Family Intervention

Clarissa grew up neighbor, playmate,
then classmate with Carlos, and it was just
expected for love and marriage to await
in the future. High school sweethearts, lust

and love consumed all reasoning until
the day of their graduation. Then came
the decree from her parents, “There will
be no marriage, for you aren’t the same –

different religions, different heritages."
Clarissa is sent to college way out west,
while Carlos stays in state. He averages
three phone calls a day to her, until “It’s best

that we stop all contact. I simply must obey
my parents’ wishes.” Now heartbroken, she
refuses to accept his calls, and yet every day
she cries for Carlos…but their love can’t be.

Carlos leaves college, joins the Navy
to travel the world. He never marries,
and he never forgets…even nearly forty
years later, her picture he still carries.

In retirement, moving back to their hometown,
Carlos hears Clarissa, now widowed, lives
alone, her children grown, moved out of town.
This welcome news excites, and new hope gives.

On impulse he knocks on her front door.
Clarissa opens the door, breaks out crying.
It is as if they’re suddenly young once more.
Their love rekindles instantly, each trying

to forget the pain that they shared before.
They talk, they laugh, filling in past years.
“I was married to a good man…but your
love caused me to shed many lonely tears.

“Something was always missing, leaving a hole
in my heart.” They spend all their time together
for months, decide to marry as soon as she’s told
her family, for they’ve always loved one another.

Her son and daughter quickly come to town.
They meet Carlos and hear their marriage plan.
Then they tell their mother to come, sit down.
“Mother, he’s not like us. You can’t marry this man…”

Harry Edward Gilleland      03.22.04