Josee and Ariel

african american teenage girl

She was relaxing on the sofa, waiting for him to come home.  As as soon as her class ended, she left the university campus. She took  the bus to the condo building where they lived.  She did her homework and or studied for exams in the study for about two hours.  By the time she was done, it was time to fix dinner.

She loved preparing dinner for him.  He enjoyed her cooking.  Her mother taught her when she was 12.  “One of these days you’re going to be a wife.  The sooner you learn how to cook and keep a home, the better it will be for you.”

And here she was waiting for her husband after preparing one of his favorite meals.  Being married to him was beyond what she could have ever imagined.  Every night, she thanked God for blessing her with a wonderful guy whom she was madly in love with and who was madly in love with her.

They got engaged just months after she had introduced him to her mother and sister.  She still hadn’t met his family as yet.  Only his grandmother who was her piano teacher.  Three years ago, it was at her house where they met one afternoon during one of her lessons.  It was on a Thursday afternoon and she was playing the piano when he walked into the living-room.

He sat in the chair by the window and listened to her play.  She was acutely aware of him but remained focused on her playing.  When she was finished, his grandmother, Mrs. Eidelman introduced them.  “Josee, this is my grandson, Ariel.  He’s a lawyer.”

Ariel smiled and held out his hand.  He had the most incredible eyes she had ever seen.  He was tall and very handsome.  “It’s nice to meet you, Josee,” he said shaking her hand.

She smiled shyly.  “It’s nice to meet you too.”

“While you two become acquainted, I’ll go and make us some tea.”

Josee sat down on the sofa and Ariel sat beside her.  “You play the piano very well,” he remarked.

“Thank you.”

“My grandmother is an excellent teacher.  She taught my brother and me how to play the piano as well.”

“Maybe you could play something.”

“Sure.”  He got up and went over to the piano.  He sat down and played Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.  When he was done, he rejoined her.

“That was amazing,” Josee said.  “Is your brother as good as you?”

“He’s way better than me and that’s why he’s the musician in the family and I’m the lawyer.”

“How do you like being a lawyer?”

“Actually, I love being a lawyer because I get to make a difference in someone’s life.  I knew that I wanted to be a lawyer after I watched the movie, To Kill A Mockingbird.”

“That’s one of my favorite books.  I always said that if I were living in those times and my father was in trouble, I would want Atticus Finch to be his lawyer.”

Ariel smiled.  “It’s one of my favorite books too and Atticus Finch is the kind of lawyer whom most of us in the profession aspire to be like.”

Just then, his grandmother rejoined them and as they had their tea and Apple cake, they spoke about other things.  Then, it was time for Josee to leave.  Ariel offered to give her a ride home.

“So, you know that I’m a lawyer and that I have a brother but I don’t know anything about you except that you’re learning to play the piano.  Which school do you go to?”

She told him.  “It’s a very good school.  I’m going to miss going there.  I’m graduating this summer.”

“Have you decided what you want to study when you go to university?”

She nodded.  “Yes.  I’ve decided that I want to study biomedical engineering.”

“That’s great!” he exclaimed.  “Engineering has been a male dominated field for a long time but I don’t think it will be for much longer.  More and more women are becoming engineers.”

“My father was an engineer so I want to be like him.”

“Were you and he close?”

She nodded.  “Yes, very.  I was devastated when he died.”

“How old were you when he died?”

“Eight.”

“How old are you now?”

“Seventeen.  I’m going to be eighteen in April.”

“Are you dating?”

“No.”  She wanted to ask him the same question but was too shy to do so.

“I’m not dating either.  I’m ten years older than you so, would you have a problem dating me?”

She stared at him.  He wanted to date her.  “No, I wouldn’t have a problem,” she replied.  “What about your family?  Wouldn’t they have a problem with you dating me?”

He shrugged.  “They might.  My mother has always wanted me to marry a nice Jewish girl.  She even has one lined up for me but I’m not interested.”

“I’m a Christian.”

“So?  I won’t be the first Jewish guy to date a girl outside of my faith and I won’t be the last.”

“I don’t think my mother wouldn’t have a problem because, Jews and Blacks have a lot in common.”

“Yes.  We were once enslaved and have always been targeted by hate groups.”

“It’s a sad world we live in.  I can’t wait for Jesus to return.”

“So, are you busy on Saturday?”

“I’m free after sunset.  Like you, Saturday is my Sabbath.”

“So, you’re an Adventist.  I have several friends who are.  We have a lot in common, except Jesus.  You believe that He’s the Messiah and we don’t.  There are many Jews who no longer hold to a personal Messiah, but hope for a messianic age of justice and truth.  For many of us, the coming of the Messiah or the messianic age still lies in the future.”

“Did you know that the first Christians were actually Jews?”

“Really?”

“Yes.  All of the writers of the New Testament were Jewish Christians except Luke who wrote one of the Gospels.  He was a non-Jewish doctor.”

“That’s another thing we don’t have in common.  We don’t accept the inspiration of the New Testament or its account of the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies.”

“In Hebrews, the writer explains how the sacrifices for sin and the Day of Atonement in great detail.  Maybe one of these days, we can read it together.”

“Maybe.  So, may I take you out for dinner on Saturday evening?”

She nodded with a smile.  “Yes.”

When he took her home and he followed her to the front door, she invited him in to meet her mother and younger sister, Deidre.  “It’s nice to meet you, Ariel,” her mother said as she shook hands with him.  “I’ve heard so much about you from your grandmother.”

Ariel smiled.  “It’s a pleasure to meet you too,” Mrs. Carter.  “You have a very nice home.”

“Thank you.  And thanks for bringing Josee home.  I hope we will see more of you.”

“You will,” he promised.  He smiled and shook Deidre’s hand before he announced that he had to leave.

Josee walked him out to the porch.  “Thanks for the ride home.”

“It was my pleasure.  I’m looking forward to seeing you on Saturday evening.  I’ll pick you up at 7.”

“Ok.”

“‘Bye, Josee.”

“‘Bye, Ariel.”  She watched him walk to and get into his car and drive away before she went back into the house.

“He seems very nice,” Deidre said.

“And very handsome,” her mother remarked.

That night Josee told her that Ariel wanted to take her out for dinner on Saturday.  “He wants to date me.”

“Well, I don’t have a problem with you dating him.  Just make sure that you don’t go to his place or do anything you know you shouldn’t.”

“So, you don’t mind that he’s in his late twenties?”

“I was your age when I met your father.  He was in his twenties too.”  She smiled.  “I don’t have any objections.”

Josee smiled.  “Thanks, Mom.”

After their first date, Josee and Ariel began dating.  On her eighteenth birthday, he proposed and she readily accepted.  She told her mother who said, “I think that the two of you should wait for at least three years before you get married.”

“You mean when I’m 21.”

“Yes.  You will be a young adult then.”

“All right,” Josee agreed.  “We’ll wait.”

“Make sure that the two of you go for premarital counseling.  It’s very important that you do.”

