The Rose

Boston Logan Airport
Boston Mass
Feb 1985

I wondered what would happen as I stood there in the airport waiting for her to get off the plane. I felt a little foolish and confused standing there holding a single long stem rose in a box. I had not seen her in ten years.

My thoughts scanned over our shared history. The breakfast lunches and dinners we shared as part of the same group freshman year. The romantic evenings in Brooks Hall sleeping in embrace. Long nights of pillowtalk to the sounds of Graham Nash records played and replayed. The parting for her Junior year abroad and my request that she stay, my joking but half serious proposal as a reason not to go.

She was now someone elses wife I reminded myself, but it had always seemed that circumstance and fate had stolen her from me. Was she unhappy now,... was that why she was flying to see me. Was there a chance now?

I reflected on that day when Bruce Gavett hurredly entered the ASG office proclaiming "Hey L's going to Marry Dave (withheld)" as he sat down at his desk. I looked up with a shock and blurted out "Oh Shit". It took a few seconds for it to sink in. Gavett had already started pouring over his ledgers as I reacted. Then he looked up with a surprise and an "Oh... Oh R.E.A.L.L.Y....." as he twirled his mustache mischevously peering at my shocked expression.

In the year since she had gone abroad things had taken unexpected twists and turns. At that age a year was a lifetime of experiences. Somehow I had missed her return from Junior Year abroad. Political turmoil and personal political attacks on me had consumed me and my thinking. I had not seen her since her return. Gavett's announcement stopped me in my tracks. With so much to deal with at the time it seemed like just one more thing that had gone wrong. I made it through the second term of my student office, then joined the Peace Corps and left Allegheny behind. In Thailand I took to the Joke that the Peace Corps was America's version of the French Foreign Legion.

I had thought of her frequently over the years along with others who had been my lovers which she had not yet become. Mostly it was fond thoughts of a friend I had always loved. After being run over by a tow truck she had seen my note in the Alumni Bulletin and been the one to call, then after several letters she had said she wanted to come visit to my pleasent surprise.

I worried about her reaction to my now broken face. Having been made suddenly ugly and deformed by the fractured jaw was something I was still trying to deal with. I wondered what her reaction would be.

As she walked toward me there was that shy cute grin that she always greeted me with just the same as it has always been. Her demur acceptance of the token of my affection immediately told me she was being moved by feelings as strong and romantic as my own. We were at my shared apartment in minutes and in bed moments later making passionate love.

The wounds I had suffered disappeared from my mind and I invested my soul in her with no thought to her marriage. We had not even mentioned it in the minutes following our reunitment, nor in our letters. It was the only of the "Big Ten" I feel I ever broke.

As we traded affection and conversation we heard the sound of the cat rummaging in the Living room area of the small shared unit. Right as were were consumating our new relationship there had been a crash in the room. The continued sounds of the cat rummaging and fussing had made us both look at each other in puzzled laughter during a momentary pause. We wondered what he could possibly be doing to create such a racket.

Later, we emerged to discover the rose now broken and lying on the floor by itself. The plastic box holding the single long stem Rose had been bitten, clawed and torn open and the stem of the rose chewed in half by the black cat.

I gave her the half with the rose and took the stem with its thorns for myself. Prophetically saying "thats probably all I am going to get out of this". After several more visits, an August 3rd Graham Nash concert on Boston Common, and after meeting and stuggling to accept her son as my own she returned to her husband and left me alone with my wounds. It seemed like a sign, a feeling I would get over and over again. This time a sign for what the only adultery of my life would yield me. Nothing but the thorns.

Footnote:Tragically, L's son Graham died in a car crash two days after her divorce utlimately became final some years later. The unfairness of life sometimes seems to have no bounds.

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This is one of the Thirty Three incredible stories surrounding the discovery of
King Solomon's Gate
The first Archaeological Proof of the Bible in history

Documentary Sources: Allegheny College Alumni Bulletin Winter 1985 Page 26, Other details withheld.