Friday at last! It had been a long, hectic week at work for Marlie. End of the fiscal year. All programs were directed to account for their past year’s activities and spendings. What a relief finally to be home, in solace with Owen.
On most Fridays he would meet her at the local hang out for wine and dinner, but she had begged off with a phone call that afternoon.
“I just want to put my feet up, order in and have a some wine, alone in peace with you.”
He had agreed of course, as she knew he would.
“I’ll be waiting on the balcony with the wine!” She pictured his smile and glistening sky blue eyes, as his mellow voice reassured her.
She called out “Hello!” as soon as she entered their apartment. There was no response! That was troubling. He always greeted her. Marlie dropped her hand bag, slipped off her heels and headed down the hall to his office which opened to the balcony. The early spring sun blazed through the overhanging branches, waiting for the buds to form. It was surprising to have such warmth this time of year and late afternoon at that. Owen’s shut eyes opened wide in surprise as she repeated “Hello” and bent to peck his forehead. He had been dozing, she concluded.
The bottle of Merlot they enjoyed, along with two wine glasses were waiting at the side board. The small table beside his deep wicker chair held her mother’s opened Bible, which they both shared. Also within reach was the large amber ashtray he had purchased for her, because she liked amber and also because of its size, as a tease that she smoked too much.
“I only smoke at work and only out here on the balcony. It’s large enough to share with your pipe.” She had reminded him.
Just then a loud shatter! The massive ashtray cracked before them in countless wedges from the centre, hurling his pipe to the floor.
“Oh my goodness!” Marlie was startled. “It must have been caused by the heat of your pipe and the blazing sun hitting it simultaneously in the centre.” She was pragmatic.
Owen slowly stood up from his chair, reached for the wine bottle and poured the lush, maroon liquid into each glass. He handed her one, took the other, motioned for her to sit down as he did likewise.
“Marlena, I was asking for a sign…”
She remembered that day for years to come. She remembered her pseudo scientific explanation as to what she considered to be an ordinary experience. How different the experience had been for Owen, the seeker for answers to universal questions about the mystic. She remembered that day because that was the last day in which she smoked cigarettes. And she remembered that day also because she knew that was the night in which their precious daughter Amanda was conceived. But mostly she remembered that day, because it forever changed how she looked upon her own universe.
Life wasn’t only about waiting for the weekend. It was about holding onto every single day as important, with potential learnings and revelations. It was about accepting mysteries without attempting to explain them away by some latest scientific attempt at reasoning. It was about reconnecting to the universal consciousness that had guided mankind throughout the eons, yes with new insights, but anchored in fundamental truths since the dawn of creation. It was about recognizing, acknowledging and accepting signs that gave direction and encouragement.
From that time onward, Marlie became open to signs. There were signs that came to her in church, though not in any obvious way; it could be a hymn that held particular words she had thought of the day before, or a mention of an incident to which she had related. Other signs were often about friends who called or sent a note at precisely the moment she had thought of them. Sometimes, signs were simply memories that hung in the air like veils revealing themselves in moments when she needed comfort.
And thus it was ‒ when she waited for Owen to walk through the door of their home on that ninth day, of the ninth month, in the ninth year, as the rainbow arced for hours over their street, that Marlie knew her beloved had died. She knew that he had sent the rainbow as a sign of his covenant: he was and would continue to be with her throughout time and space and eternity.