Three years later, soon after her 21st birthday, they got married by a rabbi and a priest at a non-denominational chapel.  It was a beautiful ceremony which included both Christian and Jewish rituals.  Her family, high-school and university friends were there.  Ariel’s parents didn’t attend but his brother and grandmother along with his friends and colleagues were present.  The reception was held at a banquet hall.  Josee looked lovely in her simple but elegant dress with her hair in an french knot.  Her face was devoid of any makeup and the only jewelry she wore was her wedding ring.  Ariel looked very handsome in his wedding suit.  As they faced each other and exchanged rings, there were tears in their eyes.  The love they felt for each other was evident on their faces.  Her mother was moved to tears.  In her heart, she knew that her daughter was going to be all right because God was in this.

For their honeymoon, they went to Montego Bay.  They spent eight glorious days on the island.  She smiled now as she remembered their first night in the suite after they had a mouth watering dinner and went for a walk along the beach.  They were both very nervous and excited.  For several moments they stood there staring at each other and then he was holding her in his arms and kissing her.  Since it was her first time, he took it slow.  However, the other nights, he was like a ravenous wolf.  She trembled at the memories.

“What are you smiling about?” the inquiry brought her back to the present and she looked up as Ariel walked into living-room.  She immediately got up from the sofa and hurried over to him.  He lifted her up in a hug.  She put her arms around his neck and lowered her head to kiss him.

“I was just remembering our honeymoon in Montego Bay,” she said after she drew back to gaze down at him.Image-4_4

He smiled.  “I think about it a lot too.”

“Dinner is ready.  While you go and change, I’ll set the table and share out.”

His eyes darkened on her face.  “I’m hungry but not for food,” he murmured before he carried her into the bedroom.  After closing the door behind them, he set her down by the bed so that he could get undressed.  Soon they were under the sheets making passionate love.

Dinner was still very warm when they finally had it.  As they ate, they told each other how their day went.  “I told my friend, Allison that we’re going to Florida next week for three weeks and she suggested that we visit Beth Tehillah Vetikva in Hollywood, Florida.”

“Is that a synagogue?” he asked.

“It’s an Adventist Messianic Congregation made up of both Jews and non-Jews who believe that Yeshua is the Messiah.”

“Josee…”

“I Googled them and it says on their website that they worship God in the context of their Hebraic heritage and they believe that we should live our lives by the word of God.  They also observe the Torah.  Please, let’s just go and see what it’s like.  Allison said that if you don’t like it, there’s a Jewish synagogue not far from there where you can go to instead.”

“All right, I’ll go but I’m only doing it because of you.”

She smiled.  “Thank you.”

They went to Beth Tehillah Vetikva and they both loved it so much that they decided to spend the entire three weeks in Hollywood instead of heading to Tampa as originally planned.  Several months after Josee graduated from university, they moved to Hollywood.  They joined the congregation of Beth Tehillah Vetikva after Ariel was baptized following a series of Bible Studies.

Ariel joined one of the top law firms in Hollywood while Josee got a Biomedical Engineer job at the University of Miami.  Eight years later, they were expecting their first child.  Josee’s friend, Allison was invited to the baby’s dedication because it was on account of her that they went to the House of Praise and Hope where Ariel finally accepted Jesus as the Messiah.

Many Jews now recognize that Jesus is the Messiah of Israel. The World Jewish Adventist Friendship Center therefore provides a place within the Seventh-day Adventist denomination for every Jew who is waiting for the second coming of Jesus our Messiah to worship God in the context of their faith without denying their own culture – Richard Elofer, World Jewish Adventist Friendship Center Director

Sources:  BBC; Shiksha; My Tea Planner; Inl India; IEEE Spectrum; The International Bible Society; Waiting for Your Boaz; Chicago Tribune; Linkedin; Beth Tehillah Vetikva; World Jewish Adventist Friendship Center;

One Afternoon Break

The first time he saw her, it was on Monday.  She was walking down the street.  In her hand was a red school satchel.  She looked at him as she walked past.  He was sitting on the rail outside of the building where he worked.  It was during his afternoon break which he usually took a half hour earlier.  He was looking in the opposite direction but he could feel that someone was staring at him and he turned his head.  Their eyes met and held.

She couldn’t have been more than eighteen although she looked younger. She was wearing a yellow shirt tucked into a knee length denim skirt and a pair of black low heel sandals.  Her thick hair framed her face.  She was a very pretty girl.  He couldn’t help staring at her.  He knew that there was a high school a couple of blocks away.  Perhaps she was on her way home because it was last three thirty.

He started going for his break at three thirty when he knew that he would see her.  And when she walked by, he smiled and said hello.  He found himself looking forward to seeing her.  Many times, he thought to himself, This is crazy.  I’m twenty-nine years old and here I am, attracted to a high school girl.  Yes, I must be losing my mind.  Yet the thought didn’t prevent him from wanting to see her and get to know her.  He made up his mind that before the week ended, he was going to talk to her.

That Friday, he got his chance.  Since it was the last Friday of the month, he was dressed casually.  As he waited for her, he thought about what he was going to say to her.  He was nervous and excited at the same time.  When, he saw her coming towards him, his heart began to beat fast.  He rubbed his hands nervously together and tried to look calm.

As she got closer, he stood up.  His eyes traveled eagerly over her small frame in the tee shirt and jeans.  “Hello.”

To his surprise, she stopped and said, “Hello.”  Then, she handed him a flyer which he readily took from her.

He looked at it.  It was an invitation to a benefit concert at a church two weeks away.  “Thank you,” he said as he folded it and put it in his pants pocket.  “What’s your name?”

“Staci.”

“Mine is Aaron.”  He held out my hand and she put hers in it.  It was so soft and tiny.

“Do you work here?” she asked, glancing over her shoulder.

He nodded.  “Yes.  I’ve been working here since I left university several years ago.   Are you on your way home from school?”

“Yes.  My school is a couple of blocks from here.”

“Do you live close by?”

She shook her head.  “No.  I have to take the bus to get home.  The bus stop is just around the next corner.”  She glanced at her watch.  “I should go.”

“Don’t go, Staci.  Stay and talk with me for a while.”

“All right.”  She set her satchel down on the pavement and leaned against the rail next to me.  He turned so that he was facing her.  She looked shyly up at him before she looked away.

“Are you a junior?”

“No, I’m a senior.  I’m graduating in June.”

“Do you have a major as yet?”

“Yes.  Computer Science.”

He was impressed.  “Good for you.  You’ll be the first person I know in a field which needs more women.”

“My father always encouraged me to work hard and to believe that I can do anything I set my mind to.  He believed in gender equality.”

“So do I.  Your father sounds like a remarkable man.”

“He was.  It has been eight years since he died.”

“I’m sorry to hear that.  Do you have any brothers and sisters?”

She shook her head.  “No.  I’m an only child.”

“What about other family?”

“They’re in Grenada.”

“So, now it’s just your mother and you living here in London then?”

