One Quiet Whisper
Author's note: This story is based on the life of my wonderful grandmother, and amazing grandfather. May he rest... Show full author's note »
THIS IS IT . . .After one magical year of twitter pated love, Duane and Fransiska were taking a stroll through a nearby park. Duane reached his hand into the pocket of his jacket---making sure Fransiska didn’t see---and produced a small velvet box. He then casually reached down to hold Fransiska’s hand, like he had done hundreds of times before. Fransiska felt the tiny box encased in her boyfriends hand. She looked down and saw it. Then her gaze slowly tilted upward to meet his eyes. When their eyes locked, Duane saw pure astonishment on Fransiska’s face, he smiled.
“I was wondering, if you weren’t to busy, if you wanted to marry me?” He asked, full of confidence. Fransiska let out a small shriek of excitement, tears of happiness blurring her vision. She opened the box. Sitting in it was a blue crystal on top of a silver band. Duane pulled it out and knelt on one knee, and then taking Fransiska’s left hand, he slid the ring on her finger. It fit perfectly.
“Yes! Yes, yes, of course!” she cried.
“Great! Next month?”
“The sooner the better.” She pulled him off his knee, wrapped her arms around his neck, and gave him a passionate, tender kiss.
The wedding bells rang throughout the city. Inside, Fransiska and Duane were getting ready for one of the happiest days in there young lives. Elise sat their helping Fransiska get ready.
“I’m so excited!” Fransiska cried.
“I, know, me too! Now, quit moving.” She was doing her make up. Yet again fussing over the eye shadow. She finally selected a goldy rose shade.
“Oh, sorry.” Elise put Fransika’s hair up into an elaborate bun, and put a golden rose clip into it. Then placed the veil over her head. After helping her into her wedding dress, she stepped back, folded her arms, and examined Fransiska.
“Do you Duane LaMar Meacham, Take Fransiska Ruf to be your lawfully wedded wife?” the bishop asked
“I do.” He answered with out taking his eyes off Fransiska.
“And do you Fransiska Ruf, take Duane LaMar Meacham, to be your lawfully wedded husband?”
“Yes! Yes, I do!” The bishop turned to Duane
“You may kiss the bride.” Duane dipped his new wife, putting one hand behind her head and one on the small of her back, and then kissed her. His lips were damp and soft. She heard him growl low in his throat, a hungry and wild sound, that, if he wasn’t holding her up, she would have fallen in a weak effort to contain her excitement.
After an amazing year of happy moments and loving memories, Fransiska found out she was pregnant with one of the most beautiful gift God can bestow, a young infant.
“Duane!” she cried with joy. She burst through the front door of their small, one story apartment. “Duane, Duane, Duane, Duane, Duane!” she practically sang.
“Francy, Francy, Francy, Francy, Francy!” Duane mimicked his wife’s sing-songy, high pitched tone. She shot him a glare, but she couldn’t hold a grudge, she was too excited. Besides, she had to smile every time she heard that cute nickname her wonderful husband made for her.
“Duane. We. Are. Going,” she was dragging out the sentence as long as possible, “To. Be---“
“Yes?” Duane prompted, moving his hand in an outward circular motion. Fransiska picked up her pace.
“We are going to be parents!” she set her black leather purse on the ground, raced over to her husband, and flung her arms around his neck. Duane picked her up, twirling her around in a circle, then setting her back on her feet, only to give her a quick kiss. When Duane broke the kiss, he pressed his forehead against hers, and asked,
“When? When will he---she?---come?”
“Be patient my dear, it will be a few months, you know that.”
“Yes, but I believe I should be the one to tell you to be patient, the way you came
bursting in here, I thought I was going to come out into the hall way and find the door off its hinges.” Fransiska giggled, then she rose on her tip-toes and pulled Duane into a slow, loving kiss.
About nine months later, Fransiska was admitted to the hospital to deliver her first of six children.
“It’s a girl.” The doctor announced as he handed a tiny, crying infant to frail, crying
“Oh! Duane! She’s, she’s beautiful!” Fransiska cried as she carefully put her baby on her chest and softly rubbed her child’s back as she hummed a soft lullaby.
“What do you want to name her?” Duane asked
“I’ve always loved the name Rebecca, Shauna, and Leslie. Ummm, oh! Let’s name her Leslie!” Fransiska said, suddenly extremely excited. “Well, no I picture Leslie with dark hair, this little one’s is to fair. So either Shauna or Rebecca. You choose.”
“I think she looks like a Shauna.” Duane observed.
“Shauna it is!” Fransiska tilted her head to look into the eyes of her baby. “Do you like that, Shauna?” she asked. Baby Shauna had quieted down and her sparkly blue eyes were gradually drifting shut. “We’re parents’ honey,” Fransiska whispered. “Actually parents!” then her own eyelids started to droop shut, she was exhausted after hours of labor.
The nurse came into the small sterile room and removed little Shauna from Fransiska’s grasp, and took her to the nursery to be washed, weighed, and measured.
They stayed in the hospital for a few days, then took their baby girl home. Opening the front door to their apartment, Duane said, ‘Welcome to your new home!”
