1 Corinthians 13:13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
She took a step back, nearly tripping on her worn petticoats and patched skirt, as Jerrod approached,
“Lucy, I love you?” He said as he kneeled. “I love you more than anything, will you-? “
“Wait Jerrod please,” Lucy backed herself against the fragile window of the tower. “You don’t know what you’re saying, you could never marry me, please don’t ask it will only make it harder in the end.” She turned her face away, tucking her loose hair back under her linen cap.
“We can leave this place together, we can build a home and have a family somewhere safe, you don’t always have to live like this.” He imploringly grasped her hand.
For a moment Lucy stopped, she loved him more than anything, but that is why she couldn’t marry him, still she wanted to listen to him but- “No,” she couldn’t bare it any longer. Tears fell from her eyes as she tore her hands away from his loving grasp and spun around. In her emotion and haste Lucy forgot the window, the violent gesture flung her body against the frail glass and, in a horrifying, second it shattered. For a moment time stopped as she tried vainly to regain her balance but, with a terrified scream toppled from the tower window, and towards the ground below……..
An excruciating pain shot up her left leg an instant before abrupt darkness overwhelmed her. Jerod watched stunned as her flailing body and horrified screams ended suddenly as she hit the ground far below in a motionless heap. “LUCIA, no not my Lucy,” He covered his face with his callused hands in anguish.
24 hours later…….
“How is she doctor?” Jerrod stood up from the hard wood bench as the surgeon approached, blood was spattered on his white apron and his forehead was damp with sweat.
“Although I could save her life, I wasn’t so fortunate with her left leg, it was so badly shattered I had no choice but to amputate at the knee.” He leaned wearily against the wall.
Only for a moment did a look of horror shroud Jerrod’s features, but that was soon overwhelmed with joyful relief “May I see her?”
“You may, but only for a little while she is yet very weak and shouldn’t be excited.”
Jerod almost leapt to his feet at the news and strode quickly towards the room. Trying to calm his excitement he took a deep breath before opening the heavy oak door. She lay on a narrow cot her face very pale and drawn. Her gaze moved to the door as he walked in. “Lucy? He took a hesitant step closer.
“Jerod, you came,” and her pale lips curled into a faint smile, “What happened to me, I remember an argument then the window broke, she squinted her eyes as if thinking hard “I was falling, falling, and then terrible pain in my leg and then darkness…. total darkness.”
“Shh,” her gently stroked her forehead “Don’t worry about that, your alive and that is all that matters. I thought-” his face quivered as he tried to hold back the tears “I thought I lost you.”
“Oh Jerrod,” she smiled tenderly, “But did the doctor tell you? I won’t ever,” her voice shook,”Walk again.”
He never flinched for a moment just steadily held her gaze, “I’d love you, even if you couldn’t move a single muscle of your body.”
Now tears freely sprang from her dark eyes as she looked up at him, “You are the most wonderful man I know. I love you Jerod.”
He lifted her hand to his lips and kissed it tenderly, as his dark green eyes looked deeply into hers. Suddenly The door burst open, shocked they both turned their gaze. Charging through the door was a large heavily bearded man shouting in outrage, followed by Lucia’s guardian, her heavy-set Aunt, last of all come the now agitated doctor ordering them both not to disturb his patient. Lucy cringed and withdrew her hand from Jerrod’s in a frightened gesture, her heart beat violently and she threw and imploring look at him.
As for Jerrod although he didn’t recognize the first man, a well to do store owner, he did recognize Lucy’s aunt, her only living relative in America. She was once a very wealthy women, Lucy had told him, but after her husband died leaving her childless, she became rather poor. “Mr. Shyglow, please calm down it is not at all as bad as it seems” she was saying as the party burst into the room.
Mr. Shyglow apparently wasn’t convinced “I’m not marrying no maimed women,” he retorted angrily, “And I’m done with your stories, first just a broken arm then it was a bruised ankle I need to know the truth.” He stormed towards Lucy’s bed.
Jerrod felt the hair on the back of his neck bristle and he stepped between the enraged Mr. Shyglow and his dear Lucy, “Who are you?” he demanded.
“None of your busyness peasant,” he shoved Jerrod aside and ripped the covers off Lucy’s bed, revealing an the amputated stump of a leg wrapped in thick white bandages only protruding a few inches form her linen chemise, “So, it is true you did lose your leg, well-” he spun around and confronted the Aunt, “You can call it off I’m not marrying any invalid,” he threw a dirty look at Lucy “Worthless cripple,” he spat out and stomped from the room.
For a moment the room was silent, the aunt stared in horrified shock at the stump of a leg, Jerrod tried to contain his boiling anger towards the bully that had just rushed and understand the whole transaction. The doctor walked to the bed and pulled the covers back over Lucy.”
“Maimed?” It seemed to just now strike the Aunt “You will never get married now, no one shall have you, foolish, reckless girl, you cannot even do the chores of a servant.” She spun around and walked angrily from the room, slamming the door behind her.
“I must make a house call,” the doctor excused himself, “But I will bolt the main door behind me as to prevent any more of this happening, I will be back before sunset.”
Now alone Lucy unable to hold back the tears and they silently poured down her gentle eyes, “It’s true I am worthless, Aunt Helen won’t have me again, and although I am freed from the bond that kept me away from you I am of no use-” She couldn’t finish, but instead broke into bitter sobs.
Jerrod stood for a moment not out of hesitation but out of contemplation, he now knew why she had refused his request, her Aunt had engaged her to Mr. Shyglow, it wasn’t because she didn’t love him, it was because she was already betrothed, but not anymore.
He raced to her bedside and whisking his handkerchief from his pocket dabbed away her tears, “Don’t cry my dear sweet angel,” he said “I meant what I said, I’d love you even if you were paralyzed, and I’d marry you too.”
Her sobs stopped and Lucy looked up “Oh Jerrod,” she exclaimed “You really mean it, you will still marry me cripple and all.”
“Cripple and all,” he smiled, “Is that a yes then? To my question, I mean. After all you have left me in terrible suspense.” a playful grin spreading across his face.
“Yes, Yes, and oh yes,” she smiled with delight, “I loved you from the day we met but was bound to Robert Shyglow… now I am free.” She reached up and they embraced, his strong arms wrapped around her and his thick brown hair brushed against her cheek, she sighed with pure bliss. Everything was going to be fine, nay better then fine it was perfect.
He felt her sweet breath upon his neck and knew although there would be difficulties he’d love her till his heart failed to beat. There joy couldn’t be compared unless perhaps to the blessed words of the Psalmist.
Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness. To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks unto thee forever. Psalm 30:11-12