“Yes, but she isn’t well.  She has Multiple Sclerosis.”

He looked alarmed.  “How are you managing her illness while going to school?”

“We have a home care provider who takes care of her.  I take care of cleaning the apartment, the laundry, the grocery shopping and the cooking.”

“How old are you?”

“Eighteen.”

“You’re pretty young to have so much responsibility.”

“I don’t mind.  My mother can’t do those things anymore.”

“You don’t have much of a social life.  Don’t you miss hanging out with your friends?”

“Not really.”

“Do you know how to roller-blade?”

“Yes.”

“Great.  How about you and me rollerblading this Sunday?”

She looked hesitant.  “I’m not sure…”

“Come on.  It will be fun.  And I’m sure your mother wouldn’t mind.”

She smiled.  “All right.”

They talked for a while longer and then she had to go home and he had to return to his job.  They arranged to meet at a park.  “I’m looking forward to seeing you on Sunday,” he said as he gazed down into her upturned face.

“Me too,” she said shyly.  Then, she picked up her satchel, waved at him and hurried off.  He stood there watching her until she disappeared from his view before he went into the air conditioned office building.  He couldn’t wait to see her again.

Sunday came and they went rollerblading and then grabbed something to eat afterwards.  He gave her a lift home.  They saw each other every afternoon during the week and went different places on Sunday.   He didn’t see her sunset Friday to sunset Saturday because it was her Sabbath.  She was a Seventh-day Adventist.  He went to the concert she invited him to and he really enjoyed it.  The following Saturday, he went to church and sat next to her.

Afterwards, she invited him home for lunch.  He met her mother and Maureen, the woman who was taking care of her.  Mrs. Brown’s was confined to a wheelchair.  Looking at her, he could tell that she was once a very beautiful woman.  Her speech was slurred and her voice was so low at times that he had trouble hearing her.  Seeing her hit home how hard it must be for Staci to see her like that.  It was after seven when he left.

He and Staci continued to see each other and he soon realized that he was falling in love with her which just blew his mind.  In two months he was going to be thirty years old.  If his family and friends knew about her, they would strongly object and not only because of the age difference.  He wanted to invite her over to his place but he knew that she probably wouldn’t think that it was a good idea.  They couldn’t be alone.  There would have to be a chaperone present.  So, when they were out on the road, they were at her home.  woman-in-red-shirt-2732990

Then, one day, he had just taken a shower after going to the gym and had barely gotten dressed when his doorbell rang.  He peered through the keyhole and was surprised to see Staci.  When he opened the door, he saw that she had been crying.  He quickly drew her into his flat and after locking the door, he turned to face her, alarmed.  “What’s the matter, Staci?” he asked.

Tears welled in her eyes. “My mother’s dead,” she managed to say before she broke down.

“Oh, Honey, I’m so sorry for your loss.”  He pulled her into his arms and hugged her tightly as she buried her face in shirt, her body shaking with the sobs.

They stood there like that for several minutes.  When her sobs subsided, she raised her head.  He released her to cup her face between his hands.  He wiped away her tears with his thumbs.  He wanted so badly to kiss her but now wasn’t the right time.

She stared at him, feeling guilty because she was wondering what it would be like to kiss him.  “I’d better go.”

“Let me take you home.”

She didn’t answer but let him take her to his car.  In the car, he held her hand.  When they go to the apartment, she invited him in.  Maureen, her mother’s former caretaker informed her that the funeral home came and took the body away.  “Do you have someone you can stay with?” she asked.

Staci shook her head.

“You shouldn’t be here by yourself, at least not for a while.” Maureen said.

“I’ll manage.”

“Well, if you need anything, call me.”

“I will.”  They hugged and then, Maureen left.

When they were alone, Aaron said to her, “She’s right.  You shouldn’t be here on your own.  Why don’t you come and stay with me?”

Staci shook her head.  “I can’t.  It isn’t right for a single man and woman to be living under the same roof especially when…”

“Especially when they are attracted to each other.  I understand.  Still, I’m not comfortable with you being here by yourself.”

“I’ll be fine.  Besides, people from the church will be dropping by to make sure that I’m all right.”

“Okay, but I too will come by every single day to make sure that you’re all right.”

“All right.”

He stayed with her until late that night.  He and some members of the church helped her with the funeral arrangements.  Her aunt and cousins flew in Grenada the day before the funeral.  They stayed at a hotel because they didn’t want to sleep in the apartment because that was where her mother died.  They stayed for a week and then left.  Staci stayed in the apartment and continued to pay the rent until it was time for her to go to university in September.  She told Aaron that she had decided that she was going to live on campus or nearby where there was affordable student housing until she graduated.  They were sitting on a park bench facing the pond.

He reached for her hands.  “Marry me, Staci” he said urgently.

She gulped.  “Marry you?”

“Yes.”

“Why do you want to marry me?”

“I want to because I love you, Staci.”

“I–I love you too, Aaron.”  Her heart was pounding wildly.  “But, are you sure you want me, a high school senior to be your wife?”

“I’ve never been more sure of anything in my life.  Marry me.”

“All right.”

He leaned over and kissed her.  When he drew back, they were both breathing heavily.  “We’ll get married and then, you’ll move into my place.  It isn’t far from the university campus.”

“Sounds perfect.”

“I want you to know that while you concentrate on your studies I can take care of the cooking, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping and ironing.”

She shook her head at once.  “No, Aaron.  As your wife, I want to take care of you and our home.  So, on the weekends, I will cook for the week, clean, do the laundry and ironing.  All you have to do is to pick up the groceries.”

“All right but if at anytime you need me to step in and take over, please let me know.”

“I will,” she promised.

“And it’s totally up to you when you want us to start a family.  We can wait until you have finished university and have settled into your career.  We can wait up to ten years if you like.”

She reached up and kissed him on the lips and then, slipping her hand in his, she said, “I prayed that one day I would meet, fall in love and marry a good man and here you are.  God answered my prayer.”

He gently squeezed her hand.  “I always believed that there was a special someone out there for me.  And then, one afternoon you walked into my life.  I believe that some people are meant to be together.”

“And I believe that God brought us together at the perfect time.  I had my mother all of my life and now I will have you for the rest of it.”

“Yes, you will,” he murmured huskily before he kissed her again.

They went for pre-marital counseling with her pastor who initially was concerned about the age difference but his concerns were allayed when he saw how much they were in love and how compatible.  Aaron began Bible Studies with him and was baptized shortly after.

After Staci graduated from high school, Aaron and she got married.  Her cousins, school friends and his co-workers as well as most of the church members were present.  Not surprisingly, his family wasn’t there.  It stung of course, but he didn’t allow it to spoil the wedding or their ten day honeymoon in breathtakingly beautiful Bali.

Source:  National MS Society; Wedding Wire

 

 

Keziah’s Story

Jill was my best friend.  We grew up together.  We used to like the same books, movies and boys.  And when the boy we liked at a particular time liked one of us more, there were not hard feelings.  We were happy for each other.  So, when she met and fell in love with Greg, I was happy for her, even though secretly, I was in love with him too.

