Malcom pulled up in his driveway. He had maintained a civil disposition upon hearing the news. What he was to make of it was beyond reach. For the first time since this all began, he loosened his tie, placed his hands over his eyes, and cried his eyes out. What a fool he had been? The man who prized himself on having a good judgement, deceived and deceived publicly. He walked in with hunched shoulders.
His wife met him at the door, she had been waiting in the sitting room. She wrapped the pink night gown tighter as she met the cold air. Sarah got her frame from her, plump in all her feminine forms. Noticing how puffy her husband’s eyes was, she hesitated in asking about the details. But one could only bear so much when things have gotten even more out of control these pass few days. Helping him with his jacket, she asked if he would like tea first. He accepted half smiling. He had always appreciated how well his wife knew him. He knew she saw he needed to gather some strength first.
Returning, she took her seat beside him, handing him the tea with a slice of banana bread. He took two sips then began.
“Other victims have come forward.” he said flatly.
He sat expectantly as the gravity of the situation weighed in on his wife. Her eyes widened and pupils small. Even in the lamp’s flicker, her hazel iris shone. He remembered the first day they met. It was her eyes that drew his attention. Not the colour really, but how focused they were on sketch she was making. It was his umteenth summer camp at 19 years old. She sat under a tree with a drawing pad and a dark pencil. Her maxi skirt covered all of her legs even though she held them close to her chest. He had somehow wandered over to her looking at the sketch.
“Is there something I can help you with, sir?” She had said without lifting her eyes.
He was quite dumbfounded, staring at the elegantly clad woman on the drawing. Her drawn posture did something that made him think of one thing, “Grace,” he heard himself say. This time, she looked up at him quizzically, “How did this stranger know my name.” she thought. He pointed to it and said again, “Grace.” She only looked at him. Even though they said no other words that day, Malcolm recognized the word meant something to her the way she reacted. He made a mental note to find out to what extent and after seeing her often at conferences and of course camp. It was only after when he had asked for her name he realized.
The two easily became acquaintances.
She was hesitant about their friendship, always cautious of him. A previous heartbreak teaches you to be wise. He was that hard to figure out. Always open, always honest. Whenever he called her, she could tell what mood he was in. How easily he switched from playfulness to a sober tone.
She noticed him staring off in the distance and gently squeezed his hand.
She said, “Tell me what happened.”
He explained to his wife that after going over the details with the detective; they had enough evidence to prosecute Ray. To put him behind bars for a really long time. Most of the girls were minors including girls he knew. Grace placed a hand on his back. She felt a pang in her heart against her husband. This reaction puzzled her.
“It’s all right, dear. We will get through this.” she said.
“Did you see him?” she asked distracting her thoughts.
“I couldn’t — ” Malcolm managed.
Making some soothing noise, she rubbed his back more. Finally, he gave up and hugged her, breaking down frantically. This display somewhat surprised Grace. She knew he loved his brother. But crying, in front of her, was very much unlike her husband. If it was another circumstance, she might have laughed at him. He’d always have a command over his emotions, it seems this, this was too much.
Sarah shuffled out of her bed. Recently, only two things get her out of bed this early, Ruth or her bladder. Today it was the latter. Racing for the bathroom she had already started despising the fact she drank so much before bed. A good night’s rest was rare. When she was through, she cleaned her teeth and her face. She made a hot cup of cocoa and headed to the garden. The ‘room’ was no longer a place of solace just somewhere she had gone to expose her shame. Just somewhere she wasn’t ready to encounter again.
She found her seat. The dew dripped off the leaves near her as she shook the tender plants. She had grown fond of the lavender bud. She felt it understood her, as she knew how to well to remain tightly concealed. She wondered how she kept the secret so long.
“Hypocrite” she muttered to herself.
Not too long after, she heard a voice calling her name. The waist high girl came and sat beside her, nuzzling into her side. At least Ruth didn’t think she was, and at the thought she exhaled.
“For someone who doesn’t go to school, you are up early.” She pointed out.
She didn’t know what to say. How could she explain?
“Just enjoying the view.” she said.
“It quite beautiful Sarah.“ Ruth added. “Almost as beautiful as you.”
Sarah didn’t respond. It’s been a while since she saw herself like that. When she looked at her face, at her chest, at her legs, all she saw were the scars he left behind. It was the unseen ones that were the worst though, the ones that tore her apart mentally. Broken was no longer a description for her, it was her name.
