Cover sketch: reader in a chair


With All My Heart

Fiction by Xavier F. Aguilar

Cover art by Aaron R. Aguilar, © 2009


About the Author

Garment of Flesh

With All My Heart

Also by XF Aguilar:
Like Running Water
In Autumn’s Grace
From My Father’s House

Anthony Gilrae was 17 when he learned of the terminal problem. He understood that nothing could be done to correct it and he accepted such as a part of his guarded life. The adverse condition hindered him from many things that other teenagers took part in.

While in the hospital for diagnostic treatments, Tony had made a friend to whom he could relate. Alicia Ware, too, was a young victim of circumstance. Two years Tony’s junior, she became fascinated with his outpouring of knowledge; she felt frightened at the intense opinions he shared, and thrilled by the sparks of excitement in his eyes.

“I don’t believe in death,” said the dark-haired boy.

“You can’t be serious,” acknowledged Alicia as she walked beside Tony.

“Sure I’m serious,” he answered her doubting, “as serious as I have to be.” The brown-eyed youth looked into Alicia’s green ones and smiled.

“Everything dies, Tony.” She pointed to a budding blossom and spoke, “That flower will die one day, and that cat feeding her kittens over there will also die.”

“Really,” was all Tony said. He sensed that Alicia was becoming angry.

The afternoon sun played upon the girl’s red hair in shades of light and dark. Impatience turned to tranquility as she took hold of the boys hand and squeezed it playfully. She looked up at his face and saw a special person.

Their footsteps were happy ones. The two friends joked about each other’s illness because they were that close and really understood each others needs and wants. Alicia and Tony could never play games with others their age and they recognized it, but didn’t let it stop them from having their own fun. They laughed aloud and listened to the echo ring through the trees.

Deep in the forest where the sunshine appears in slivers is where Tony dared to embrace Alicia and kiss her. It was not of passion that the two came together, nor was it of serendipity or whim; it could only be a union of souls seeking some meaning of being. In that place where romance revealed its magic the two inscribed upon the bark of a tree, “AG + AW,” with the scratching of a twig.

“Another year has come and gone; bringing its varied moods of happiness and despair, it showed itself as sunshine and snowflake, as rainfall and shadow, and left its infinite memories . . . the thoughts of friendship and sharing, the learning of sorrows and joys . . . ” The words came easy for Alicia as she wrote them. The words came from her heart; that vital need that had been filled by a caring friend; a donor.

“In springtime as seasons are, we reached out to touch and were touched, we understood the need of being needed. We laughed as music, sharing each other, walking over the hills and along the streams which moved too in symmetrical ripple. Sometimes we would lie on the blanket of green and watch the season move . . . ” She placed her hand over her heart, over Tony’s heart as tears began to well in her eyes. Alicia remembered her friend.

Outside her window he stood in the warm drizzle, he looked at her laughing face and laughed with her. He stretched his arms toward her as if to beckon her come be with him. As the rain continued he knelt upon the soggy ground and clasped his hands together as though pleading.

Alicia held up her hand as a gesture for Tony to wait for her, and she moved from the window. Slipping into a sweatshirt, jeans and sneakers; comfortably neat, she made her way to meet a wet, smiling boy.

“Well, hi Tony,” greeted Alicia, “I brought an umbrella.”

“Just what I need,” quipped her friend.

Mingo Creek was their favorite place. They stood together on the covered bridge watching raindrops impress the stream. “Isn’t it really great,” said the boy, “the rain comes and when its purpose is complete it returns from where it came as mist. It’s a cycle.”

“I know, I know, nothing ever dies,” said Alicia with sarcasm in her tone, “it, we, just take on different forms, right Tony?”

He reached into his pocket and took out a penny. “I’ve heard someone say that.”
“Yeah . . . you,” said the girl as she lightly punched his arm. She thought of Tony in many ways, and one of them was “peculiar,” but she knew he was the best thing that ever happened to her. She let her arm encircle his waist as they stood at the wooden rail and listened to the thunder in the distance.

He flipped the coin into the stream, looked at Alicia and said, “For us.”

“Now as the summer wind is playing at my window, I think of Tony and understand him more than I did. I see the bold eyes that held a world of no devise, and when his memory whispers, ‘Nothing Dies,’ I believe it with all my heart.”

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© 2007 Xavier F. Aguilar