He and I got along extremely well.  It took a lot out of me to hide my feelings from him, though.  I tried to distract myself with my studies and then my job after I graduated from university.  I dated other guys but always at the back of my mind, I couldn’t stop thinking about Greg and wishing that I didn’t love him.  Eventually, I stopped dating altogether and just focused on my career.

When Jill told me that he asked her to marry him, I tried very hard to be happy and excited for her.  I put a big smile on my face as I congratulated her but as we hugged, my heart ached and the tears that glistened in my eyes were not tears of joy but of pain.  She asked me to be her maid of honor and I readily accepted.  When I saw Greg, I congratulated him.  He smiled and before I could react, he was hugging me.  I closed my eyes and hugged him back.  It felt so good being in his arms.  I wished the hug would last and then I felt guilty for wishing that.  I pulled away and I turned my back to him so that he couldn’t see the expression on my face.  We were alone in the living-room.  Jill was out on the patio talking to her parents.  I excused myself and joined them.  I had to leave because I was afraid that I would give myself away.

istockphoto-171306045-170667aI promised myself that after the wedding, I would pack up and move to Seattle where my sister and her family lived.  I could start a new life there.  I didn’t say anything to Jill because I didn’t want to spoil her happiness.  Besides, she was busy planning her wedding which was less than a year away.  I went with her, her mother, sister and Greg’s mother to find a dress.

It was bittersweet watching her try on the different gowns.  It touched my heart to see how happy and excited she was but I was also cut up about the upcoming nuptials.  I had no idea how I was going to get through the wedding.  For the first time since I have known her, I wished that Jill and I didn’t have the same taste in men.

A couple of weeks before the wedding, I ran into Greg’s mother and a man I had never met before.  I was on my way to grab lunch when I saw them.  Greg’s mother was very happy to see me.  After we hugged, she introduced me to her companion.  He was Luke, Greg’s half-brother by her first marriage.  He was very attractive.  When he shook my hand, I felt a jolt of electricity surge through, startling me and for a moment, I was nonplussed.  He had the most incredible eyes and the way he looked at me made my heart pound wildly and my pulse race but my mind was resistant.  How could I feeling like this about this perfect stranger when I was in love with Greg?  Was it really possible to be attracted to one man while in love in another?

As I stood there, trying to make sense of what was happening to me, Greg’s mother invited me to join them for lunch.  I wanted to refuse but it would have seem rude and besides, I was hungry.  We went to an upscale French restaurant.  I sat opposite Luke while Greg’s mother sat on my right.  Several times his eyes an mine met which really unnerved me.  After we ordered, Greg’s mother talked about the wedding and then, she mentioned how happy she was that Luke was going to be there.  He had just returned from South Africa where he had worked for a months working on a story.  He was a photojournalist.  It explained his swarthy complexion.

I noticed that he wasn’t wearing a ring which meant that he wasn’t married but it didn’t mean that he wasn’t romantically involved with someone.  I found myself wondering what type of women he was attracted to and chided myself for it.  I tried not to look at him unless I had to.  Greg’s mother didn’t seem to notice anything.  She was prattling on about different things.  Then, she said to me, “I heard that the bachelorette party was a huge success.  Lucy couldn’t stop raving about it.”  Lucy was Greg’s younger sister and one of the bridesmaids.

I was pleased to hear that.  It was hard trying to figure out what to do for the party.  As a Christian, I wasn’t into hiring a male exotic dancer or going to a male strip club.  Then, I went on Google for clean bachelorette party ideas.  I came up with a few which turned out to be a hit with the ladies.  It was worth the stress that came with planning the event to see them, especially, the bride-to-be enjoying themselves.  “Yes, it was and I’m happy to hear that Lucy had a great time.”

We talked about other things.  Luke didn’t say much.  The food was delicious although I felt self-conscious because I could feel him staring at me.  When we were finished, I followed them out of the restaurant and as we stood outside, I thanked Greg’s mother for inviting me to lunch and we hugged.  I turned to Luke and held out my hand.  “It was nice meeting you,” I said.

He took my hand and his eyes met mine in a steady gaze as he replied, “Likewise.  I’m looking forward to seeing you again.”

Again I felt that curious sensation and I withdrew my hand.  I bade them farewell and walked briskly away.  The next time I saw them would be on the day of the wedding.

Finally, the big day arrived and everything went very smoothly as far as venues go.  It was going to be bittersweet watching Greg and Jill get married.  When I walked down the aisle, my eyes went immediately to the bridegroom.  He smiled at me and then, his eyes shifted to the rest of the procession.  Luke was staring at me, though.  He looked very handsome in his wedding suit.  I tried to ignore my reaction to him as I stood there.

It was painful hearing Greg and Jill read their own vows.  The words were beautiful and there was no question that they were crazy about each other.  I fought back the tears all the while wishing that I was somewhere else.  When the ceremony was over, I was relieved although I managed to hide it well.  Soon we were at the banquet hall where the reception was to be held.  Then, it was time for the speeches and I was very nervous.

When it was my turn, I said a quick prayer before I stood up.  I had written a little speech on a cue card but I decided to speak from the heart.  I could tell that it went well because I could see Jill dabbing her eyes and smiling at the same time.  As I sat down, she blew me kisses.  While Luke gave his speech, I watched him, thinking how relaxed he looked and what an eloquent speaker he was.  The room was so quiet, you could hear a pin drop except when people erupted in laughter at his jokes.  I couldn’t take my eyes off him which confused me.

After dinner, it was time for dancing.  Luke came over to me and asked me to dance.  I couldn’t refuse.  As the maid of honor it was my duty to have a great time and spend a lot of time on the dance floor. So, to kick things off, it was the tradition for the maid of honor to dance with the best man the song immediately following the first dance.  Heart beating like crazy, I got up and followed him to the dance floor.  As I stepped into his arms, I couldn’t help thinking how good he smelled and what a terrific dancer he was.  His movements were fluid and graceful.  We danced several dances and then returned to the table.  While he went to dance with his mother, I went over to Greg and Jill.  After Jill and I hugged, I kissed Greg on the cheek.  He looked so handsome in his suit and so happy.

When Greg left the table to dance with his sister, Jill said to me, “I saw Luke and you dancing earlier.”

“Yes, it’s customary for the best man and maid of honor to dance with each other.”

“I think Luke likes you.”

My heart skipped a beat at the mention of his name.  “Why do you think so?” I asked, trying to sound indifferent.

“I’ve seen the way he keeps looking at you.  He’s a very handsome man, Keziah.  And he’s single too.”

“I’m not interested in him, Jill.”

“Really?” she exclaimed.  “Why not?”

“He’s not my type.”

“You and I always liked the same type of guy.  If I weren’t crazy about Greg, I would have gone for Luke.”

