it was monday, the monday before the saturday she’d be flying out. this was not a simple trip home to see family. there was an assignment from father god included in her itinerary. it would require teamwork between an old friend back home and a conference call connecting the new friend in the pacific northwest. they made up a three-fold cord, not easily broken.
her schedule was somewhat set for the week. swim on monday and wednesday, dinner with him on tuesday evening, then manage details and pack for the trip. he called her out of the blue during the day, wanting her opinion on a jeep he was looking at. she didn’t have peace about it, and neither did he after inspecting the engine. he would wait. she affirmed his decision.
still intending to go swimming, she was surprised when he called again, this time to change dinner to that evening instead of tuesday. another clue, filed away with the others. she met him in the parking lot and walked over to his truck. he didn’t see her coming and nearly jumped out of his skin when she appeared at the driver’s door. she handed him an important book, one that could change his life if he took her counsel. he placed it in the cab, and they walked over to the indian restaurant.
she looked at him like a cow at a new gate.
he was extremely nervous. as they reviewed the menu, she commented on her inability to recall what she had the last time they were there. he remembered though, and recited it out loud word for word. she looked at him like a cow at a new gate. what was this? it was way out of character. it was guilt-induced attentiveness, that’s was it was. it’s a thing. she was feeling sick, not sure why, but ordered some falafel. he paid for dinner and they walked to their customary table in the back to wait for their meals.
shortly after sitting down, he pulled out his phone and showed her a selfie photo of the ‘friend‘ he’d gone to the circus with the saturday past. she waited a polite amount of time, then excused herself to the powder room to compose herself. suddenly, all the clues formed the conclusion. he was seeing someone else, hiding in the safety of his definition of ‘friend.’ it was the woman in the photo, the same woman whose face had appeared ringing in on his phone. she was a nurse, he said. they were just friends, he said.
well then. that explained why he hadn’t responded to her text that saturday morning. hence the dream about the ***hole, too. now safely in the bathroom, trying to contain her emotions, she spoke to father god. “you’d better give me some grace to walk this out, because i’m not feeling it right now.” tears stung the corners of her eyes. how was she going to continue through the meal? grace. grace would carry her.
when she returned to their table, he began to talk about a new place he’d gone hiking. she looked him in the eyes and tested the water. “when are we going to go there together?” he answered her quickly, “when you get back we’ll go.”
he looked at her across the table. he knew that she knew. steering the focus of conversation back to her, he asked about her upcoming trip. she looked at him again and this time, she spoke with her eyes. ‘i know what you’re doing, turning the focus back to me.’ he could barely meet her gaze. it was a look.
switching back to words, she shared with him how she was excited to see the man who’d given her purpose to live over thirty years ago after a near fatal car wreck. as she described how the doctor used to examine her facial scars, she reached across the table and placed her hands on his cheeks so he could feel the same sensation. he was melting under her gaze of love. she had no idea how she was even doing this without coming unglued. love just came out toward him. just love.
consistent, reliable and stable.
somewhere in the conversation, she reminded him of what father god had spoken to her about him. looking into his eyes again, she said it with her voice. “remember what father said about you. you are consistent, reliable….” he finished the sentence for her, the mirror reflecting on him now. “…and stable.” there it was: consistent, reliable and stable. he was becoming those things, though he was unaware how it was happening. he wanted to be those things, too.
most of her meal stayed on her plate. the falafel was dry. she’d lost her appetite once he’d showed her the selfie of him and his friend at the circus. they left the restaurant and walked back to her car. this time, she didn’t loop her arm through his as they walked.
she got in the driver’s side while he climbed in the passenger side. he asked if she needed anything to calm her on her trip because it was going to be intense. she observed his anxiety talking; it was not hers. in the end, he left her with some prescription meds. she placed them in a cubby, only to flush them down the toilet at a later date.
he was consumed with guilt, convicted at his behavior and deception. he knew that she knew. still trying to redeem himself, he told her to let him know if she wanted to get together one more time before she left on saturday. she nodded slowly. she would let him know.
he knew that she knew. and he did not know what to do.
to her surprise, he leaned over to kiss her on her right cheek. he lingered there, his lips pressed against her skin for a long time. he’d never done that before. finally pulling away, he did something else shocking, muttering the words, “love you” to her as his head hung down. he’d told her he loved her without her saying it first. that was a first. he knew that she knew. and he did not know what to do.
she drove home is a state of semi-shock, trying to believe the best without denying how all the clues and pieces had come together to form a whole picture. the next day, she texted him, asking him if he’d like to go swimming with her on wednesday night. it was the last night she could swim before her flight on saturday. he never responded. when she drove home from the pool on wednesday night, she saw why: his truck was parked at the yoga studio.
he was not worthy of her yet. she could not afford any more distraction or heartache before this trip. it was too important. he called sometime on thursday. she couldn’t talk with him. he did not leave a message.
on friday, he called her phone three times during the day. each time, she looked at it, gently saying, “i cannot talk to you now.” she could feel his panic as it manifested in her own gut, making her sick. she quickly consulted friends and then cut all negative soul ties with him. it stopped the flow of his anxiety into her. she did not own this mess or his actions. it was all on him.
details go sideways when truth is abandoned
she asked father when she should respond to him. he advised her to text him after work was over. as she was nearly ready to text him, he texted her. she could hear his fear and anger in the text. “i am trying to confirm if i need to pick you up tonight and bring you to the airport.” clearly, he was distraught, because he had the timing of her departure wrong. details go sideways when truth is abandoned.
breathing in and drawing on more grace, she responded to him likewise in text, “something’s come up, a change in plans. thanks for offering, but you won’t need to take me to the airport in the morning.”
he did not ask about the change in plans. he did not respond at all.
he was not worthy of her yet.
copyright © 2017 jane doe productions