Trish was a lovely 16, her skin alabaster and her hair long and red. Shy and unsure, she never spoke to the boy. She only watched the back of his head in class and dreamed of touching his hair and having his arms around her. But on this day he looked right at her and smiled. And her heart trembled with excitement.
Trish was a charming 17, her laugh brought silence to a crowded room and her smile made young boys take their eyes off her breasts. She loved a green eyed boy in silence, though in his heart he knew. The day he vowed to return that love to her, she gave him the greatest gift she had. And her heart was filled with passion.
Trish was a lonely 20, her world was filled with books and notes and rules. Her future seemed distant and unreachable; her days repetitive and loathsome. The love she once knew was gone, and none could ever find her in this place. She cried in the night sometimes until she slept. And her heart was full of hunger.
Trish was a dependable 26, her world was full of deadlines and reports. She had friends who needed her and a life she thought she wanted. She accepted the future as if it was the present, and asked nothing more of life. She did not want to meet her friend’s brother, but she eventually agreed. She did not want to like his company, but she did. She did not want him to change her life, but she changed it for him. Soon he pulled a ring from his pocket and asked her to marry him and be a family. She did not want to say yes, but she did. And her heart was filled with happiness.
Trish was a glowing 29 on the day she held her first born daughter. She cried with joy as the baby girl screamed between brand new breaths. She held her husband’s hand as he cried, and watched her mother and father embrace each other in quiet pride. She trembled as she brought the child to her breast for the very first time, and forgot to breathe as the baby took the first taste of life from her body. And her heart was full of life.
Trish was an angry 36 when her lawyer gave her the papers to sign. Her love still strong but now unreturned, she hated herself for missing him. She wondered what part of herself she had unknowingly held back, the part he needed but didn’t receive. How could she make a family of what he had left behind, a life from the ruins and chaos? She cried in her bed and did not sleep. And her heart was full of fear.
Trish was a lonely 47 the day her only child drove away to college. She knew they would always be close, but she knew it would be a different kind of close tomorrow and all the days that followed. She watched until the car was completely out of sight, and then she watched the empty road for a long while afterwards. She drank a whole bottle of wine that night, something she had not done since college. And her heart was numb.
Trish was a comfortable 51; she laughed with her friends and enjoyed her work. She had money in the bank and a comfortable home on a lovely street where children played. The only thing she needed, she thought, was a nice patio. Henry was a talented carpenter, and finished her patio sooner than she hoped. He was a gentle, handsome man and so she decided to allow him to remodel the kitchen, and then the bathrooms, and then the family room and then her heart. She did not expect to ever love again, but she did, and more strongly and more freely than she could have thought possible. And her heart was full of love.
Trish was a sleepy 55 when the phone rang in the early morning. There was no warning, no waiting, and no hope. Trish’s mother died quietly in her sleep, and part of Trish’s world passed away that night as well. She did not know what to say to her father on the phone, what could she say, what could he hear? How could this not change their lives forever? She cried in Henry’s arms well past sunrise. He left her side only long enough to fix her some eggs, but she did not eat. And her heart was overwhelmed with sorrow.
Trish was a nervous 57 as she searched for a parking spot in the crowded hospital garage. She had been expecting this, but she was not prepared. She could barely speak to ask for the room number and she wiped back tears as the elderly volunteer slowly punched buttons at a computer. She ran to the room hoping she was in time. And she was. She held her daughter’s hand through every contraction and as she pushed. She held her granddaughter for the first of many times that day. And her heart was bursting with joy.
Trish was a graceful 73 as she greeted her granddaughter at the airport. It had been almost a year since they were together, though they talked on the phone every week. Trish waited, straining to see through the crowd. Suddenly she was there, a lovely young woman with alabaster skin and long flowing red hair. The young girl’s smile burst out of the crowd and reached across the room to embrace her grandmother. Trish squealed like a teenager and rushed to hold the child of her child. And her heart was full of pride.