I found myself thinking the same thing.  If I weren’t in love with Greg too, I could see myself with Luke.  Just then, Greg rejoined us and I excused myself.  I mingled with other guests, make sure that everyone was having a good time.  Then, it was time for the cake cutting ceremony which meant that the party was at the half-point.  Afterwards, it was time for the newlyweds to take photos with their guests.  I was relieved when the party was over.  I was tired and wanted to crawl into my bed and sleep in very, very late.  After saying goodbye to the newlyweds who were off to their honeymoon, I made sure that everything was fine before I left.

Luke offered to give me a ride home and I accepted.  We didn’t say much in the car but when he walked me to my door, he asked, “When can I see you again?”

I shrugged.  “I don’t know.”  I hadn’t planned on seeing him again.  Right now, all I wanted to do was to go to bed.  I didn’t want to think about the wedding or about Greg on his honeymoon.

“Have dinner with me tomorrow night.”

“I can’t.  I have other plans.”  That was true.  I was going to a concert with my sister.

“What about Monday night?”

“I don’t usually go out on a week night because of work.”

“All right, how about Friday night?”

He was very persistent.  “All right,” I said.  I gave him my number.  “Thanks for giving me a ride home.”

“You’re welcome.”

“Good night.”

“Good night, Keziah.”  He reached over and kissed me on the cheek, making me catch my breath.  The area on my skin tingled.  I unlocked my door and went inside.  I waved at him before closing and locking it behind me.

I stripped, changed into my sleepwear and went straight to bed.  I fell asleep immediately.  Not wanting to think about Greg who was probably having great time in Aruba with his new bride, I buried myself in my work.  The days went by very quickly and Friday was here.  I felt nervous about going to dinner with Luke and was tempted to call it off.  I told myself that I would go out with him just this once and flatly turn him down if he were to ask me out again.

He took me to a Spanish restaurant where the atmosphere was warm and friendly and the food one of the best I have ever had.  There was live entertainment.  At first, I didn’t say much but then he began asking me about myself.

“So, does Greg know?” he asked suddenly, startling me.

“Know what?” I asked.

“That you’re in love with him?”

“I’m not in love with him.”

“I think you are.  I saw the way you looked at him at the wedding.”

“I don’t know what you think you saw.”

“I’m going to make you fall out of love with him and fall in love with me.”

“I don’t want to talk about this anymore,” I informed him tightly.

He shrugged.  “All right.  I’ll drop it–for now.”

“Tell me about your job.”

“As you know, I’m a photojournalist.  I work independently with different television networks.  It’s an exciting and risky job.”  He told me about the different assignments he had undertaken and some of the risks.  It sounded very thrilling and I could see why he loved it.  He was ambitious and a wanderlust.  I envied him.  It must be nice to travel to different places and meet different people while capturing stories through photos.  My job as a Graphics Designer sounded so boring in comparison.

We talked about other things.  Then, it was time for him to take me home.  On the ride over, he brought up the subject of us dating each other.  I tried to put him off but he was very persistent.  By the time he walked me to my flat, we had another date.

Luke and I began seeing each other regularly.  I didn’t mention it to Jill right away but when I did finally get around to it, she was thrilled.  “I knew it!” she exclaimed.  “I knew that you weren’t being honest with me when you said that he wasn’t your type.”

LukeThere was no denying that I was attracted to Luke.  He made me feel things Greg never did.  All it took was a look or a touch to make me weak in the knees.  I didn’t want to feel like this about him, not when I was supposed to be in love with his half-brother.  Yet, lately, it wasn’t Greg who occupied my thoughts.  And when I was hanging out with Jill and him, I found myself thinking about Luke and how dangerously close I had come to sleeping with him that night when he took me home after we went to the theatre.

In the foyer of my flat, he pulled me into his arms and kissed me.  At first, I was too stunned to do anything and then, my arms were around his neck and I was kissing him back wildly.  The kiss lasted for a while and then, I pulled away from him.  I told him that I couldn’t invite him in because of what would happen and explained that I wanted to wait until I was married to have sex.  He respected my wishes and after we made plans to see each other the next day, he left.  We made sure that we didn’t spend any time at his place or mine.

It was Sunday evening and we were having dinner at Jill’s and Greg’s place.  We talked and laughed.  After I helped Jill to clean up, we played Charades and other fun games.  At one point I was alone in the living-room while the others were downstairs in the basement watching a movie.  I had come upstairs to use the washroom but before heading back down, I went into the living-room and was looking at the framed photos on top of the mantle-piece.  I took down the one of Greg and Jill and smiled as I looked at it.  It was taken on their wedding day.  They looked so happy.  I put it back and took down the one of Greg alone.  I remember when it was taken.  It was on his thirtieth birthday which was a few years ago.  I was the one who took it.  I remember thinking how lucky Jill was.  Now, I’m simply happy for her.  Greg and she were meant to be together.

I was so engrossed in my thoughts that I didn’t hear when Luke came into the room.  When he came and stood in front of me, I almost dropped the photo.  “You startled me,” I told him as I placed it back on the mantle-piece.

“I called you but you didn’t hear me.  You were too busy staring at that photo.”

“I was looking at the other photos too,” I replied defensively.

“I know how you feel about Greg.  I saw the way you looked at him at the wedding.”

“I think we should join him and Jill.”  I started to move away when he caught my arm.  I stared up in his face, my heart beat accelerating.

“How long are you going to carry a torch for him?” he demanded, his eyes flashing with anger and jealousy.  “How long are you going to love a man who doesn’t love you and reject the man who does?”

I gulped, my eyes wide as they met his.  “You-you love me?”

Yes!  Isn’t it obvious?”

“I–I didn’t know.”

“Well, now you do.”

“Luke–”

He released my arm and moved away.  “I’ll see you around.”

Alarmed, I asked, “Where are you going?”

“What do you care?”

“But, what do I tell Jill and Greg?”

“Tell them whatever you like.”  And he strode out of the living-room.  Minutes later, I heard his car drive away.

I stood there, shaking.  When Jill came into the living-room to find out what was taking us so long, I burst into tears.  I told her everything.  She took me over to the sofa and when we were sitting, she put her arms around me.  “I always knew how you felt about Greg,” she said when my sobs had subsided.  She handed me a bunch of tissues.  “He never suspected.  I knew how hard it was for you to see someone you love marry someone else, even if that someone else is your best friend.  I also knew that in time your feelings for him would change and they have.  It isn’t Greg that’s making you cry like this, it’s Luke.  You’re in love with him, Keziah.”

She was right.  I was in love with Luke.  The realization hit me the moment he stormed out of the living-room and out of my life.  “What am I going to do?” I wailed.  “He thinks that I still love Greg.”

“Well, go and tell him that he’s wrong.”

I stood up.  “All right.  I’ll go over to his place.  Hopefully, he’s there.”

“And if he isn’t, wait.”

“I’ll call a cab and–”

“Oh, no, you don’t.  I’ll take you.”

“Thanks, Jill.”

