We all know forbidden love hurts. I explored this theme throughout my trilogy with the main characters.
Have you ever wondered how your life would have been different if you had ridden another train home or taken a walk at the beach on a particular night?
I’ve always been fascinated by how decisions and choices change our lives forever. It’s certainly this way in romance and love.
Romance is a big influence in the storylines of my trilogy. Michael Stewart, the main character in the three books, forever has his life changed the night his wife, Vicki, dies. He becomes bitter about his fate and shuts down anything wonderful and possible around him, including chances to begin a new relationship.
Michael has an opportunity to date his daughter Elizabeth’s grade school teacher. Instead, he buries himself in self-doubt and pity, which ends any chance at romance. Unable to move forward, he continues to wear his wedding ring to stop any advances.
What kind of a life would Michael have had if he indeed opened up his heart to the grade school teacher? Would he have fallen in love? Fallen in love deeply where he would think about getting married? If he did get married, would he have wanted another child? We’ll never know.
Years later, Michael finally lets part of his heart open to a Jewish widow named Leah. The problem is that Leah lives in First-Century Jerusalem. I wrote about this love relationship in a symbolic way. Here Michael is willing to explore love again but it’s with a woman who lives in his past.
Michael eventually realizes the best kind of love resides in the present. He didn’t have to time- travel back to the first century to find love again. It was always there in Northport.
I’m certainly a big romantic. I love to read sweet romance when I have the time. I enjoy a movie about a burgeoning relationship. There’s just something beautiful about two people finding a connection.
And everyone has choices. We can only hope we make the right ones. In this trilogy, it took many years for Michael Stewart to understand that each day that passes without opening one’s heart is a day that’s lost to some incredible possibilities.
I hope your heart is being fulfilled today. Keep your heart open. It can be an amazing journey as Michael Stewart has found out.
The following is an excerpt that never made it to print in the trilogy. Love comes in many layers, including friendship.
The woman was still looking down, fidgeting with a plate containing half-eaten piece of bread. “I am fine,” she said, lifting her head to look at Michael.
“You’re the woman in the street I saw a few days ago.”
“I am. What are you still doing here? I told you to go home, Michael.”
“How do you know my name?”
She stopped picking up the plates. “I met your daughter and friend at the prison. They told me about your plight. It was important that I help them free you. This is how I know your name.”
“You helped free me?”
“Thank you for helping me. But why? Why would you help someone like me?”
“Because the prison guards mistakenly thought you were with Barabbas. We couldn’t have it this way.”
“What does Barabbas have to do with me?”
“Nothing. It’s why you had to be freed. And it’s why you have to get back home with your daughter.”
Michael thought about what the woman said for a few moments as she returned to tidying up the table. “Let me help you,” he said, grabbing a couple of plates on the far end.
She smiled. “Thank you.”
“You know my name. But I don’t know your name.”
“Mary of Magdala.”
Michael stopped picking up the plates. He stared at her incredulously. Could it be? No. But it was the night of the Last Supper. Maybe she was here with the apostles?
“Mary, was there a big gathering here tonight?”
“Yes, my family was here.”
“Oh, I didn’t know you had children and a husband.”
“No, Michael. My family is my friends. But the gathering tonight was upsetting me.”
“Why?” he asked, grabbing a couple of ceramic cups.
“I don’t like it when friends fight and are angry at each other.”
“Who was fighting?”
“It isn’t important who was fighting, Michael. When one of the group fights with another, the whole family is affected.”
She continued to move plates and cups around, as if she was delaying finishing the process. “You should go now.”
“I’m not sure I want to go.”
She gave a half-hearted smile. “There is nothing you can do.”
“Why not? There’s still time to change this, stop it.”
He noticed Mary struggling with cleaning a long, narrow-headed cup. It was bigger than the others but humble in its appearance. “Strange,” she muttered.
“Here, let me help you with that,” Michael said, taking the cup and cloth from her. He could see Mary’s eyes were still red and misty from her crying. Her cheeks were blotchy. And her light blue eyes seem to sparkle with her tears. Michael was taken aback not only by her beauty but also by the comfort he felt in her presence.
He struggled frantically with the cup, pushing the cloth hard around the inside of it. The light red stain that he first saw seemed to darken in color as he pressed the cloth with his two index fingers to focus on one small spot at a time. “Strange,” he whispered.
Mary looked at the inside of the cup again. She took it from Michael and placed it down. She kept gazing at it. He saw her wipe a couple of tears away. “Mary, we can stop this, both of us,” he said, feeling a burst of passion. “He doesn’t have to suffer this way.”
“Michael, he is suffering for you and me. And would you really understand what love is if someone didn’t suffer for you?”
“Would you really? Do you love your wife more now or when she was here with you?”
“Well, I love her more now.”
“Why is that, Michael? Wouldn’t it have been better to love her more while she was alive?”
Michael was silent. He looked at a woman who surprised him with her strength, courage and wisdom. While she was from a time so many years ago, her thoughts resonated with him with so much passion.
“I guess sometimes you don’t realize what you have is so valuable until it’s gone.”
Mary smiled. “That’s why tonight must be the way he wants it to be.”
Michael shook his head. “There’s too much pain he’s going to go through. I don’t understand why he has to face this. It doesn’t make any sense to me. Where have they gone?”
“To pray. I suggest you do so too,” she said weakly.
“We can’t just stay here and do nothing. They’re going to kill him.”
Michael saw Mary crying more. Inside the cup, the stain had grown a darker shade of red.