Henry leaned back in his rocking chair as he watched the snow falling outside. Another year was ending. Another year without his sweet Susannah. How he missed her, especially around this time of year. The loneliness affected him more over the holidays.
Susannah never had been able to bear a child, so it had always been just the 2 of them, which was fine. Sure Henry would have loved to have had children, but his heart overflowed with the love he had for his sweetheart.
Oh, the memories they had made together. The fun adventures they did have. He chuckled to himself as he thought of the one camping trip they had taken. It had rained their first night and their tent leaked, they had quite the rude awakening of having a “waterbed”. That was the first and last time that they slept in a tent. They bought a small pop up camper and had many delightful camping trips with that.
They didn’t have to travel to have an adventure though, for loving Susannah, was an adventure in itself. Spending quiet evenings at home could be just as special. He would watch her at times from his recliner. Watch her curled up in her fuzzy blanket as she read on the couch. See her be totally engrossed in the book. He would watch the expressions that would cross her face and every now and then she would look up and send him a soft smile, before looking back down. Oh sweet Susannah, how he missed her!
What was that? Who was knocking at his door on New Year’s Eve?
Henry went to open it and to his surprise there was an older lady at the door. “HI Henry! I thought you would like some freshly baked cookies.”
Henry took the plate she offered him and it still felt warm on the bottom. The aroma of the cinnamon chocolate chip cookies made his stomach remember that it was hungry.
“Why don’t you have a seat at the table and I will mix up some hot cocoa for us.” said the lady with a kind smile radiating from her face.
“But I have no cocoa,” said Henry. Susannah had been the one to always make sure to have hot cocoa in the house. Henry kept forgetting to get it at the store and he had been out of it for quite awhile now.
The lady opened his cupboard and said, “There is a cocoa mix right here, and look a bag of marshmallows beside it. ”
“But…how did they get there?” asked Henry.
Either the lady didn’t hear him or she was ignoring him, for he got no reply. Instead she started singing “O Holy Night!”
Henry was speechless, that had been Susannah’s favorite carol! He had loved it when she sang, her voice was so melodic, perfect tone.
He was spell bound as he listened. It sounded like Susannah singing. Oh, the memories were washing over him of her singing around the house, filling his heart with peace.
When the lady finished singing she brought Henry a cup of cocoa and sat down at the table with her own cup as well.
“So Henry, how are you? What a beautiful picture that is, who is she?” The lady asked, as she was looking at a picture of Susannah on their piano.
“That is Susannah, my sweetheart”, he said, as his voice cracked.
The older lady reached over and gently patted Henry’s hand saying, “I can see the sparkle that just mentioning her name brings to your eyes. Can you please tell me about her?”
For the next couple of hours Henry talked about Susannah, he shared their precious love story with a woman that he felt like he had known forever. They both shed some tears over his story, but they also shared laughter. Henry couldn’t remember the last time he had felt so happy. He was talking about his sweetheart to someone who eagerly listened and who he felt a connection with. What a special night this was turning out to be.
The clock chimed and Henry looked up gasping at the time.
“Oh my the hour is late! I’m afraid I kept you too long listening to the ramblings of an old man.”
He looked out the window and saw that the snow was coming down faster now and piling up.
“There is no way you can go out in that weather, let me make up the bed for you in our guest room and you can spend the night.”
The lady looked deeply into Henry’s eyes as she took his hand. “I will be fine Henry, you don’t need to go to any trouble for me. I am delighted that I was able to spend the evening with you. Now I must go.”
“But.. you can’t…its snowing quite hard! And by the way, should I know you? Here I have talked all about me and Susannah and haven’t asked about you. How did you know my name? I must know you.”
The woman only smiled as she squeezed Henry’s hand. “Take Care Henry! Know that love is always around you, even when you can’t see it.”
Henry didn’t know what to say, his heart felt so full as a tear ran down his cheek.
The lady put on her shawl, opened the door and glanced back at Henry once more…giving him a smile that melted his heart.
Henry went to the window and saw that the snow had stopped, he could see the moonlight shining on the snow. It was surprisingly bright. He watched the lady as she started walking and then … where did she go?? He rubbed his eyes and looked again, she was gone, there was no one in sight!
He kept watching even though he knew. As the realization of what had occurred swept over him he felt a wondrous warmth spread through his heart. He had always said that Susannah had the voice of an angel.