“Remember when you had those iron shots”, my husband said. “Wouldn’t it be funny if the lump turned out to be iron?” Good thing my husband and I have a similar warped sense of humor.
This comment was not as weird as it sounds. My butt is still black from those injections and that was over eighteen months ago.
His comment made me laugh. It also tripped me into a scene from a past life.
I found myself in a dark room. Slowly, as if turning up an old oil lamp, a faint glow grew to illuminate the scene. A young boy, probably fourteen, sat in a ladder-back chair with a woven rush seat staring at a large oval mirror.
The silver backing of the mirror had deteriorated leaving rust spots over most of its surface. Only a small portion of the image remained.
But the boy was not watching his reflection. In the mirror, a couple danced across his view. A smile lit his face, and I stretched to see more.
Just like the boy, I was transfixed. An unknown force pulled me closer and closer.
Before I know what was happening, I felt strong arms wrap around me. I had become the woman in the mirror.
“You shouldn’t be here.” The words came from my lips. But I knew this woman, Roselyn, longed to be with this man, Beau.
Smirking, Beau whirled Roslyn around the floor. “I should be wherever you are my dear,” he said. “Look how I make you laugh.”
Despite herself, she smiled. She couldn’t resist him.
“My mere presence makes you shine like a brass button.”
The dark blue jacket of his uniform emphasized his broad, protective shoulders. His white gloved hands were only slightly suggestive against the curve of her back. And his buttons – his brass buttons reflected the dimples in his seductive cheeks. For such a professional soldier, Beau’s rakish charm definitely shone through – at least to her.
No other man had ever made her feel this way. The sight of him was balm to her weathered soul. His embrace made her believe in forever.
Even though they had met only once before, their connection was obvious. When he entered the room, he searched for her, like a flame seeking a moth. And as the flame drew near, the moth fluttered nervously.
My heart quivered in unison, feeling Roslyn’s response. But something felt wrong.
What was it?
Her response to his presence was not simply excitement. It was much more intense. It contained an undercurrent of – danger. Anticipation mingling with fear. But fear of what?
Everyone watched as Beau guided Roslyn through the intricate steps of the dance. The yellow of her ball gown matched exquisitely the color of his epaulets. Her delicate features enhanced his masculine frame. They made a striking pair.
Around them, couples danced. Influential military staff mingled. Food and flowers decorated tables throughout the room. The Virginia mansion was a beautiful backdrop for this captivating scene. Nothing marred its perfection.
Through the grand foyer entered a Confederate officer. With a controlled expression he scanned the room. His jaw clenched as he followed the crowd’s gaze to the shining couple on the dance floor. Dancing. Laughing. Flirting. The two were obviously lovers, this handsome Union soldier and his wife.
Roslyn was openly displaying her disregard for him and their marriage. Even though he had done the same to Roslyn, on numerous occasions, the reverse was unacceptable. She was making a mockery of him in front of everyone. His West Point peers, his superiors, and the few friends he had made in Virginia. He knew their laughter was aimed at him.
Unseen by the couple, he left the house. Minutes later he returned with his new service weapon in hand. As he raised his long rifle and took aim, the crowd divided. For the first time Roslyn saw her husband’s hateful glare. Knowing his intent, and knowing his deadly accuracy, she threw herself in front of the handsome stranger.
A shot sounded, and the world blurred around them.
Roslyn’s eyes locked with Beau’s. As she fell into his embrace, he held her close, lowering her to the ground.
“Stay with me,” he whispered.
Blood seeped through her bodice and onto his white gloves. The large lead round had penetrated her breast. It would be over quick. Locked in his arms, she felt no pain.
“Roslyn, stay with me. I will take you away from here. I will build you a wondrous house overlooking the river, with room for our children to run. I will even get you a dog.
“Stay with me, Roslyn. Please…stay.”
Tired, Roslyn closed her eyes as she listened. A single tear escaped her lashes and trickled down her cheek. They were nice dreams. Unfortunately they would have to wait.
Within minutes, her body slumped in his arms. She was gone.
As her soul left that body, I felt its longing echo in mine. Our souls were one, and now I remembered the loss that occurred in that moment. Roslyn had never been with Beau except on the dance floor that one night. She never felt his kiss. She never found their forever. Pledged to another, honour-bound to keep her vows, Roslyn sacrificed herself to save this stranger.
Breast cancer was not the first time I had a lump in my breast. When I researched rifles from that era, I found that the musket ball from that particular rifle was 1.18 inches. The lump in my breast is three centimeters – exactly 1.18 inches.
I pray the lump I have in this life can successfully be removed. Then maybe Beau, whose soul resides in my husband, and Roslyn can finally live a long happy life together.