Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Purple Roses: Noam and Daniel's Wedding.


Noam and Daniel’s Wedding.

  Sitting by herself in the luxury suite of the Bali Island Resort, Noam took advantage of the quietness that surrounded her. Color bloomed everywhere she looked amid the exotic locale. Spicy scents floated in the warm balmy breeze, still tempting her appetite even after she had already eaten. But nothing drew her gaze quite as much as the veil did. Sitting on a low wooden table the veil shimmered enchantingly as the while tulle floated like clouds around it. Tomorrow was her wedding day.

It had already been a week since she and Daniel and many of their friends had arrived on Bali. Filled with fun and adventure the week had gone by fast but the memories would last forever. During that time they had also worked hard to get things ready for the wedding between her and Daniel.

Interweaving in and around her thoughts a sweet melody played, stirring the very depths of her soul. Closing her eyes she let music take her away and imagined herself dancing with Daniel. It took her a few more minutes before she realized the music was not coming from a radio but was directly outside her window.  Curious she stood and walked over to the balcony and stepped out into the clear night air. Below her stood her beloved, playing the violin with such tenderness and love that the Heavens themselves could never match. As soon as he saw her, he lowered the instrument and began to sing to her with his bravura voice, words that rose up from the very center of his heart, rich in meaning and filled with virtuoso.

It was as if world became more vivid and rich in color and brilliance as the magic seized her. Beckoning to her love she moved back into the room and towards the door to let him in. But to her surprise, he came through the window after climbing the trellis.

“Doors are for people with no imagination,” He smiled as he took her in his arms. “Wow! You look beautiful! But then you always do.”

Smiling she tugged playfully at his hoodie, admiring how handsome he was. “Good to see you too!”

“I have something for you,” He told her as he led her to the couch.

“What can you possibly have for me?” She wondered out loud.” You have already given me everything and more!”

Laughing softly he pulled something out if his hoodie pocket before sitting down. It was a glossy small oblong box tied with a silk ribbon.

“What is this?” She smiled in disbelief as she hesitantly took it.

“Open it and see,” He encouraged her gently.

With anticipation she opened the box to see the most extraordinary locket revealed inside.  Carefully she took it out to admire it, the light from the chandelier caught its sheen making the charm glow. Made from the finest silver and set with tiny pure white diamonds in its center, its beauty made her breathless.

“This is my gift to you before we marry.” He said as he took it from her to reveal a secret compartment inside.

“Oh, it has our pictures inside!” She exclaimed in delight. “They are the pictures we had taken a while ago to celebrate our engagement!”

“That’s right,” He smiled as he took the locket and placed it around her neck. “It looks beautiful on you.”

“Thank you so much, Daniel!” She hugged him tight.  “I love it! It is perfect; YOU are perfect!”

“I am glad you like it.” He stood then and held out a hand to her. “Would you care for a walk milady? It is a fine night to be out.”

“Any night is fine as long as it is with you.” She winked. “Let me get my jacket. The breeze seems to be picking up outside.”

A short time later found the lovely young couple walking the smooth sandy beach of Bali, the moon shining overhead illuminating the ocean and the exotic lush foliage all around. Quiet sounds serenaded them as they talked with each other about the dreams they shared for their future

Gradually all the sound hushed as the lovers lingered by the water’s edge. Neither one noticed the sudden silence or the abrupt withdrawal of the ocean from around their feet. For that moment all they could see was each other as they stood there incased in a moment of bliss.

A trembling beneath their feet shook them from their reverie sending shockwaves through them both.
“Daniel?” Noam’s voice came out small and was swallowed by a force in the air as all sound was sucked away.

“Just hang on to me, Noam!” He said hastily as he pulled her further up the shore. “We gotta get out of here! RUN!”

“What is happening?” She cried out as a roar, louder than anything she has ever heard rumbled from the depths of the ocean.

“It’s a tsunami!” He shouted over the noise, his face white and drawn with fear.

