Bless Your Heart

Molly read the newspaper announcement twice, just to be sure:

        The wedding of Camilla Janis Bombet and David John Mitchell
        will take place on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. in the Chapel of Saint
        Martin's Church. The 28-year old bride is the only daughter
        of Professor and Mrs. Joseph Bombet and the 30-year old
        groom is the youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. James Mitchell, Jr.

Molly was certain it must be her, not many girls born within the last twenty-odd years had been baptized "Camilla." She wasn't supposed to be aware of the name, but she had made it her business to find out. Not from the desire to make herself known...she had never once contacted the girl...but for her own peace of mind. She had no idea about the surname, since there were some things even the best of friends were unable to divulge, but Molly was sure this was the right one.

She decided to go and watch the couple leave the church. She had intended to be in that area on other business anyway, so it wasn't as though she'd be going out of her way...it would be like killing two birds with one stone really.

Molly lingered on the fringe of the crowd as the pair emerged, holding hands and ducking the shower of bird seed and rose petals. The bride's laughter filtered through the shouts and cheers. It reminded Molly of many other happy occasions. She smiled tearfully at the memories.

The lovely young woman in the beautiful white, satin gown caught her eye and hesitantly returned the smile. Nervous at having been seen, Molly blended into the swarm of onlookers and crept along the side of the church. She hadn't expected to be spotted.

Shaking, she sat down on the small iron bench which she had claimed for her own years before. She loved it there beneath the sycamores where the squirrels and blue jays took up residence. It was a quiet place...secluded and intimate.

"Excuse me." The soft voice brought Molly back from her reverie. "I saw you outside the church. You seem somehow familiar...do I know you?"

Molly looked into the inquiring blue eyes and shook her head. "No, you don't know me."

"May I sit down for a moment" asked the bride.

Molly moved to one side. "Don't go getting that white dress all dirty now," she said, brushing away a few scattered leaves with her hand.

"I'm not worried about that," laughed the bride before continuing. "For some reason, I felt as though I just had to follow you. I really don't know why."

Molly reached out and squeezed the slender hand where the newly-placed gold band shimmered on the third finger. "Thank you," she said softly, "for taking time out of your special day to show kindness to a silly old woman."

Impulsively, the young woman kissed Molly's cheek. "It seems that I should be the one to thank you," she murmured, puzzled at her statement.

Molly glanced over her shoulder. "Your husband is waiting," she said, briefly smoothing a strand of blonde hair from the smooth forehead. The bride stood and removed a tiny pink rosebud from the circlet of flowers which held her veil in place.

"For you," she said.

Molly took the flower. "Be happy," she said, beaming into the young woman's pretty face. "May your life be filled with nothing but love and laughter. I hope you and your handsome man over there have many joyful years together."

The bride gathered her train over one arm. "Bless your heart," she said to Molly, before turning and running into her new husband's waiting arms.

Molly knelt down on the grass and placed the rosebud on the immaculately-kept grave just in front of the iron bench.

        "She was christened Gina," the pastor had begun the eulogy. "G is for Generosity...and Gina was always a generous and giving person."

Molly nodded emphatically as she reached out to touch the headstone of her daughter. A truer word had never been spoken. She recalled the day Gina had shown her the driver's license.

"Have you ever seen such a horrible picture?" Gina had asked, cringing and then roaring with laughter. "Please tell me I don't really look like that!"

Molly had flipped it over. "Are you sure this is what you'd want?"

Gina had been more than sure. "It's the only thing to do, Mom. If something happens...and it won't," she'd hurriedly assured Molly, noticing the sudden expression of alarm, "I'd like to think someone would benefit."

Lovingly, Molly swept away a few stray twigs and repositioned the tiny pink rosebud, holding it for a moment in the palm of her hand. She glanced up to catch a flash of white as the young bride, so alive and vital, disappeared around the corner of the church.

"Bless your heart," still echoed in her ears.

"May God bless yours," she whispered and then smiled...knowing that He already had.

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