I am Constanza, the famous recluse that no one has met, but everyone knows. Like most women, you’ve read every volume of my Gardenia Dreams. You understand your own life through my writings. I reach out to every woman; I speak for every woman. I have gained great insight over many years of partnership with my beloved husband. I am a recluse and a writer. He is a world traveler and a listener.
Every year, when gardenias are in bloom, he returns home, bringing me your stories – great bouquets of sorrow and radiance, as fragrant and as fleeting as the pure white blossoms filling our garden. The griefs and glories of the women he has met are seasonal, but the women themselves are the strong green stems that live on to bloom again, spring after spring. He tells me of your courage, your resilience, your talent for fulfillment and flowering even in the darkest of seasons.
You may have seen him from time to time. In the back pew at your wedding, smiling at your son’s christening, applauding your daughter’s graduation speech, weeping with the other mourners. He was often the one who congratulated you or comforted you, who listened quietly, the one who left behind one perfect gardenia and a lingering sense of peace.
We were married in a dream of whisper-white fragrance, all those years ago. “This is forever,” he vowed. When he died so soon after the wedding, I thought forever had ended. Instead, it had just begun. No longer bound by physical limitations, he travels and listens. I welcome him home in early June each year, turning his treasured fragments into stories. Your stories. The stories of all of you beautiful women. All of us beautiful women.
I am Constanza. A recluse, a childless widow, and co-author of the eternally fresh, ever blooming Gardenia Dreams.