In fear and disbelief he looked back to see a twenty foot wall of water rushing over them. Saying a quick prayer he took his love in his arms and held tight.

“Just hang on to me, Noam.” He whispered desperately in her ear just before the water hit. “Be strong and stay with me! Please!”

She never had a chance to answer as the force of the tsunami struck them. For a long tortuous moment it felt like a mountain was on top of them, squeezing away all air and threatening to break all their bones.

DANIEL! Her mind cried out seeking the presence of her love but all she could see was blackness and there was no more feeling in her body. Terror gripped her and almost she opened her mouth to scream in panic but then the pressure let up a bit and she felt herself being swept up by the force of nature. A brief moment of light revealed to her that she was still wrapped up in Daniels arms.  Wide eyed he was looking back at her, his eyes sending pleading messages for her to just keep hanging on. Just hang on….

It was enough at that moment, the reassurance that he was still there with her. But then shock filled her as she felt herself being sucked away from him, caught up in a maelstrom as the tsunami pulled its victims back into the ocean with it, swallowing them whole.

Rage and panic filled her as she frantically tried to hang on but lost hold. Once more she lashed out willing herself to find him and regain the hold she had. Yet nothing filled her wild grasps. Instead she was pulled away by the power of the deep and pulled into its depth.  Darkness filled her vision once more as she lost consciousness.

Lost in a sea of darkness Daniel’s one and only thought was for his lost love. Feeling the weight of emptiness in his arms brought on a grief and despair that rivaled the power of the maelstrom. Something bumped into his arms and compulsion took over as he forced himself to grab on. It was a long piece of wood that he found himself holding onto with all his might, weakened as he was. Before he passed out he called out for his beloved amid the dark of the night. NOAM! Nothing was his reply. Against his will, his eyes closed then numbness ruled his mind and he lost consciousness.

Pain and thirst were the things that Noam felt first as she struggled to open her eyes. Yet the ach in her heart was worse by far as the knowledge that her Daniel was not with her anymore. Light penetrated her eyes bringing with it a sharp pain causing tears to well. Protesting, her irritated eyes stung causing her vision to waver. So instead she kept her eyes shut for a time and tried to move her hands. Sand and debris met her touch as she felt all around her. Slowly the feeling returned to the rest of her.  Cool and wet, the surface of the water lapped playfully at her toes and the breeze of the ocean tickled her face. Feeling somewhat encouraged by this she braved another look around her. Still not clear, her vision was able to show her that it was now day and she was alone on a beach. Greenery showed through her haze, lush and rich looking but not one clue was given as to any civilization nearby.

“Hello?” Her voice, harsh and weak, broke through the silence tentatively.

Only the sound of nature met her call.

 Slowly and feebly she rolled over to her stomach, her body protesting the whole time. Forcing herself to move, she half crawled, half dragged herself further up the beach. Just when she thought she could not take it anymore, a pair of strong but gentle arms picked her up and carried her into the dense tropical forest.

Catching only a glimpse of her rescuer, all she saw was a figure wrapped up in a white garment.  Disappointment that it was not Daniel made her almost cry. Bravely she kept still, trying to gather her wits about her and find the strength to satisfy her curiosity. Who was this person?

Worry festered within her until they entered into an opening that looked like the center of the jungle. Before her was fresh water spring with a water fall that surged down a rocky embankment, resembling a slide.  Color bloomed everywhere along the slopes amid the rich greenery of the foliage creating a landscape that truly looked like paradise.  The strange girl sat her gently down beside the water then left.

 If only Daniel could be here with her. Daniel. The reminder of his absence struck pain afresh into her heart. Instinctively her hand went to her throat to take hold of the necklace for comfort. Nothing was there. It was gone.

“My necklace!” she murmured in deep distress.

“Rest now,” The stranger had come back and was dabbing Noam’s face gently with a cool cloth. “Rest and eat. You need to regain your strength.”

