Bubbly Vivi had made it to her tertiary college. She was so thrilled, now she could have some freedoms, leaving school days behind her. Vivi was looking forward to learning new subjects, she planned to study Maths, and become a teacher herself.
Her parents wanted her to follow the straight and narrow, so she joined a Bible studies group of undergraduates. Their little church chapter met weekly at lunchtimes, Vivi soon made friends. What could go wrong? They were all young Christians, following in God's way, the new adults of society.
Sebastian was one of the leaders in prayers at the Young Christians group on campus. He became enchanted by Vivi's spark in her eyes, and her friendly and lively personality. He was blonde and good looking, she was attractive, with her own unique charm.
One thing led to another, as the young friends studied together, and began dating. Sebastian proposed, he was graduating ahead of Vivi. His future ahead was assured, he had a place as an architect in his father's successful firm. Wedding bells soon rang, their parents were thrilled. It seemed like a marriage made in heaven.
After their romantic honeymoon, this fetching young couple sorted their routines. Bubbly Vivi did not quite finish her degree, she and Sebastian welcomed their first child to love and cherish. They shared a dream of four children, to be born while they were still young enough to be energetic parents.
The maternity unit got quite busy for while, and all went well. Vivi thrived in guiding her young family. She was still bouncing around her house, she even contemplated home schooling. But Sebastian thought their children should mingle and form new friendships, based on their loving home.
The years rolled by. Sebastian was enjoying the fruits of a stellar career, even gaining a trophy for his innovative sustainable solutions in housing, cost-effective. Bubbly Vivi did the school run, still belonged to her church's prayer group, with her girlfriends in God.
Anyone can have a shock diagnosis. Vivi and Sebastian had to face this giant challenge together. Sebastian had invasive prostate cancer, stage four. Vivi did not understand why God was testing them like this. She prayed, and took Sebastian to all his medical procedures, seeking answers from his surgeons, and God above. The battle was rapid, and bloody. There was no remission.
Sebastian fought the good fight, but cancer really sucks. He passed away in a hospital bed, surrounded by his loving family. Grief stricken, Vivi felt like kicking holes in the plaster walls of the oncology room. She was now the mother and father of her four children. They were all facing a mountain of expensive bills, a mortgage, and a long bewildering journey of faith.
Her soulmate had passed, beyond the veil. Vivi tried praying for a sign. But she felt abandoned by the platitudes of her friends and church leaders. Practical, she took a job as a retail assistant in a department store nearby. Her comfy life had changed forever. Her children had all grown up in a hurry. Sebastian's final days had not been pretty.
Vivi lost her bubbly nature. Her teenagers were on rosters, her nights were full of chores, as were her weekends. She was determined to keep them all going, so did not complain. Her routines were her godsend, but she spent her lonesome evenings in bed alone, questioning her trust in God's divine plan.
Time passed, Sebastian's time had stood still, halted. He was living deeply his new life, so was Vivi. Her teenagers grew up, started their own life as adults. Vivi gave away her daughters in marriage, standing in for their father. The house was full of shadows, of laughter and memories. Vivi wondered if she should downsize, sell off the family home to someone young enough to enjoy it.
So she did. There was much decluttering to be done, so she took her annual leave. Her home was placed on the market, a sale followed. Vivi chose a more modest apartment, with a spare bedroom, in hope of future grandchildren to bless her.
She was still working, one of the retail managers by now. She had kept her children in faith, but no longer participated in the church community. One day, she planned to ask God a few questions, about the hand of fate she had been dealt.
Vivi had turned away, but God did not. It all happened by chance, she had to meet one of the buyers for new lines for the department store. Rafe by name, a lovely guy by nature. They shared a working lunch, and sparks flew. He was slightly younger, called her his cougar. Rafe came to her door one Saturday afternoon, with a bunch of flowers.
Love in the afternoon had lots of advantages. This senior couple were very discreet. Vivi was at retiring age, so there was a big send-off at work. Rafe proposed, but Vivi did not want that. They were loving friends with mutual benefits, satisfying. Her bubbly sense of fun returned.
Rafe quietly asked her to move in with him, one sunlit evening bed, holding hands. "I do not think so," Vivi told him. "You are perfectly capable of washing your own underwear, so am I. If I don't cook your dinner, you can feed yourself. I want to watch my garden show, if you don't like that, you have a television at your pad." Rafe was persistent, but Vivi always held a bit back. "If you want a housemaid at our age, there are billions of bridezillas in the world today."
Rafe's laughter was infectious. "This old guy just ain't what he used to be!" "Neither is this old grey mare!" Greying giggles. After this interlude, Vivi wondered about the rest of her retirement. She browsed, hoping for a comeback to the workforce, part-time work would be perfect.
There was an opportunity! The vacancy was advertising for a mature receptionist, at her old local church, three half days per week, responding to email queries and phone calls. Vivi could do that. So she applied. Most of the faces had changed in the past few years, but her tribe of Christians had never disappeared.
Vivi turned her face to God, but kept her little love secret. For her age, she wore it well, always welcoming and worshiping, part of life now. Bubbly Vivi cherished happy memories, keeping her own counsel about Rafe. People always wondered how she stayed so positive. Too easy, but shh! Her part-time loving caused her twinkles in her wrinkles! There is a reason for everything.......