I can recall how the smokey-lined clouds covered the sky.
The silver sun could be felt piercing through the double-paned window. Lost thoughts are found in a day such as this one.
The woman allowed her wishes to wander away.

Sitting knees high alone on the moss covered mat, Clara felt the comfort of her cottage in the world of `Eire. She’d taken so much and everything she touched seemed to fall apart. Her parents had died years ago and all that was left was the small one room cottage to call her home. Turmoil and strife entered her world as the years passed. Pots of her favorite flowers were the only things among the trees that seemed to calm her inner storm. Political turmoil in an unforgiving city left her even more isolated for her beliefs were not the common ones.

Walking through the yard, the wind whispered softly through her golden-red hair. It flowed freely around her face and down the middle of her back. That is when I met up with her as I was walking down the dirt road that went past her small home into town. She introduced herself to me as Clara, “just plain Clara is all”, she said. But plain could hardly describe her. As I spent many a night thereafter with her, I could see how her life touched some in ways I could only dream of for myself. She filled a room with rainbows. Smiles appeared as she walked by. Clara was beauty intensified. Her intellect spewed forth in the words that she spoke. Her kindness was seen by young and old. Her giving heart shone for all each day she woke. This was the Clara that I grew to know and to love.

So many nights we just stayed in and talked over a supper of cabbage and corn beef and a pint of ale. I remember one night that I can never erase from memory. Clara offered to me a world of information and the secrets she held deep inside.
This is the tale she told me:

“I was once in love and thought I would make a life of my own when my parent’s were still alive. I was pregnant and my father didn’t know. I was in love with a man on the other side, and he stepped over the line and was executed. Before I knew about it, three weeks hastened by quickly. I lost the baby and then received an anonymous letter detailing the information of my love’s death. After that, I became so aloof and secluded, that nothing could bring me happiness. My parents died in a plane crash two months later.”

That was all she said. But that was like Clara to be to the point and then say nothing more. No one really knew the secrets she kept inside, and for a brief moment I shared one with her. I’ll never know why she told me on that rainy October night, but I’ll never forget she held her head high so she wouldn’t cry.

Years have passed since I’ve been through Dungby as I left there and Clara behind for London and education at the University there. But, a phone call brought me back.

This time, the rimless sky was upon its closure as I stepped down from the bus onto the dirt road. Grey-silver streaks lined her hair now. Welcoming me once again, we shared a drink of ale and laughed at the times passed. I could see that she had found that things that fell apart were never hers to keep so close to her heart anyway. The strain of life never took away the dimples in her smile. Clara, just as I remembered, gave Dungby its completed charm. Still, I could see the sunshine through her soul as she walked into the room.

I decided to stay for a little over a week. As the days went by, friends stopped by for Clara’s advice. I laughed a little as I sat listening to their idle words and at her kindness to let them speak. Now it was their turn to show her hope. Those books she kept were still on the shelf to inspire those young and old. Always the same it seems to stay and nothing much really ever changes.

“Thank you for coming back to say goodbye”, Clara whispered to me. I laughed and replied, “sure, but where am I going?” Clara just smiled and that was all that was said.
I was about to leave with my bags packed and everything, when the noise came. It is the loudest sound I can ever recall hearing in my entire life. That knocking on my hotel room at such an urgency I could feel the vibrations on my head. I stayed a little longer than I expected.

I didn’t shed a tear as they buried her deep. I remembered the stories and the dreams she instilled in me. They still sing her songs and bring by stories for Clara to hear. As I walked down the dirt road into town, I passed Clara’s home and left Dungby for another life. Clara still stays with me in `Eire and in all she knew.

Her body lives in the hills and through the veins of a little town where I found my dreams and met a woman who never changed when life laid down before her.

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