The nightwalker hurried along, almost tripping over his own feet on the uneven cobblestones. Night’s blackness mixed with fog made it nearly impossible to see, but he wouldn’t complain. He, dressed in dark, hooded garments, appreciated evening’s shroud, which provided the disguise for him to perform God’s work.

Along the way, the nightwalker came across soldiers patrolling the streets. Familiar with their routine, he became adept at remaining inconspicuous. This time, however, his clumsiness almost gave him away. The nightwalker heard one soldier shout, “Who is there?” He stopped as the guard looked around, pacing back and forth. When the guard slowed down and turned his back, the nightwalker scurried along. “Phew,” he thought to himself, recognizing he must take greater precautions in the future.

The nightwalker continued his journey through the thickness of the fog. Called to perform the sacred ritual, he risked his life again, but refused to allow that possibility to deter him. As he inched along, the nightwalker became emboldened, reminding himself of the magnitude of his calling. He believed in his heart of hearts, the necessity of defying the decree. The law’s excess seemed brutal, but what did one expect from a leader referred to as cruel?

Keeping a close eye on his surroundings, the nightwalker couldn’t contain his anticipation as he came upon his destination. He glanced one more time before tapping the door three times. Soft steps could be heard approaching, and he knew someone peered through the almost invisible peephole. Without a sound, a familiar figure opened the door. The middle-aged, plump woman regarded him, her deep blue eyes twinkling. “Thank you, good sir, as always, for your willingness to provide this service.” The nightwalker smiled, taking in the woman’s warmth. Her bloom in this later chapter of life offered wrinkles and silver-threaded hair, only stressing her attractiveness. Many times the nightwalker thought about their fate. Under different circumstances, they might have partaken in what he was about to perform. Alas, it couldn’t be. His duty to God superseded everything, and providing this sacred duty came first.

The nightwalker followed the woman, making their way down a dark stone pathway. They came to another heavy wooden door, and before the woman opened it, she turned around and touched the nightwalker’s cheek. They gazed at each other, knowing their facial expressions revealed so much without words. Her eyes pooled, and he grasped her chin, their faces almost touching. The nightwalker’s green eyes penetrated hers, remaining spellbound, for a brief but delicious moment. Hearing rustling behind the door, his hand dropped in slow motion to his side. One last time, a poignant smile graced the nightwalker’s lips before displaying a more serious demeanor. They gathered themselves together. With a loud “Ahem” voiced by the woman, he opened the door.

The nightwalker and woman entered a magnificent room ablaze with beautifully lighted, scented candles atop a winding altar, their gorgeous aromas captivating the room.

In between each candle, vases of the most spectacular flowers were scrupulously arranged for this evening’s occasion. Creamy roses, white lilies, narcissus, and gladioli with one red rose signified love on display, again to heighten the celebratory event.

In front of the glorious pageantry, the participants stood still, appearing eager to begin the ceremony. Per custom, the woman introduced the nightwalker. The gentlemen bowed, as the women smiled. The nightwalker returned the bow. He studied the various attendees. Some were young. Others not so, having bidden their time to receive this coveted blessing.

The nightwalker sighed to himself as he removed his scroll from the hidden compartment in his outer garment, preparing for this evening’s activities. He approached the room’s center and placed his writing material on the podium. Silence permeated the room as the participants waited for his signal, just as the woman instructed. The nightwalker closed his eyes and began praying to his creator. When he finished, he gave a promise to God. “My lord, this human-made law is blasphemous. I’m defying it in the name of love. As your instrument, I’ll do everything in my power to honor your dictate of blessing love.”

The nightwalker opened his eyes. His solemn demeanor changed. His eyes lit up as he smiled broadly, scanning the room and gazing at each couple. “Please come closer and let us begin.” Everyone walked to the appointed areas, unable to hide their joy for the rite about to occur. The nightwalker started the ceremony, and as he did, blissful love permeated the room. At one point, he glanced at family members watching their cherished ones receive this sacred binding, with tears streaming down their faces.

On completing the ceremony, the nightwalker instructed the men to kiss their wives. The onlookers cheered.

The nightwalker’s eyes found the woman’s again.

No words needed for the tacit agreement they shared in granting others the chance to unite under God, forbidden by Roman law.

Although his affection for this loyal woman endured, Valentine wouldn’t allow anything to deter his commitment to a greater cause.

He believed in performing marriage, his destiny and responsibility dictated by God, even if it meant sacrificing his life.

To him, nothing else mattered.

Author’s Note: St. Valentine’s Day became a holiday circa 500 A.D. Valentine was recognized as a Roman saint, commemorated in Christianity on February 14th.

Legend has it that Valentine performed wedding ceremonies, defying the edict of the Roman Emperor Claudius II.

It became challenging for Claudius to enlist enough soldiers for his army because of their attachment and duty to family.

To remedy this problem, Claudius forbade marriage. When discovered that Valentine performed secret marriages, he was arrested, and executed.

I wrote my story around Valentine and his desire to accommodate those who yearned for marriage. Sadly, he made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of love.

Let us say thank you to this valiant servant of love! Happy, Happy Valentine’s Day!

This is an updated version of my original article, “In The Name of Love,” published on the media platform, BizCatalyst360.