Fransiska was carrying baby Shauna in a brown car seat. Shauna was dressed in a tiny oink dress and wrapped in a soft purple blanket with little yellow flowers on it. Fransiska brought Shauna into the apartment and took her out of her seat and started rocking her back and forth. When Shauna fell asleep, Fransiska laid her down in her crib. After covering Shauna with the purple blanket, she crept down the hall, and into her bedroom. She was very tired from spending the past few nights in and uncomfortable hospital bed. She couldn’t wait to put on her silk night gown, and climb under the down comforter.
She pulled the covers back, and got into bed. Her head hit the pillow and she felt all her worries slip away, and her tense muscles start to relax.
Duane came into the room, removed his shirt and climbed into bed beside his wife.
“Welcome home sweetie,” he said, giving her a quick kiss.
“Thanks, I’m glad to be home. I missed you.”
“I missed you too. Can you believe, that just behind that wall,” he pointed to the wall across from their bed. “Is our own little angel?”
“Oh, Duane, I, I don’t know what to think, sometimes, I forget, then I remember, ‘oh, wait, I’m a mother.’”
“She’s beautiful. She looks a lot like you, you know,” Duane informed Fransiska
“No, she looks like you!” Fransiska countered, lightly smacking him on the chest. He grabbed her hand and held it there. Turning to face Fransiska, Duane lightly kissed her forehead, then her cheek, and finally meeting his lips with hers. The kiss started out slow and light, then grew into something more, something stronger, full of emotion and---
Reality came crashing down upon the two as they were quickly broken apart by the sound of a baby girl’s screams.
“I’ll go help her,” Duane sighed.
Over the next years, they had five more children, three boys, and two more girls. Then after their kids had grown up and had a few kids of their own, Duane fell ill. So ill he was hospitalized.
“I’m sorry, but he may only live a few more weeks.” the nurse told Fransiska. Fransiska broke into hysterical sobs. “His liver is functioning at 5%,” she continued, “he shouldn’t even be alive right now. You aren’t supposed to live if your liver is functioning below 10%. So there is nothing we can do, I’m sorry. We’ll just send him home with you now.”
“WHAT!?!? THERE’S NOTHING YOU CAN DO!?!?” Fransiska yelled, between her gasping sobs, “This is the 21st century! Of course there is something you can do! I, I’ll pay whatever it costs, just MAKE MY HUSBAND BETTER!” then she quietly added desperately, “Please.”
“Well, there is one thing, but it may have no affect, and he may not live through the procedure,” the nurse hesitated.
“What?! What is it?!” Fransiska demanded
“We could put a filter in his liver. It’s supposed to function as a liver, but he is so frail already, he may not survive the surgery.”
“Please! Anything! Just help him!” she begged. Fransiska had collapsed to the floor, she sat with her legs tucked under her. The nurse squatted down to Fransiska’s level. Now that the nurse was eye to eye with her, Fransiska could make out her features better. The nurse was young, mid-thirties, maybe. She had fair hair braided down to her lower back. Her eyes were a sea-glass green, and full of concern, beautiful.
“We will try everything in our power to make him better, the rest we leave in the hands of God. I promise you.”
“Thank you,” Fransiska whispered.
“Anytime,” The nurse gave Fransiska a sad smile, Fransiska tried to return it, and failed. “You go home and rest now.”
“Okay. Thank you. Goodbye.”
Three weeks later and Duane had a successful surgery, he survived it, and was sent home to rest, and recover. The next two years past and Duane didn’t get any worse, in fact he started to get a little better. All the doctors were stumped, they had no idea why he was still alive, the filter wouldn’t keep him alive very long, only a few extra months, without as much pain. But everyone was rejoicing that he was getting a little better.
Then about six months later, he had a stroke. After that, the following three weeks were horrific. He didn’t remember much, and had trouble breathing. Finally Fransiska accepted the fact that her dear husband was dying. Every night she cried herself to sleep, then one day, she called all of her kids to come up to the house and give her husband a blessing, telling him he could go, that they released him.
At three a.m. the day after they gave him the blessing, Duane called his wife into the room.
“I love you so much Francy.” he was the only one that ever called her that. “You know that right?”
“Yes, of course. I, I love you too.” She was trying her hardest not to cry. This is it, she thought, I’m losing him.
“Don’t you ever forget that.”
“I won’t, I promise.” It was quiet for a few minutes, then Duane spoke again, desperately.
“Where did you go?” he asked, his hand groping through the air around him.
“I’m right here, I’m right beside you.” She grabbed his hand and gave it a gentle squeeze.
“I can’t see you, or anything. Everything is white.” He paused, then quietly added, “Goodbye, my love.” his hand went limp, and his eyes glazed over. Fransiska reached across the bed and carefully shut his eyelids.
The funeral was planed for three days later. It was a rainy day. His casket was trimmed with gold, and there was a huge bouquet of yellow and white flowers layed on top. Wrapped around the stems of the bouquet was a gold ribbon, and on it, written in silver were the words ‘Beloved Father’.
Since he served in the war, he was honored with a 21 gun solute. It was beautiful. As the men shot off their guns, another man stood off to the side playing the trumpet, its music filling the air with sorrow, and peace. Then one of the Marines brought Fransiska the flag they folded in honor of her husband, and the empty bullet shells.
After the Marines left, and everyone was saying there goodbyes, Fransiska went up to the casket and a tear ran down her cheek and landed on the lid encasing her husband.
“Goodbye.” Then she heard one quiet whisper.
“I’m waiting for you, my love. And I am, and always will be, by your side.”