“I must go find Daniel.” She protested weakly. “I don’t know where he is: if he is alive or not!”

Catching the distress in Noam’s voice the other girl knelt down beside her and gently took her hand, “Feel his heartbeat. His rhythm beats through yours. Even I can feel it through you from where I am standing. He is alive.” The girl smiled joyfully.

 Noam still could not fully see who this person was. Her eyesight had recovered somewhat but she could see that the girl wore a simple white dress with a white scarf tied around her head. 

Busing herself with something else, the girl paused a moment to point at something next to Noam.

“You need to eat.” She reminded with a smile in her voice.

Looking down Noam saw a variety of fresh fruit sitting tantalizing on a giant green leaf along with a coconut that was split open; its milk calling to quench her thirst.

Eagerly she began eating the fruit enjoying the sweet juices that tasted so divine. When she was done, her eyelids felt so heavy. Still, she fought the sleep that threatened to overtake her. She had to find Daniel. Attempting to get on her feet, Noam struggled uselessly. Upon hearing her sounds of distress the other girl returned to her and gently pushed her back down.

“Rest,” was all she said, kindness and understanding showing in her blue eyes.

Somehow the girl seemed familiar, but yet not familiar. Noam found herself obeying the girl despite being anxious and sad. In the end, her own eyes betrayed her and closed. Noam fell into a deep sleep. Next to her, the girl stood guard.

He didn’t know how long he had been drifting, but in between his dozing and waking the night had turned into day. Wearily Daniel looked about as the waves, calmer now, gently lapped against his body. Casting a gaze all around he could not spy land anywhere. Noam. Laying his head on the board he said a silent prayer for his beloved. In his heart he knew she was out there somewhere. She had to be safe! He would find her. But first he had to find land.

A sound in the distance drew his attention. Anxiously he looked to where it had come from. Slowly an image grew in size out of the horizon. A boat was headed his way. With rising hope he wildly waved with one hand while shouting. They had seen him!

Exhilaration grew as they came nearer. Now that it was close, he could see it was luxury yacht, but something seemed off. As they approached he could see it was crewed by men; big burly men with long raggedy hair; some with muscles the size of basketballs.

“Just my luck,” He groaned, wishing he could disappear. “Pirates!”

Then a horrible thought slipped in his mind. If there were pirates around, they could have found his Noam! He had to be sure.

With guns aimed at him the grinning pirates plucked him out of the water and let him drop onto the deck. Despite being weakened from his ordeal, Daniel faced them all bravely. Around him the pirates argued what to do with him, their guns still aimed his way.

“I say we drop him back into the sea!” One man said gruffly.

“He could be rich! We can hold him hostage and get some money!”

“We can’t be sure if he is or not.” The other one spoke up. “Search him and see if you find anything.”

 Not about to have anyone search him, Daniel stood up, speaking as he emptied his pockets out.

“You can see for yourselves that I don’t have a wallet on me or any identification. But it will be to your benefit if I am returned alive and unharmed to my family.”

The pirates jeered a bit at this but seemed to consider what he said. That is until the leader shouted his own ideas into the air.

“I say we just throw him to the sharks and be done with it. He’s not worth the bother!”

Half-drunk the pirates all cheered at this and raised their weapons once more. Sighing Daniel prepared himself. As a Purple Rose agent he had been through much worse. Ducking low he slammed his shoulder into the belly of the pirate nearest him, toppling the bigger man over. With his left leg he struck out behind him kicking the gun out of another pirate’s hands. Continuing in his smooth motion Daniel spun and twisted the gun out of the next pirate, flinging it into the ocean. Then he turned and found himself staring at the last gun, it being pointed directly in his face.

Stony faced he eyed the last pirate, unwilling to back down. Daniel could see by the gleam in the pirate’s eyes what he planned to do. It was as if everything turned into slow motion. Perhaps that is the way things are when one is about to die, Daniel thought to himself. Noam. Closing his eyes, he focused his last thoughts on the one who he loved more than life itself. As from a distance, he heard the click of the gun and then……nothing.

