15.05.2007: This story was written in loving memory of June Carter Cash who passed away four years ago and her beloved husband Johnny Cash who only had to wait for a few more months until they could met on the far side banks of Jordan.

The Loving Gift

It had been a hot and sticky summer day. Now that it was evening it had become windy and the smell of a thunderstorm was in the air.

Miss Parker sat next to her favourite window from where she could watch the ocean. Its waves were coming back and forth, a pleasing rhythm that helped her to concentrate on all the things that were running through her head.

She remembered days so long ago that they seemed to be nothing more than pieces of someone else's past.

Everything seemed to be so far away. She had experienced so much in her life. A lot of things she would have loved to forget forever, but there were also a lot of things she wished she would never forget.

Memories of her childhood came back to her.

You gave me a blanket to keep me from the cold

After her mother's death she had felt so cold and lonely. One day, Jarod had found her sitting in one of Angelo's favourite hiding spots. She had been shivering from sobs and Jarod had stripped off his jacket and had wrapped it around her shoulders. Then he had taken her into his arms and had tried to calm her down. She had snuggled up to him with closed eyes, wishing she could go and tell her mother how gentle Jarod was. But then she had remembered that she would never again be able to talk to her mother and had only started crying even harder.

You gave me a song I learned to sing

There had been times when she hadn't been able to believe how little Jarod had known about the world. He had never heard of the songs she was listening to on the radio. So she had taught him her favourite song from her childhood: Seasons in the Sun.

She had loved that song so much. The first time she had sung it to him, he had asked her why someone would sing a song to say goodbye. She had just smiled and ignored his silly question by telling him that you could sing about everything.

You showed me some beauty through the windows of your soul

Miss Parker had felt so alone with her mother dead and her father always having important things to do. She had nearly forgotten that there were people like Jarod who really cared about her. But when she had looked into his eyes, she had always known that there was hope of a better future.

And you showed me a world I've never seen

She had tried to create another world for him. Knowing that the Centre would never allow her to take him home for Christmas, she had decided to at least show him some snow. Well, that idea didn't turn out. But he had seen snow!

Each giving to the other love and giving it away

They had both tried to show each other how much they had meant to each other. When they had been together it had always been as if there were only the two of them in the whole universe. At times like that, they had forgotten everything around them. That's how they had one day ended up caught kissing each other. Fortunately, it had only been Sydney who had never told anyone else about what he had witnessed.

We spent the precious time we knew was borrowed

Somehow, she had always known that their childhood love would find an abrupt ending and so she had tried to make the best out of the time they had had. But when her father had told her that she would leave for Europe the next day, she had still been surprised and shocked that she wouldn't even have the chance to tell Jarod how much she loved him or, at least, tell him goodbye.

Cause you gave me the courage to live with yesterday

Years later, after she had returned to the Centre and he had escaped, they had started talking to each other again on the phone. He had helped her to live with her past and she had assured him that he would find his family one day.

No one at the Centre had known about their private conversations while she had been the hunter and he the hunted.

And you gave me tomorrow

They had been each other's refuge in a world that had been telling them that there was no hope. But by listening to the each other's words they had known that the world had been lying to them just like the people from the Centre. Hope last and the future always holds chances for you.

You brought me a candle to light my way to bed

In her darkest hours, he had always called her. He had always known when she had felt like jumping off the next high building, and the Centre had definitely been her favourite building in her suicide fantasies.

But he had shown her the path that fate had been preparing for her, the way her mother had wished her daughter's future to be. He had always been her light at the end of every dark tunnel.

You erased those shadows I'd been seeing

In return, she had listened to him when he had told her about his nightmares. Mostly, they had been about the sims he had been forced to do for the Centre. She had assured him that he hadn't been responsible for the things the Centre had done with the sims' results. How could he have known?

You brought me a pillow to rest my weary head

When she had found about out all the lies her father had told her, she had just felt tired. Sick and tired of their silly game of "you run – I chase".

Knowing how she had been suffering from the latest events, Jarod had called to encourage her to keep on trying to find out the whole truth.

From time to time, he had even filled her tub so that she could take a hot bath after a hard day at the Centre.

It had been one of their little secrets. Something only the two of them had known about.

You taught me a gentle way of dreaming

Their relationship had become more and more intense every time they had talked or seen each other from afar. They had started talking about their childhood, about all the things they had committed together. Somehow, in one of their nightly conversations she had mentioned their first kiss and he had told her that it had been his most-treasured memory.

She had asked him why and he had told her that he had no memories of his parents kissing him or each other. Therefore their first kiss had been the first kiss he could remember between two people who loved each other.

And even if you stop loving me and tell me so

She had never told him how much she had loved him. So she had been surprised when he had simply told her that he had always known and that he had always loved her even more than she had loved him.

I'm richer with the loving gift you gave me

She hadn't thought about the next thing she had said: That it was impossible that he could love her more than she loved him. "Could love" and "loved", not "could have loved" and "had loved". He had noticed her little slip.

Cause you gave me a blanket to keep me from the cold

It had all started so many years ago and love had won at last because love always wins.

And you gave me a baby

That's why she was sitting next to the window watching the ocean's beach where they had made love for the first time the day the Centre fell apart, with their first-born in her arms and her husband watching over them.

THE END

P.S. For those of you who know the song: Yeah, I've changed one line because I thought the original line wasn't fitting in the context. There are already different versions of this wonderful song, so one more can't harm anyone, can it?!