Cyril DeBerge

When a group of people work in a given workplace, it’s not unusual for them to grow familiar with each other. Sometimes some lunch together, some are invited to attend each other’s family functions like weddings, bar mitzvahs and so on. In the case of an upscale department store called ‘Chrysdale’s’, there were the usual love-hate relationships, the avuncular relationships and romantic crushes.

Cyril DeBerge was the supervising floor walker for the entire ground floor. He earned that position by serving the company well for over thirty years. He had started at the age of twenty as a stock boy. Diligence and reliability propelled him to a lower management position.

Cyril had formed an avuncular relationship with young Lenore Rooney. She had joined Chrysdale’s right out of high school, when she was eighteen. She was a black girl, very dark chocolate brown and very beautiful. Her body was voluptuous in the way that comic book illustrators draw sensuous women. Lenore Rooney was so spectacularly proportioned by nature that the sight of her was a rare thrill.

By the time Lenore had been a salesgirl on Cyril’s floor for a year, they had become trusted friends. Cyril was forty years older than Lenore, and served as a caring uncle for the innocent young woman. He used mature willpower to avoid making any unseemly statements to her because the truth was, he was in love with her, obsessed with her, but determined to do nothing to tarnish his impeccable record with Chrysdale’s.

Nights at home alone in his comfortable flat, Cyril’s mind was plagued with thoughts and fantasy visions involving him with Lenore. He either saw himself as forty years younger or Lenore as forty years older. She was still splendid. He loved her sweet voice whenever she spoke to him. It was always about the job, but Cyril just wallowed in the musical sound her voice made, and the wonderful fragrance about her.

To help manage his impossible passion, Cyril wrote poems and love letters to her. Of course they never left his hard drive. He just wrote them and kept them. He never intended to let her see them.

Very often at closing time, Lenore and Cyril left the store together, wished each other a good evening and went their separate ways. On one of those occasions, Cyril saw a young black fellow waiting for Lenore to get off work. He watched as she was obviously surprised to see him there.  Her behavior and body language told him that she was also not pleased to see him.

A few days later, Cyril and Lenore were both in the employees lounge on coffee breaks. Lenore asked if she could share his table, although all the other tables were unoccupied. Of course, he welcomed her.

They engaged in shop talk for a while, until Cyril changed the subject.

“I saw a nice looking young man waiting for you at quitting time the other evening,” he said. “Is he your boyfriend?”

“He wishes,” Lenore said. “No, he’s not my boyfriend, but he keeps trying.”

“He’s a nice looking boy,” Cyril said. “Don’t you find him attractive?”

“He’s gorgeous!” she said. “I’d love to be the girlfriend of a hunk like Shawn, if only he had something to say. He emails me a few times a day, but there’s no passion in his words.”

“What do you mean?” he said. “Is he romantically challenged?”

“I guess that’s a good way to put it,” she said

“What’s the problem?” Cyril said.

“He’s just sort of boring,” she said. “He’s analytical about everything.  He isn’t romantic. He doesn’t seem to see beauty in a flower, or appreciate walking on a beach in moonlight. It’s sad for me, because in all other ways I could love him. Like I love you, for being a guardian uncle for me, but in a different way.”

“Yes, like an uncle, of course,” Cyril said. A few days later he saw Shawn in the store, waiting for Lenore. She was busy with a customer in the cosmetic department. The customer had the same kind of dark cholate colouring as Lenore, and she was demonstrating some products that suit. Shawn stood quietly and watched the object of his affections from a distance.  Cyril approached Shawn and introduced himself as a friend of Lenore’s.

“I want to help you succeed with Lenore,” Cyril said.

“Why?” Shawn said, justifiably suspicious.

“I think it would make her happy,” Cyril said, “and I want her to be happy.”

“Well, I could sure use some help,” Shawn said. “How can you help, though?”

“I will send you romantic emails to copy and paste into your own email form and forward them to your lady love. With any luck, she’ll melt into your arms.

Cyril began to send declarations of his own, real love for young, beautiful Lenore Rooney to Shawn and Shawn sent them on to Lenore as his own. As it happens the romantic words were his own feelings, but he lacked the spirit to express them.

Each morning I rise to visions of you, Lenore, love of my life

Each night I sleep with you in my mind, dreaming of you as my wife,

I hunger to caress you, feel you yield beneath my hands,

To take pleasure from your body and return it tenfold.

 Your lashes flutter like butterfly wings,

Your eyes are like jungle pools in sunlight,

The fragrance in your aura is like an oasis,

The smartness in your brain shines bright.

Before Cyril’s collected odes to Lenore ran out, Shawn had won her heart and they were married a year later. Cyril was at the wedding, and wondered how the relationship would fare without his expressions of love delivered by Shawn.


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