Taking a peek he saw the strangest sight. A banana stuck out of the end of the gun. A faint sound of a girl giggling drifted on the wind. Turning to see who it was, his heart hoped that it was Noam. Instead he saw a girl dressed in a plain white dress with a matching scarf wrapped around her head. The glare of the sun made it hard to see who it was, but he knew intuitively it was not his Noam. This girl was taller.

“Thank you.” He managed to say.

The girl curtsied to him playfully then handed one stunned pirate a life vest and pushed him over the side. Laughter sounded again, faint but amused as she gestured towards the other pirates. Smiling he got the idea. Swiftly he handed the remaining pirates life vests then tossed them overboard. Dumbly they held on, still not quite sure what was happening to them.

Not wasting any more time Daniel ran to the helm and took control.

“Go South East,” the girl’s voice whispered to him from the doorway.

Somehow he knew that was the correct way to go and set off there. Next he radioed for help and gave off the coordinates to the authorities for the pirates.

“Has anyone seen or rescued a girl by the name of Noam?” He asked hopefully and rattled off information regarding their plight. “We were last on the Island of Bali when the tsunami hit then we became separated.”
“No one here has seen a girl of that description, sir.” The other man radioed back. “There are many people still missing. However, you can be sure we will keep an eye out for her.”

“Please, let me know the moment you find anything concerning her whereabouts,” Daniel fought not to break down, so great was his loss. “We were to have been married today.”

After a lengthy pause the man answered back, a new understanding in his voice. “We will be looking hard for her, sir. I have many friends up and down the coastline. I will radio them and we will find her.”

“Thank you,” It was not enough to say to the man’s kindness, but it was all he could manage at the moment.

While he took a moment to gather his thoughts, he kept a lookout in every direction just in case…

“You need to eat,” The voice of the girl broke through his thoughts and pointed to a plate of food she had just brought him.

“I have to look for my fiancée!” He stressed at her. “There is no time for eating.”

“You need to keep up your health for your fiancée,” She answered him softly in a firm voice. “You eat then go below and take a shower. I found some clothes for you that you can change into. Meanwhile, I will pilot the boat and keep watch.”

For a moment he hesitated, his thoughts on Noam. What if he missed her while he was gone and the bat sailed past? These thoughts and more started to lay hold of him again. 

“Trust me, I will not fail you in the search for your fiancée,” she told him, “I will call you right away should I see something, anything that might help you find her.”

Something about her made him trust her though he could not put his finger on it. Still, he kept one eye on her as he ate, and the other scanning left to right across the ocean to see if anything was there.  A short time later he was enjoying a hot shower. Once dressed again in clean clothes, he felt a renewed and refreshed. Yet he could not fight the heaviness of his eyes. Taking a deep breath he sat on the edge of the bed that was in one of the rooms. In moments he was fast asleep. All the while the boat kept sailing safely towards land, with a girl in white standing guard.

Standing on the shore in front of the ruined Bali Island Resort, Octaboona stared intently off into the distance amid the debris. After a moment he would then pace up and down the beach, search. It had been his routine for the last 24 hours.

Watching him were some of his other friends, hearts broken and feeling helpless. It should have been a joyful day.

“We should bring him some more food,” Skyril said with tears in her voice. “It’s been a while since we brought him breakfast.”

“He still won’t leave the beach?” Raven asked softly as she came to stand beside the others.

“No,” Sam replied just as subdued as his adopted siblings. “He still insists Noam and Daniel are alive and out there somewhere.”

“I Pray that is true,” Thalia said with intense feeling. “There is still much hope that they will still be found. After all, in the last hour we found Lydia.”

“Wasn’t she up in a palm tree playing with the monkeys?” Flame asked, curious.