After she went and told Greg that she was going out for a while, she hustled me out of the house and soon we were heading over to Luke’s place.  She offered to wait with me but I insisted that she go home to her husband.  I promised that I would call her the next day.  As soon as she left, I took the elevators up to Luke’s penthouse.  I rang the bell but there wasn’t any answer.  I rang again and then I heard the latch being drawn back and then I was staring up into Luke’s face.  “What are you doing here?” he demanded.

“I need to speak to you,” I said.  “May I come in?”

He opened the door wider and stepped aside so that I could go inside.  After he closed the door, he turned to face me.  He leaned against it with his arms folded.  “So, what do you want to speak to me about?”

I took a deep breath.  “You’re wrong about my feelings for Greg,” I informed him.

He didn’t answer but from the expression on his face, I could tell that he didn’t believe me.

“I’m not in love with him, Luke.  I’m–I’m in love with you.”

His eyes darkened.  “I want to believe you but, the way you were looking at his photo…”

“I was looking at it and thinking that Jill and he belonged together.  I admit that I was in love with Greg but when I met you and I was instantly attracted to you, I was confused.  I couldn’t understand how I could be in love with Greg and feel the way I did about you.  I tried to put you off when you first asked me to go out with you because I was afraid of getting hurt.”

He reached out and pulled me against him.  “I would never hurt you, Keziah,” he muttered thickly.   “All I wanted and still want is to have a future with you.”

My response was to put my arms around his neck and kiss him.

“If you love two people at the same time, choose the second. Because if you really loved the first one, you wouldn’t have fallen for the second” – Johnny Depp

Sources:  Wedding Wire; Stag and Hen; Bridal Guide; Hitched; AISFM Blog; Good Reads;

I Married For Love

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I married for love.  My husband was the love of my life.  The only problem was he loved someone else.  When I was in my early twenties, I met two brothers–Jack, an outgoing, lovely man and his brother, Adam, who was very handsome and very charming.  Jack fell in love with me but I fell in love with Adam.  I went out with both of them but there came a time when I had end my relationship with one of them.  Both proposed to me.  I had to decide which one of them I should marry.  Should I marry Jack who loved me or Adam whom I loved?

I decided to marry Adam.  Jack was heartbroken.  He packed up and left Seattle.

In the beginning, Adam and I were happy.  We decided to wait for a year before having children.  That year we traveled and just spent time getting close.  The following year, we had our first child, a boy who was a splitting image of Adam.  I adored him.  The next year, we had twin girls.  We moved to Santa Barbara and bought a beach home.  Life there was very satisfying.  I was happy.  The kids were happy and I assumed that Adam was happy too.

One evening when I was on my way home when I decided that I would drop by Adam’s office to see if he wanted to go out for dinner.  The kids were with their grandparents.  We would pick them up after dinner.  I got on the elevator and walked to Adam’s office.  The door was closed but I could see the light under the door.  Without bothering to knock, I opened the door and walked in.

I can’t tell who was more shocked—Adam for getting caught red-handed or me for seeing my husband naked and in the arms of another woman.  I don’t know how long I stood there but when he moved towards me, I turned and ran out of the office.  I didn’t stop running until I was out of the building and heading down the street.  I frantically flagged down a taxi and scrambled into the back, the tears almost blinding me.  How could he?  And who was she?  Was he going to throw away fifteen years of marriage for a romp in his office?

When I got home, I ran straight up to our room and took out a suitcase.  I started throwing his clothes into it.  I didn’t want him around.  I couldn’t bear to see him.  I wanted him gone and I didn’t care where he went.  He could stay with her or a friend.  Was this the first time?  Were there other times?  What kind of man was I married to?

I hauled the suitcase downstairs and put it in the foyer, beside the front door.  I went into the kitchen and sat down at the table.  I buried my face in my hands and wept.

An hour later, I heard the front door open and close.  The kids went straight upstairs.  A few minutes later, Adam walked into the kitchen.  I didn’t look at him.  I couldn’t.  “I packed your suitcase,” I informed him.  “I don’t want you here right now.”

He sighed.  “Beth, I’m sorry…”

I looked at him then.  “Are you sorry that you hurt me or sorry that you got caught?”

“I’m sorry that I hurt you.”

“Who is she, Adam?  Some woman you picked up at a bar or someone working at the company?”

“She’s someone from my past.”

“You were in a relationship with her?”

“Yes.  We were lovers.”

“Lovers?”

“She was married.”

“Was married?”

“Yes.  She’s divorced now.”

I shook my head in disgust.   “Now that she’s divorced you figured that you would pick up where you left off.”

“It isn’t like that, Beth.  We didn’t plan to restart our relationship, it just happened.”

“These things don’t just happen, Adam.  You wanted to get back with her.  You didn’t think about how this would affect the kids and me.  You’re a selfish man.  I wish I’d never married you.”

His face suffused with color.  “You should have married Jack,” he agreed.  “He loved you.”

“Why did you marry me, Adam?  I know that it wasn’t because you loved me.”

“Beth, I cared about you and I believed that in time, I would grow to love you.”

“But you never did.  Is she the reason?  Are you in love with her?”

He sighed.  “I never stopped loving her.”

My hand covered my mouth as I tried to stifle the sob that rose to my throat.  Pain, jealousy and anger gripped me.  “Please get out,” I muttered tightly.

“Okay, I’ll go.  I’m sorry.”  He turned and walked out of the kitchen.

Minutes later the front door opened and closed.  I sat there at the table for a very long time before I went upstairs to my room and locked myself in.  The next morning, I told the kids that Dad was out of town.  A few weeks later, I filed for a divorce.  Adam and I have joint custody of the kids.  He and his ex- got married.

As I stood on the beach, gazing out at the ocean, I think about Jack.  He’s living in Seville and is happily married to a beautiful Spanish woman.   He friended me on Facebook and sent me photos of him and his family.  I’m truly happy for him.  He’s a good man and he deserves to be with a good woman.  There are moments when I still regret not choosing him.

As for me, I’m not ready for any relationships.  My kids and my career keep me busy.  I haven’t dismissed the idea of remarrying completely.  Who knows, one of these days, I just might get lucky and fall in love with a man who’s in love with me.

I Love Him

“You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the LORD” – Leviticus 19:28, NKJV

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I never thought of getting a tattoo until I met and fell in love with Roger.  We met at a book fair four years ago.  We were book lovers and huge fans of Historical and Crime Fiction and Science Fantasy.  We were in the browsing and we reached for the same book.  He looked at me and said, “Sorry.  You first.” He had such a warm smile and incredible eyes that I was smitten.

After we bought the books we wanted, I ended up getting the one we were both reaching for but which I promised to lend him after I finished reading it, we went to a trendy restaurant nearby for lunch.  Over pasta and white wine, we got to know each other and by the end of lunch, we had made plans for our first date.

We began dating and there was talk of marriage.  One afternoon when we were hanging out in the city, he suggested that we go and get tattoos.  He said he always wanted to get one but just didn’t get around to it.  I was hesitant at first but he convinced me when he said, “I want to put right here on my wrist the words, I love you.  They are in my heart but I want them to be a part of me where they are visible for everyone to see.”

