1) Ah, Capricious Youth

Before the weight of years, the trial and error of experience, taught me moderation to any noticeable degree; I’m afraid I was rather reckless. Perhaps not least so in matter’s of the heart:

My proposal story begins in the summer of my twentieth year. I had packed up the extent of my belongings {a second-hand C-bag full of clothes, a few books, and a guitar}, and set off from home looking for adventure and glory.
The events which led me to that back-end section of North Carolina, 50 miles from nowhere; living modestly not 100 yards away from the main building of a monstrous sweat-shop of an orphanage, the terrors and misery envoked daily for the young women within, doing justice to the most dejected Charles Dickens novel; are to vuluminous to relate here.

Suffice it to say that in some little time, I had befriended a poor girl of eighteen, with no friends, no family to speak of, and {if I may say so} no hope; who was most distressfully {to my way of thinking} confined within this great tyrannical juggernaught of an institution.

The circumstances of her imprisonment prevented her from leaving, with the orphanage’s permission, until her twenty-first birthday. "I can’t take three more years of this, Bryan!" Her heartfelt plee, sobbed hopelessly into my shirt collar, as we sat alone on the street corner on one of our rare evenings together- Ahh… I remember it well.
What was I to do? Could I, in good conscience, sit idly by, and watch the beauty of this delicate flower slowly wilt and die in the joyless confines of so sinister a place?
It was the gentle caress of a cool summer breeze, sweeping down into the orphanage unconcernedly, and then flowing northward and away with just as much ease- always to be free- that decided me.

I might not have much in this world to offer her; no money, certainly, and no prospects. But I could at least give her her freedom; and myself, if she would have me.
And so it was that I concocted an escape plan for the two of us, so elaborate, that it would have done any James Bond movie proud. The details are too many for this short narrative, but I will say that the orphanage was no easy foe to vanquish. Once we had initially "broken out", they gave chase across four states, and there were not a few exciting moments of almost-apprehension, followed by a narrow flit to safety. We were finally able to loose them in the urban jungle of New York’s Grand Central Station, and it was smooth sailing from there on.

In the realization of our new freedom after that last narrow escape, I met my muse’s eyes and said,"you’re free now." And as the tears were welling up in her eyes, I casually said, "Guess you won’t be needing me anymore." Shocked? Why, you ask, would I say such a thing? At such a moment? To put it simply, I didn’t want her to think that she owed me anything. I wanted her to know that she could take her life in any direction, with or without me, as she chose- that’s what freedom is; and I had, afterall, wanted to be able to give her that, at least.

It was only after she had cannoned herself into my chest, demanding that I never leave her, that I breathed a sigh of relief, and said, whisperingly, into her ear, "Will you marry me?" I will say this much: we are still together today. And not a day goes by where I am not grateful that we did what we did; moderation and experience of years, notwithstanding.

Bryan Roble,
New Castle, PA

The founder and president of Diamond Cutters International, is one of the worlds top diamond experts, as well as a three-time Guinness Book record holder in jewelry design.
Fred The Diamond Guy
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