“Yes, that is how they found her.” Thalia nodded. “I do believe it was a food fight of sorts. Rescuers claim that there were coconuts flying back and forth between the trees. Lyd claims the monkeys started it.”

“It’s always the monkeys,” Rachel nodded, speaking with her charming Scottish accent.

“But she is safe and back with us,” NJ reminded them all, “That is a good thing. I have been hearing reports that many people have been found alive. So far no casualties.”

“That indeed is something to be grateful for,” Sarthacus said as he joined them.

A ways back stood Emerald with her son and husband. Chase had his strong arms wrapped around his family. It was something he did quite frequently after he found they were safe from the tsunami.

“I am going to go down and talk to Octaboona,” Hellboy said as he watched his friend pacing again.

Respectfully he approached his friend.

“How are you holding up, Octa?” He asked carefully. “Do you want a ride to the new resort? You can sit down and relax, get something good to eat.”

Looking startled that someone was with him, Octa did a double take.

“No, than you Hellboy” Octa answered him distractedly as he searched the surface of the ocean for any sign of life. “They might be found or come here on their own and I need to be around to help them. What if I leave and they come back but can’t find us because they don’t know where we went? I can’t risk that. Better that I stay here.”

“What if they don’t come back?” As soon as he said those words, Hellboy muttered a silent curse. He had not meant to let loose his fears.

But Octa did not turn on him or walk away. Instead the poet looked at him with eyes shining, full of hope. “Have you been to either of their rooms?”

Taken aback by this question Hellboy shrugged. “Can’t say I have. I know I could not make it to my old room. It was totally destroyed. I imagine everyone’s is as well.”

“Yes, I have seen it is this way with everyone,” Octaboona began, “But when I first went to Daniel’s room then later to Noam’s, what I saw astounded me.”
“What did you see?” Hellboy asked cautiously.

“The whole room…..an absolute mess,” Octaboona spoke with eyes shining, “All except their wedding garments. The whole room was totaled except the wedding dress of Naomi and the tux of Daniel’s. It’s a sign to me, clear as day that those two will make it back here in one piece!”

 

For an hour now, Noam had been walking along a trail through the dense vegetation. Sometime ago the girl had disappeared. All she had done was point the way with a smile. There was no choice but to rely on what the girl said.  Never did she figure out where the girl went when she left. All Noam knew was that when she was too tired to go on, the girl was there. It was always the same; silently she would kneel in front of Noam and then carry Noam along on her back…..just like a big sister.

Before long the trail led her to a dirt road. Looking up and down it, Noam could not see anything in either direction. Wondering which way to go Noam started to turn left but then a moment farther down the road on the right caught her attention. It was that strange girl wearing the white dress. Silently she was walking away from Noam. As if feeling Noam’s eyes on her, the girl turned around and beckoned. It was all Noam needed and she moved as quickly as she could to catch up.  But no matter how hard she tried, the girl was always a head of her.

“Listen to the music,” The voice seemed to whisper mysteriously in the air.

At first Noam did not know what the voice meant. Then as she became more alert to her surroundings, she could hear it, the song of life. Exotic birds called to one another; there were the hoots of monkeys and other animals who chatted through the jungle then the rustle of the warm breezes through the trees. Beyond that was the sound of music, faint in the air. Hope rose in Noam’s chest as she realized that civilization was nearby.

 

With a start Daniel woke up. Alarm shot through him as he realized where he was. Somehow he had fallen asleep. Even though he felt rested, his heart was still heavy with in him and the thought that he still had not been reunited with his Noam drove him almost to despair. Quickly he rolled out of the bed, grabbed his hoodie and ran up to the deck and to the helm. The girl was no longer there. Startled, he looked around. Somehow during the time he had slept, the girl had guided the boat to the port of a busy tourist town. Life was abundant here; it was obvious under the gaze of his observation.  It was clear that this area had not been affected by the surprise tsunami. He was glad of that. Never would he wish that kind of occurrence on anyone.

