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Love as Pure as Snow
Some people say that central park is full of mysteries. Mysteries only unlocked by something as pure as a winter’s snow. According to legend the park is home to the spirits of two lovers in the roaring Twenties. Whenever he returned home from a business trip in L.A they would spend the day together in the park but at night they were lovers. A few years passed and the woman and the man married. And she became pregnant. 5 months later the man was returning from a business trip when his plane crashed. When the news of the death of her husband reached her she went into labor a whole 2 months early. The baby survived and she raised him never forgetting her husband until they could be together again. It is said that they roam the park bringing couples together through their son.
Of course I don’t always believe in local folk lore; being 17 kind of does that for you. My name is James Moore and I have lived in New York City my entire life. I live in apt. 32 in the Bluffs. It‘s not as grand as the Emerald next door, but it won’t cost you an arm and a leg to live here. I live with my mother; she’s all I have. My father left us when I was 3, so my memories of him are slim to none at all.
Autumn brings life and color to the park. I could spend hours, even days here. You see I didn’t always live in the city, I came from the opposite end of the state. There are lots of trees there; The Park is the only place in this metal empire that feels like home. My name is Violet. My family and I live in apt. 63 in a building called the Bluffs. Tomorrow is my first day of school here in the Big Apple.
So here I sit in Spanish class watching in disgust as the underclassmen gossip about the latest news around the school. How I hate public school. I never wanted to go here in the first place. About two summers ago I auditioned for a spot at the Blair School of Music. Blair is a conservatory for musically inclined teens. Music is my life. When I was about nine, my mom splurged to get me lessons for my “gift”. Every other day after school I would go and practice with Elena Dejonge. She would work with me hours at a time. Then, I would go home and practice in the ballroom of our building.
In two month’s time I was playing the classics; Clare de Lune, Moon Light Sonata, a Valse by Chopin. With Elena’s help my musical knowledge grew and grew. But then when I was 13, the rent in our building went up so my lessons had to be cut. But I kept practicing. The summer before freshman year I tried out for Blair but they decided that “I was not ready for a school like Blair”.
Going to a new school sucks. I always go to the park after school to calm down. It’s relaxing looking at the trees and strolling through the park. Every day I go, I always see this old man who is always smiling. I don’t know why but it seems like he is looking for life outside his wheel chair. It’s sad.
After I got the news about Blair, I started going to the park more often. There I find inspiration for music whether it’s the falling snow or the color of the leaves. Every day now I seem to be here. I see several things as I go about walking but the one I find most peculiar is an old man. He looks to be in his late 70’s in his wheel chair. And looks as if he is in constant pain but he is the happiest man alive.
After my jaunt through the park, I decide to do some reading in the lobby of my building. It is nice there. It has a rustic old fire place next to the grand stair case. As I’m sitting there reading, I hear this music. It was gentle like falling snow. The beauty haunts me, playing over and over again in my head. I look around to see where it’s coming from and I hear it coming from the ballroom. I slowly open the giant wooden doors to find a young man playing a piano. The song slowly fades into the walls coming to its bitter end. “That’s beautiful” I tell him. He turns in horror and runs as if he is at the scene of a crime.
Immediately, I knew I shouldn’t have played midday. After the school of Blair, my self confidence for playing has gone down and when that girl saw me play I got freaked out. I needed to take a walk.
All I could think about that night was the music. Months passed and still no sign of the Song or the young man who played it and then I saw him at school. He was in the grade above me. His golden brown hair and dark brown eyes melted my heart. James.
I needed a walk after school today the pressure about school is stressing me out. I still worried about what that girl heard. I know I shouldn’t be worried about it, but something about her haunts me like a distant memory. As I think of her, the scent of crab apple blossoms fills the air. And then I saw her, her beauty radiating through the trees like a star in the night sky.
“You fancy her don’t you?” I heard a voice from behind.
“What?” I spun myself around quickly to find the man in the wheel chair staring at me and the girl.
“You fancy her ...”
“She’s very pretty but...” I quickly responded.
“You like her, I remember when I met the girl of my dreams . It was the best day of my life” he quickly interjected so I sat there and listen to the story of his true love.
“The year was 1937 and the depression was slowly fading away. I was 10 and my mother took me to the market to get a piece of candy for my birthday. And there was the most beautiful girl in the world. She kept staring at this post card from Ireland with a look of hope in her eyes. I told her that day that I would take her there someday. She laughed and ran off. But I was serious. As the years passed on, we began courting each other and we finally got married.”
The breeze brought warmth from the melting snow. Sitting on a bench by the ferry stop a couple of miles from home, I see the old man. He rolled over next to me and began to telling me one of the saddest stories I had ever heard.
“You know my wife and I got married in this very park. She was so wonderful. We tried for years after our honeymoon to try to have kids. About five years later we went to the doctor. The news he gave us was the news that broke my wife’s heart. He told us that she was not able to have a child. This devastated my wife. She grew into a state of depression and would spend days in the yard staring at the leaves falling from the tree one by one. She was so sad, so I started saving money to go to Ireland keeping my promise from long ago; and she was so happy. We had the time of our lives! But when we got back, she became very ill and she died in that hospital down the street.”
As he told me this story a single tear drop fell from his cheek.
I saw her at school that next day. We chatted small talk and became real close. It’s odd how sometimes you can have a connection with a person you know so little about.
After that day, James and I began dating. It wasn’t anything serious, just friendly dating. Walks through the park, a movie or two; Stuff like that. The summer drew people to the park. We began to visit the man in the wheel chair every day to hear his stories of his life and to learn lessons.
That summer James got accepted into Julliard. We were all so happy for him. His musical ability grew better every day. I think he kept getting inspiration from Mr. Reilly, and as summer came to an end James and I were in love even though we never showed it. For a treat, James took me to the roof top of our building to eat dinner above the city lights and looked down at the city below. We began talking when we realized that Mr. Reilly never told us how he got in the wheel chair as we tried to uncover the story behind the wheel chair. We saw an ambulance cart Mr. Reilly away .We followed him to see what had happened.
That night was the longest night of my life. Sitting there in the hospital wondering what had happened. The nurse said that he had a heart attack and that we could visit him tomorrow. When we visited him the next morning, his face illuminated when we entered the room. We asked him about his wheel chair and the tears grew.
“After Emma died I fell into a great depression and I was overcome with grief. I went home and cried for days and eventfully I tried killing myself. I jumped out of my 5th story apartment and fell on a car that saved my life. I was paralyzed from the waist down and I had a massive concussion. I passed out on the way to the hospital and I saw Emma. She told me that I had to live my life to the fullest for us, so I did and that is why I sit in this chair.”
In tears violet hugged Mr. Reilly and we went on our way.
Mr. Reilly passed away that next Monday. At the funeral were a few friends and family, but he had no one really. Months passed on without him and autumn grew colder. We still visited him daily. But one cold winter morn we saw a letter placed on his grave.
I have gone and now you must live in my memory never wasting your life away and finding the secrete that is pure as snow.
Shocked we cried and walked down the pathway leading to the park. When we got to the end, the snow began to fall and the light of the city illuminated the flakes like stars.
James pulled violet close and whispered something in her ear. As they leaned in close to each other they kissed, stopping time as they did.
So you can say in a way the legend was true. Mr. Reilly was in fact the son of the two lovers of the Twenties. That night we found the mystery of the park.
Love as pure as snow.