Drake was with his friends when he saw her. The lovely round eyes attracted him first. “She’s beautiful.”
Tony laughed, “Her? She’s deformed. Look at how she walks. She only has half a foot. Not worth being with.”
“Oh, no, she’s perfect. I’m going to talk to her.” Drake approached slowly, as he sensed she was very shy. “Hi, I’m Drake.”
She looked directly at him, “I’m Darla. What do you want? Are you going to tease me like everyone else does?”
Drake’s startled look said it all. “No, I think you’re worth getting to know. Can we be friends?”
Darla looked at him intently. He was unlike anyone else. For most of her life, she had been shunned and laughed at because of her foot. She was teased constantly. Some said they wanted to be friends. Soon it turned into taunting. For some reason, however, Darla believed that Drake was different.
“I would like that. I hope you are sincere in your words. I’m not perfect, you know, I have this defect.”
“I am not perfect either. I sense something in you, a compassion and care I’ve never seen before. What defect are you referring to?”
This brought laughter to Darla. As Drake listened to her, he felt his heart melt.
Soon, Drake and Darla were together all the time. Tony called to Drake one day, “We never see you anymore. Is this getting serious with you and Darla?”
Drake smiled, “I believe so. Today we’re having fish and I’m going to ask her to marry me.”
“Wow,” Tony’s eyes opened wide in surprise. “I thought that her defect would be enough to keep you from wanting to be with her.”
Drake’s answer gave Tony something to think about. “Darla has more compassion and concern than anyone I’ve ever met. She is shy, but has a depth of feelings that overwhelms me. Every day, she looks heavenward and praises our Creator. I have learned so much from her and now I, too, have learned to praise Him. Outward appearances do not show what the inner self is – and Darla is wonderful.”
Tony looked remorseful, “I’m afraid I’ve been really shallow. I’ve only been concerned about looks and never thought to look at the heart. If I change my ways, perhaps I’ll also find true love, like you did.”
”Tony, it’s a wonderful thing – love. We share so much and have numerous things in common. Her favorite fish is lake trout, just like mine. Speaking of fish, I have to go catch some for dinner. See you later, my friend.”
Drake caught and prepared the fish for dinner that evening. As Darla approached, Drake was again struck by her beauty and kindness.
“Lake trout. Drake, you’re so thoughtful. You remember it’s my favorite.”
Each enjoyed their meal of fish. Afterward, Drake said, “let’s take a walk. It’s a lovely night.” A few minutes later, in the light of the full moon, Drake said, “Darla, I want to marry you and be with you all of our days. I love you.”
Darla’s eyes fluttered at Drake. “Yes, I will marry you. I love you, too. You’ve always accepted me as I am, and never shunned me or tried to change me.”
“Love is so special, and so are you. I vow to protect you and love you and our children as long as I shall live. Darla, you are my soul mate.”
The wedding took place just days later. “After all, why wait when you know it’s so real and a gift from our Creator,” Drake said to Tony.
Tony only nodded his head in agreement.
= = = = =
A few days later, Susie and Phoebe sat on the bank of the lake. “Look at that duck. She’s walking with a limp,” said Phoebe.
Susie smiled, “Yes, that’s the one I told you about. Some crazy accident must have happened to cut her foot in half. But look at that boy duck – he’s always with her, like he’s protecting her. Maybe he’s in love with her.”
“Silly,” Phoebe laughed. “They’re just Mallards. Ducks don’t feel love like people do.”
= = =
Oblivious to the voices on the distant bank, Drake and Darla swam side by side, in perfect harmony, happy with one another, knowing that their love was true and everlasting. Soon, there would be many children to care for, but for now, Drake enjoyed the companionship of the love of his life.
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