My father was a demonstrative romantic.
He was handsome, funny, and charming in the completely authentic, “I am what I am” kind of way. He had his quirks, like calling a spade “A bloody shovel,” and he could have been a terrible flirt, too, if he hadn’t been so busy chasing after his red-headed gypsy, my mother.
Gypsy – her intended name – fit her persona perfectly. Not a tired-RV-behind-the-Walmart kind of gypsy. A mysterious gypsy of old: dark and interesting. She was, in essence, a free spirit in a multi-layered skirt, tiny waist, and daring blouse undone just a button shy of indecent, dancing and twirling around a campfire. Her smoldering, come-hither eyes and enigmatic smile luring men in left and right. But like a Gypsy, she’d move away on a whim, packing up her proverbial caravan along with her travel bag full of secrets and using only the north wind as her guide.
When Iris – her birthname – fell in love with my father, she never wanted him to know how MUCH she loved him. I suppose it’s what she needed to still feel that Gypsy power. Her mantra, she told me, was “never let your right hand know what your left is doing”. Silly really, either hand could have been empty for all my dad knew. He was hypnotized with her. Captivated, he would spend his whole life trying to woo her affections. That demonstrative romantic!
My mother and father both loved words. Clever words. Interesting words. She was an amazing poet and could whip up a poem as quickly as D.H. Lawrence could drop his trousers. In an attempt to impress my mother, my father wrote a love story called The Rebel Bride. A tragic Zulu love story and a possible expression of his unrequited love…?
I adored it, though it was truly a mournful tale. As much as I desperately wished to have been more like my mother, I have as much mystery in me as a ham sandwich sans pickle and mustard. I am, you see, my father’s child. I say what I feel, and I feel what I say. So, I take on what is his; add a Jill-twist and maybe, just maybe, give him the happy ending he so richly deserves.
Look for The Rebel Bride novella following the release of War Serenade coming 2018.