Abby's journal



November 25, 2017


Steve is through with a very large project which took him several months; and now he can turn his attention to me :-) and to the things we do together. One of those things is play piano, i.e., I teach him through impression-prompts, as best I can. He doesn't have a lot of aptitude in this lifetime, but we enjoy it, and we are able to play some of the songs that I used to play and sing for him, and that we attempted to sing, together. I say "attempted," because he wasn't very good at reading music; but again, we enjoyed it. (He preferred sitting back and admiring my playing, but I wanted to sing, together, and we compromised on that, as in most things.)

Perhaps some of you might be interested to know how Steve found the songs we used to play. Because, they are not just at hand, you know. Steve learned that we lived, after we had eloped to New Hampshire, in a little town just across the border from our hometown of Haverhill, Massachusetts, named "Dover." From there, he found our submissions in one of the local papers, the "Enquirer." He learned that the editor, a liberal, also owned a bookstore; and he began to see advertisements in the paper for books being sold by that bookstore. He got the intuitive impression that he had once worked for this editor, doing odd jobs for the paper or for the bookstore, either one, whatever was needed. He noticed that some of the listings for new books were titles that Mathew would have especially liked; and then, he noticed one or two ads that were just for song books. Well, he knew I sang and played piano (as many girls did, then); but if Mathew was helping out at the bookstore and recommending books for sale, he reasoned that perhaps I was recommending music books, too.

With me so far?

So, he figured that these must have been my favorite books, which I also played and sang from. That means if he could procure one or two of these books, he might be able to pick out, from an emotional sense of recognition, which ones we especially liked.

He was able to purchase two of the original music books, and it wasn't hard to determine which were our favorites. You'd just have to take our word for it. The emotions Steve felt, the poignancy, the nostalgia, the mixed joy and grief, were so palpable. He could remember exactly how he felt when we played them. And with my help, he was able to learn to play the first page or so of each, at least to some degree of proficiency.

Well, that was several months ago, before this big project got started. The piano got packed away in sealed bags, in preparation for the hurricane which never came (i.e., to Steve's town), and he hadn't played it, or these tunes, for some time. Just yesterday, he set the piano back up, and had the whim (watch out for those whims, because I may be behind them!) to look through one of the books to see if there might be one or two more favorite songs he had missed.

There was. It's a very simple melody, a duet called "The Summer Woods." Steve has photographed the first page, and he has plunked out the melody, rather as I might have played it, also:

In the cool and leafy grove,
Hand in hand we love to rove,
While in every shady tree,
Birds tune up their melody.

See around the brilliant flowers,
Freshen'd by the evening showers,
Bright by morning, bright by night,
When comes and when flees the light.

Now, if Steve were writing this, he would talk, in professorial tones, about the innocence of the past, or about my innocence and beauty (blush) as I played and sang these. He would go on and on about me being an angel sent from heaven, and such things. I would indulge him, if he didn't go too far with it :-)

But what would I say? I wanted to please my husband. And I was thrilled that my singing and playing, and other gifts, pleased him so well. I was just doing my best. I wasn't conscious of being an angel, or anything of the sort. I was innocent of all that. It was just me pleasing my husband, you see. But I was an innocent girl, who loved flowers, and walks among them, and streams, and chorusing birds. I knew none of the sophistication of the city. I wanted to please God; I wanted to please the husband He had given me; and I found His joy reflected everywhere in His creation. And when I played for Matt, my joy just naturally spilled out. Because before the weight of the world landed on my shoulders--with sickness and persecution and grief--I was carefree. Well, I was like Mathew--when I was alone, I was carefree, you see. Because I experienced taunting and worse from the local girls, and my family, like all families, was complicated. My sisters were a team, with my mother at the head--Matt called us the "Poyen sisterhood," and I took it up, calling us that, as well. But my father was old-world aristocracy, transplanted into rural New-England; and my brothers were each a unit unto themselves (one of them following in my father's footsteps, one being artistic, and one being conservative but trying desperately to fit in). They caused trouble for me, and for us, without really meaning to. They just had their own view of the world and what was important in it. Each caused trouble in a different way. But enough of that. I, like Matt, was happiest alone in Nature.

But when we found each other, and we found that we were even happier together in Nature, this was a bursting happiness we could not have ever anticipated. We did everything in Nature, including picnics and (later on) making love--but what we most loved to do was to walk together, hand-in-hand, as the song says. So of course we loved this little song very much, and we completely identified with the words, and sang it with full--Steve isn't getting the words. We were the words, we lived them, so when we sang them, they were real to us.

We sang together, we ate together, we planned together, we laughed together, we made up stories together; I read poetry to him, he read poetry to me; we had a full marriage in a few short years, even with the tragedies which beset us. Our only fly-in-the-ointment was jealousy; and when a marriage is so intense, and the partners share so completely and open themselves up so totally to each other, the lurking fears are exposed, and pounce out at the slightest provocation! Jealousy is the fierce gargoyle standing guard at the temple of complete intimacy; he has to be conquered in order to experience that tenderest of unions. And we battled him.

Sometimes he won, for a time, and sometimes we won, together. Now, we have him vanquished; I have told Steve, there is no need for either of us to ever "dally" with any other partners, so long as he can restrain himself if and when temptation arises. We can trust each other completely, now, as I described last entry.

That closeness we achieved, as Abby and Mathew, made what we are doing now, possible. Because we communicate and have our entire relationship, almost, directly from heart-to-heart. It is the most pure form of soul-mate relationship. Because there is nothing else for Steve to go on--he cannot reach out with his senses, so he must reach out to me with his heart.

You who think this is limited--let me tell you, that the caterpillar is far more agile and robust than the freshly-emerged butterfly. Isn't that right? The butterfly is folded up, and moist, and weak. Whereas before, as a caterpillar, he was strong and robust and strutted about on his leaf munching on leaves! but wait a little while...wait until the butterfly has groomed himself, and pumped life into his wings, and gotten his bearings. Then you will see something magnificent!

Just so a soul-mate couple who are learning to establish a relationship across the Great Divide. Now, you see only a hint of the color in those wings--what they will be. Their full magnificence is yet to come.

Love to each and all,