“It’s time to get ready, let’s go inside.” Sarah said.
She hadn’t quite figured out what to do while away from school. She spent mornings in bed. After noon in front of her TV and dinner with her family. Her mother worked from home so she would pop in now and then. She was in the middle of a series when she heard her father’s car pull in. Things have been awkward between them, he doesn’t seem able to meet her eyes. He only really talks with her when others are around. He didn’t always come home for lunch, this was new. That means something was wrong. I turned down the show just enough to hear their exchanged. He asked where Sarah was, and her mother directed him to her.
He forced a smile and asked how she was. She answered shakily and then he took a seat, Grace entering the room. He told her what the detectives told him. She didn’t blink; she didn’t move. When he mentioned that Camelia was one victim, that certainly got a response from her. She pulled down her sleeve even though her sleeve covered it.
Her father went on but she heard nothing else, “Poor Camelia,” she thought. How could she haven’t picked it up? She was distant too but only attributed it to deserting her. “Right” she placed her hand on her forehead. “I am an awful friend.” she thought.
He said Ray could go away for at least thirty years if they testified. What was she to say, that she was happy other girls went through what she did so they could prove his wrong doing? Would she have to testify? What about the other girls? This was stirring up way more problems than she hoped for. If he only he hadn’t—. She fled to her room overcome by emotions and shut the door. In there she was safe, from court, from Ray and from eyes that would only judge her.
She heard her father’s car leaving, her mother saying she would talk to her. She agreed with herself to apologize tonight and hear him out further. Only her father didn’t show up that night. It was only a knock on the door by Police saying curtly her father was missing.
11 Oh, dear Corinthian friends! We have spoken honestly with you, and our hearts are open to you. 12 There is no lack of love on our part, but you have withheld your love from us. 13 I am asking you to respond as if you were my own children. Open your hearts to us!2 Corinthians 6:11-13 New Living Translation (NLT)
I have been dealing with possibilities I wasn’t quite sure I’d ever imagine. It seems with the economy almost toppling over; I am no longer simply unbothered by corona but moving on to concern. Health risks were seemingly no threat, heaven sounded sweeter but now with lay-offs at our heels, I have a new faith to take a firmer grip onto — that God will provide. Whilst my family has food and a little savings, my heart flutters to the thought of future needs. At work, they are having the agents work from home. Every day we release a new batch. As a receptionist, if there are no workers at work, then — you get the point.
With the uncertainty of the length of this outbreak, I could start working week on and off at a time. I have always enjoyed taking in my share. It seems only fair. Maybe things aren’t all that serious and all I have to risk is my pride, still I am concerned. I don’t intend to add to the noise of panic on the matter, rather my encouragement is way less economical or medical. How many persons like Paul have showed love (with no evil desire) and we closed our hearts to them? Whether from getting help or simply forming prejudices about them to hide your mistrust for people. I want you to be honest with the people closest to you.
Not a hard request seemingly, but what if for one week you shared how you really felt? To share why something has been irritating you for months possibly years?
To share that you really enjoy someone’s sacrifice, company or kindness?
To share that you loved them?
What if you shared your deepest struggle with someone who could counsel you and pray for you?
What if you connected more with the community that you see than the one on your phone?
What if you tackled the hard issues? Like why you have been avoiding someone and even why have you muted their status?
What if saw your heart for what it was and not what you wanted it to be?
What if you obeyed God, accepted his will?
What if you did open your heart to love?
Oh, what a week we would have had, full of honesty, realness, and probably a little brokenness? But in no wise greater than the joy of being you, of walking in your identity. There is brokenness that needs healing in all of us. Steffany Gretzinger says the more we encounter God, the more we become undone. The more we become conformed to his image. Take it not lightly that the bridge to wholeness means reconciling with our counterparts.
With that said, I wanted to say I really do appreciate you taking the time to read. People always say how much the blog helps them but I believe it helps me more. Thank you for giving me a safe space to express myself. The grace you extend to me is mind blowing. Your feedback, excitement, comments, corrections and thrills adds so much life these black and white pages. I cannot thank you enough. I am working on something for you but I can’t say yet. It’s having me giddy every time I think about. But, it will have to wait, blessed is he who endureth. Until next time, remember, you are precious.
P.S. I am waiting on those predictions. *winks*