So, I agreed and we went to a tattoo parlor and had the tattoos done.  His said, “I love her” and mine said, “I love him.”  A week later, he popped the big question when we were at an amusement park.  He got down on one knee on the grass near the Ferris Wheel.  I was conscious of people watching us but he was oblivious to them.  I bawled but somehow managed to say, Yes!  He sprang to his feet, beside himself with excitement and planted a big one on my lips.  Then, holding hands, we sauntered off to the Roller-coaster.  It was a glorious afternoon–one I will never, ever forget.

Then, the worst day of my life since my father died happened.  I was getting ready to go to the beach with Roger when the doorbell rang.  Thinking it was him, I rushed to answer it and was surprised to see his friend, Larry standing there.  The expression on his face wiped the smile off mine.  My heart began to pound.  I invited him into the flat and closed the door.  I took him into the living-room where we both remained standing.  “What’s wrong, Larry?” I asked.  A heavy sense of dread settled over me like a dark cloud.

“It’s Roger,” he said.  I could tell that he was trying really hard to keep it together.  “This morning on his way to visit his parents, he was killed in a multi-vehicle crash.”

I don’t remember much of what happened after I heard the news which turned my world upside down.  The funeral and everything afterwards were all a blur to me.  I took time off work and lived like a hermit in my flat.  I didn’t want to see or talk to anyone.  There were times when I felt that I couldn’t go on without Roger.

One night, I came very close to committing suicide.  I had the bottle of sleeping pills in my hand but I heard someone on the radio, I think, say, “Regardless of how dark the future may appear to you right now, remember, God will never abandon you.” That got my attention and I listened to the entire program.  Looking back now, I know without a shadow of a doubt that God saved my life that night.

I had a friend who was a Christian and I turned to her for support.  She visited me regularly and prayed for me.  She invited me to spend time with her and her family because she felt that it would do me good.  She shared her faith with me.  I never knew that she and her husband had lost a child.  She told me how God had gotten her through those dark, painful moments.  And she encouraged me to talk to Him about anything that was on my mind.  “Be frank with Him.  Let Him know that you’re hurting, that you’re angry–whatever you’re feeling, lay it all out.  Cry, yell if you need to.  Don’t hold back.  God can take it.”

I followed her advice and I could feel God’s presence and His comfort.  I began to talk to Him regularly and found that it helped with the pain and sorrow.  My friend gave me a Bible which I began reading every night before I went to bed.  It was then that I learned that God doesn’t want us to mark our skins–that meant tattoos.  I felt badly that I had one but when I mentioned it to my friend, she said, “When you got it, you didn’t know.   Now that you know, you can do something about it.”

“What can I do?”

“You can remove your tattoo.”

I stared at her.  “I can?” I exclaimed.  “But I thought you couldn’t remove tattoos.”

“Yes.  They were once considered permanent but now it’s possible to remove them with treatments, fully or partially.  One of my co-workers had her tattoo removed.  I can give you her number and she could advise you on what to do.”

I thanked her for telling me this and I immediately contacted her co-worker, Anna who told me what to do and what to expect.  She told me to consult a doctor, that it would take months, perhaps a year or more to remove the tattoo, it’s expensive, all the ink can be taken out, get ready for needles, there’s pain afterwards, I’ll need ointment and bandages and to make sure that my clothing doesn’t rest on the area, I have a choice to lighten the ink rather than take it all off or take it all off but there might be white patches or scars and there’s a laser that can fix that problem.  I decided that I would completely remove my tattoo and not worry about the cost.  My friend went with me when I went to have the procedure done.  I was nervous but I felt good knowing that I was doing the right thing.  I didn’t have to have a tattoo to tell me that I loved Roger.

Years later, I’m tattoo free.  All that’s left is a scar on my wrist which you can barely see.  My reading tastes have changed.  Now, I read only Christian fiction and non-fiction, Devotions and Prophecy.  I’m a baptized member of my friend’s church and I’m teaching Sabbath school to the Juniors.  I love being a part of a family with God as my Father and Jesus as my Lord.  I think of Roger often and wish that he were still alive.  I sometimes, wonder, though if my life would be what it is now if he hadn’t died.

I have written the words, I love Him, at the front of my Bible.  I love Roger and will always love him but the Him I’m talking about is God.  I love Him because He first loved me.  I discovered that unfailing love of His on that night when He saved my life.

Sources:  Wikipedia; Glamour; Bible Info; CP24; Blue Letter Bible

The Aftermath

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It’s a Saturday afternoon and I’m sitting in my apartment, feeling awful–really down because Bobby’s mother got very upset with me.  She wanted nothing more to do with me because I had told her that her son who was like a little brother to me wouldn’t go to Heaven because he had committed suicide.  The incident took place yesterday when I visited her.  This was a few days after the funeral.

“I refuse to believe that my 18 year old son who suffered from mental illness isn’t with the Lord Jesus.  What right do you have to tell me that he’s going to Hell?”

“Mrs. Bradshaw, I didn’t say that he was going to Hell.  All I said was that people who take their own lives cannot enter God’s kingdom.”

“Well, if Bobby isn’t in Heaven, that leaves only Hell because I don’t believe in Purgatory.”

“Mrs. Bradshaw, Bobby isn’t in Heaven or Hell.  He’s in the grave like the rest of the dead until they are resurrected.”

“That’s enough, Abiyomi.  I’m not going to listen to any more of your hateful, judgmental diatribe against my son.  Now, get out of my house.  I never want to see you ever again.”  She marched over to the front door and flung it open, her eyes hostile as they met mine.  Pain and fury marred her pale features.

As I scurried past her, I mumbled, “I’m sorry…” and was rewarded with a forceful slam of the door.  I ran to my car, jumped in and sped off, tears streaming down my face.  I drove straight over to my parents’ home and told my mother everything.  She hugged me tightly and said, “Baby, Mrs. Bradshaw can’t accept that her son is lost.  No parent  could accept it.  It’s hard enough to deal with Bobby’s suicide.  She doesn’t want to hear that he wouldn’t go to Heaven because of it.  All you can do right now is to pray for her and others who believe as she does.”

“She hates me.”

“She  doesn’t hate you.  She’s angry and still trying to come to terms with the fact that her son took his life.  She has had a lot to deal with over the years.  You know what it’s like to have a loved one suffering with mental illness.  Your aunt Mavis was bi-polar and taking care of her took a great toll on your grandparents but they managed with God’s help and now she is living a productive life.  I never told you but she tried to kill herself when she was 13 years old but she didn’t because she said that God prevented her.  My parents got a Christian Psychotherapist to help her and a doctor to help with her medication.  It’s too bad we didn’t think of having Bobby talk to her.  Perhaps she might have been able to help him.”

“I wish I had thought of Aunt Mavis.  I could have asked her to help Bobby.”  I began to cry again.