In almost a state of numbness, he got off the boat and wandered into the town. Something was pulling him towards the opposite end of the colorful city.  More and more it became intense till he was almost running.

“Listen to the music…” A voice said from beside him.

Whirling his head around he saw no one. But when the he caught the first few notes of music playing in the distance, he paid attention.  Focused, he walked the charming streets looking neither left nor right. His path took him to a small café located on the edge of town.  Turning in a circle he could see no one about. Yet something told him to stay put.

“Look again…” The voice said.

Startled he turned a full circle once more, seeing nothing. But his eyes turned back on their own to the lonely looking dirt road that lead beyond the café. Someone was running his way. Adulation filled him as recognition exploded from the center of his being. He KNEW that run; the way the long hair swung from side to side around the slender figure that could only belong to his one and only beautiful Noam!

Suddenly he had the strength of a million mighty men and he tore down the road to the girl who held his heart. Arms opened he gathered her tenderly within and whirled her about. Both of them were sobbing by now with tears of joy and tears of stresses being released.  Never had she looked more beautiful.

 

Back at the ruined resort it was Alex who first heard the news. While listening to the news reports on the radio he was approached by one of the local policemen and the manager from the resort. After hearing the good news, Alex tore down to where his friends were gathered along the beach in their silent vigil. It was to Octa who he told first.

With eyes bright from tears of joy, Octa turned to the rest.

“Someone go get the bride and groom their clothes! There is going to be a wedding!”

Cheers and shouts answered his news.

Sometime later found the close nit family of the Purple Roses reunited in a town a few hours away. Amid tears of joy and hugs, both Noam and Daniel briefly shared their accounts of what happened, before being hustled away to prepare for the long awaited event.

At a nearby inn, the girls carefully attended to their sister Noam, dressing her hair up in a simple but elegant style. Together they prepared her for her special day and at last assisted her in the gown of her dreams. For a moment, all her sisters could do was to admire how lovely she looked. Yet, despite all the joy she felt, Noam still felt a twinge of regret as she placed a hand to her throat.

A knock at the door interrupted the happy talk. Walking to the door, Mar opened it to find no one was there Instead, at on the floor lay a beautiful array of purple roses. Lying across it was a jeweled pendant made of the finest sliver.

“My locket!” Noam cried ecstatically in disbelief.

Mar, upon hearing this quickly scooped it up and handed it to Noam. Almost reverently she put it on.

“Now you look perfect,” Skyril smiled.

Mar handed Noam the purple bouquet.

In gratitude she looked upon her Purple Rose family. Someone from the village, after hearing about the wedding that almost never was, donated gorgeous elegant sundresses for the girls to wear as attendants for Noam, the bride.

Escorting her to the nearby garden, they were met by Chan who was licensed to be a rabbi for the occasion. Sam met her there looking splendid in a sparkly blue suit. In grand style he led his sister to her intended. Music played sweetly in honor of the event.

Daniel stood handsome in his tux, his eyes only for the girl who stood before him now. Their gazes locked and it was as if they were alone. Seeing this, Chan wisely picked up the pace and said the reverent words that wove together two souls under heaven and bound them everlasting to one another.

Then came Daniel’s favorite part.

“You may now kiss the bride.”

Taking the girl who looked like a queen into his arms, he held her lovingly and kissed her.

“Hello, my bride, my wife.” He whispered in her ears. “I love you.”

“And I, my dearest husband, love you.” She laughed softly and kissed him back.

Surrounding the entire procession the village children ran and laughed happily, climbing tall posts to let fall down white petals that scattered all around the wedding party. Falling along with the petals a single white scarf fell, floating gently down on the breeze. Somewhere nearby a girl sat with black hair falling free.

 

 Sometimes miracles just happen and when we least expect them. They remind us to live our lives and to embrace both the good and bad in our lives for both have their purpose. We are all reminded that life it’s self is a miracle and not to miss the miracles that happen every day around us. Mazel tov!