I had never been so happy, I was engaged to be married and I could not stop smiling. We were living a very happy and quiet life in Vienna, we had just celebrated our first christmas alone together. And as I walked back through the quiet streets to our home I found myself humming as I admired my engagement ring. "You sound like a young woman in love" chimed the voice of my audience. Smiling to her I paused in my travels and responded, "Am I really that transparent?" Returning my smile the older woman beamed, "You are, but it is terribly refreshing to see one so happy such as yourself, Please", she motioned to the emply space beside her on the bench "Have a seat won't you?" I settled myself down thanking her as I adjusted my work onto my lap. "This is by far my favourite time of the day", she commented quietly, her gaze fixed firmly over the horizon.

As I smiled and nodded in response her attention was taken by my sketches, "They are lovely... all your own?" "They are and thank you", I added softly... "Could I please?", she waited. Smiling once again, I couldn't help but feel completely at ease in this strangers presence, I carefully passed my sketches to her explaining that I had just become engaged. "Congratulations", came the quiet reply her eyes already pouring over each sketch intently. "Simple but elegant", came her final verdict. "Well thank you", I beamed once more. "My dress is really all I could think about today". "You are very talented....?" "Carmen", I quickly offered.. "my name is Carmen". "Madelaine", she responded "And it's lovely to meet you Carmen", she shook her head smiling as she handed back the first sketches of my wedding dress. "All you need is a dress maker now", her eyes sparkled as she refrained from laughing. Unsure of the joke that I was obviously missing I sighed a yes and gently traced the delicate outline of the design that had become my favourite. "Do you believe in fate Carmen?", Madelaine pressed on. "I do as a matter of fact", I sincerely replied.

Too many things had happened to me, for me not to believe. Fate had brought Eleazar and I together and I believed that with all my heart. "Can you do portraits Carmen? Landscapes?" Nodding quietly once more, my curiousity mounting with each passing second. "Do you have a moment?" I queried politely. "Of course, of course, I only have my cats for company nowadays and they can wait a little longer" We chatted briefly about our families myself confessing to being an orphan and to this day I still do not know why I did what I did but I pulled out my charcoal and began earnestly working away, glancing upwards every now and again, shading ever so lightly before announcing I was finished. I handed over my sketch to her holding my breath as I waited for her reaction. "Oh", she gasped quietly. After several minutes of complete silence she turned to me and held out her delicate hand. "If you would do me the great honour of painting my portrait Carmen, I would love to help you in return by making your dress" I very gently squeezed her outstretched hand grateful for the fact that I was wearing gloves and whispering my thanks as my eyes stung with tears that would not fall.

Her secret joke unveiled itself in that instant and I understood completely. Somehow she knew... I never questioned her how, I was simply too grateful that I had met an angel who had the ability to bring my creation to life.



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