“Hush.  Hush.  Don’t beat yourself up over this.  Bobby’s parents did their best to help him and so did his friends.  Bobby suffered from depression and it’s important to know that when a teen attempts to or commits suicide it isn’t because he or she wants to die, but, it’s an attempt to escape a bad situation and or painful feelings.”

“If Bobby’s reasons for taking his life was to escape his pain why wouldn’t God let him into Heaven?”

“Whatever the reasons, however logical it may seem to the person who commits suicide, it is still wrong.  We can never rationalize the taking of a life.  It’s tragic that Bobby felt that he had nowhere to turn.”

“I wish I had spent more time with him, talked with him, prayed with him, helped him but I was too busy with my own life.”

“Are you sure that his suicide and what happened with his mother are the only reasons why you’re so upset?” my mother asked me.  She was studying me very closely now.  “I have a feeling that there’s something else.”

She knew me so well it was unnerving at times but not now.  “It’s Bobby’s Uncle Marcus,” I admitted.  “I’m worried that he will feel the same way as Mrs. Bradshaw and not want to have anything more to do with me.”

“Do you have feelings for him?”

“Yes, I do and I believe he has feelings for me too but I’m afraid that will change when Mrs. Bradshaw tells him what I said to her.”

“How long have you two been seeing each other?”

I told her.

“How old is he?”

“Fifty.”

“He’s twice your age, Abi.”

“That doesn’t matter, Mom.”

“Is he married?”

“No.  If he were, I wouldn’t be dating him.”

“Was he ever married?”

“No.”

“And he’s not in a relationship?”

“No.”

“I hope not for your sake.  So, what are you going to do if he sides with his sister?”

I sighed heavily.  “I guess I can kiss any future with him goodbye,” I muttered and the tears began to fall afresh.  I brushed them away and got up from the sofa.  “I have to go.”

My mother’s eyebrows rose and she sounded disappointed when she concluded,  “So, you’re not going to stay and have something to eat?”

“No.  I just want to be alone right now and think about things.  Thanks for everything.  I’ll call you over the weekend.  Love you.”  I grabbed my bag and practically ran out of the house.  I couldn’t wait to get home.

I haven’t left my apartment since I came in yesterday.  I’m feeling miserable and I keep playing my conversation with Mrs. Bradshaw over and over in my head and I keep thinking about Marcus.  Bobby and he were close so most likely he too would have a big issue with the things I said.  I have to defend God’s truth no matter what even if that means losing Marcus in the process.  I wanted to believe that as an Adventist he would see suicide the same way I did–that he wouldn’t allow his love for Bobby to blind him to the truth.

327_16839_13The ringing of the doorbell interrupted my thoughts and I got up from the rug and went to answer the door.   It was Marcus.  Heart racing, I opened the door.  He looked serious.  “Hello,” I said.

“Hello.”

“Please come in.”  I stepped aside for him to come in before closing the door.   I preceded him into the living-room.  Neither of us sat down, though.  We both remained standing.   He was watching me.  I couldn’t hardly think straight and I tried not to stare at his muscular arms in the tee shirt which looked really good on him.  I looked away.

“Are you all right?” he asked.

“No,” I admitted.  “I have been having a hard time since yesterday.”

“I know.  Elaine called me last night.”

I looked at him then, my heart sinking.  “So, she told you what happened.”

“Yes.  I heard her side of the story.  And now, I would like to hear yours.”

Taking a deep breath, I told him what happened and ended by saying, “I couldn’t let her believe a lie even if telling her the truth would be painful.”

He took my hands and led me over to the  sofa where we sat down.  We sat so that we were facing each other and he was still holding my hands.  “Sometimes, we need to know when is the appropriate time to share biblical truths especially when it comes to sensitive situations as in the case of Bobby’s death.  A couple of years ago, I attended a student’s funeral.  The priest told his family and the mourners that he wouldn’t get into Heaven because he committed suicide.  Now, even though what he said was true, was it right for him to tell them that?  Wouldn’t it have been kinder and more compassionate to just celebrate how the young man lived instead of focusing on how he died.   I don’t think he should have mentioned anything about the suicide.  It was neither the place nor the time for that.  The family was already reeling from a traumatic loss without him compounding it with his insensitive remarks.  Suffice to say, that priest is no longer handling funerals and the last I heard, there’s a petition to have him fired.  Now, do you get my point, Abi?”

I suddenly felt very ashamed and I nodded.  “Yes.”

“As you know Bobby and I were very close.  There are times when I think that I should have done more to prevent his death.  Elaine blames herself because she believes that Bobby didn’t feel comfortable confiding in her and his father, Phil feels that he really didn’t know his son.  And his sister, Nicole is still in denial.  His death has taken a very heavy toll on us and we are still trying to process it. ”

“I too wish that I had seen the signs and had been more of a friend to him.”  My voice broke and tears sprang to my eyes.  He gently squeezed my hands.

“I honestly believe that Bobby could have been saved if he had had the right professional help.  He didn’t want to die.   He didn’t want to take his life.  He had mental health problems but with the right treatment and care he could still be alive today. I blame his death on the lack of support for people with mental health issues.  Right now, it’s hard to accept that he’s gone and to be told that he wouldn’t go to heaven because of what he did was just too much for her.  The best thing you can do for her right now is to stay away.”

I nodded.  “I will stay clear of her for a long as necessary.  I hope that she will find it in her heart to forgive me.  I didn’t mean to upset her.”

“I know.  And I believe what you believe and that’s why it’s so hard…”  his voice broke.  “It’s so hard to accept that Bobby is lost…”  He got up suddenly and stood with his back to me.

My heart almost burst with love for him and sorrow.  I rose to my feet and went over to him.  I walked around so that I was in front of him and I reached up and put my arms around his neck.  His arms went around my waist and he held me close.  I could feel his heart beating.  We remained like that for a long, long time.  When he drew back to look down at me, both of our faces were wet with tears.

“Since Bobby died, life has been tough but something wonderful has come out of all of this,” he said.  “I met you.”

I smiled.  “Yes.  My life changed the day Bobby introduced us.”

“I never once imagined that I would fall in love with a girl half my age.”

“I’ve always had a thing for older men.”

“Well, this older man wants to spend the rest of his life with you if you will have him.”

Of course, I will,” I cried.

He didn’t answer.  Instead, he kissed me.

Sources:  Healthy Place; The JournalNewshub

The Young Widow

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I knelt in the cemetery, my heart heavy with grief and sorrow.  My beloved had departed a fortnight ago, leaving me inconsolable.  Tears streamed down my face as I lifted my gaze heavenward and asked the Lord why He’d seen it fit to rob me of my happiness.  Why had He taken my Edgar away from me after eight months of marriage and made me a young widow with no children and soon to become homeless as Edgar’s family was determined to turn me out of the home we shared because I was a foreigner?  Oh, Lord, have mercy on me.  Let the ground open and devour me.

108 Words

Some times the Lord acts in ways we can’t understand but we have to continue to trust that He knows best.

young widow