Posts from the ‘Short Story’ Category

If your “Why” is strong enough….

You will have to forgive me and extend me a little bit of trust on this one, this is not first hand experience but I know this story is true. Some of the detail, names, place etc, have slipped my memory but the heart of this still beats strong and true inside me. Some of you know that I am in sales, formerly the sale of Cutco knives to be precise and this is a story of a fellow salesman whom I have yet to have the pleasure to meeting but his story still inspires me.

This collage student, lets call him David, had been on a fantastic selling streak, for the last 6 weeks he had hit his goal of selling $4,000 a week and he was on target to go it again. He had what’s called in the business a “grand day” set. It was the last day of the sales week he had 5 appointments ahead of him and he was only one grand away from hitting his goal for the 7 week in a row. David was confident, he knew how to sell his product, all he had to do was show up and give the demonstration like had a thousand times before. He knew how to win, the first thing he did in every demo was to not just share his personal goals with Mr or Mrs Jones but to enroll them in it. He shared his dreams of Graduating college debt free and starting up his own company with every ounce of passion he had. The truth was David didn’t hit his sales goals because he was a slick salesman he hit his goals because he had a passion that wouldn’t quit and a dream that he wouldn’t let die.

David had all the momentum to achieve his goal that morning and as he was on the way to his first appointment adversity struck and struck hard in the form of a car accident. David and the other driver where luckily unharmed but David’s car was totaled. David was faced with a choice, call all 5 of his customers, who lived all over the city, and reschedule for next week or find a way to get to each appointment. There was no method of public transportation that could get him to where he needed to go and no friend or family member to ask for a ride, so what did he do? He asked the police officer who responded to the accident to give him a ride to his first appointment. David shared with the officer his goal and dreams just like he did with his customers. The officer was so moved and inspired by this young mans determination to achieve his goals, that he agreed to drive him to his first appointment. The officer wished he could have done more for David. David assured him he would be just fine and thank him whole heartedly for helping him achieve his dream. David was now at his first appointment, with no way to get to his next appointment that was across town plus he now had to explain to a middle aged women why he had been dropped of by a squad car. Not to mention that he was walking into her house with a bag full of very sharp knives. He chuckled to himself as he walked up the steps to ring the bell.

He rang the bell and greeted Mrs. Jones. He explained to her why his face had little cuts from broken glass and also why there was a police car pulling away from her house. She was shocked and a little taken back by the whole story but she still kindly invited him in to do his demonstration. David with practiced and focus did his demo for her, sharing his passions and dreams. Mrs. Jones decided that David had a few knives she liked and purchase them from his, also she knew some friends who would be interested in learning about the products that David had offered to her. There was just one last thing David had to ask, so he took a breathe and asked if there was anyway she could take him to his next appointment. Mrs. Jones had been so inspired and moved by Davids determination that she quickly agreed to take him to his next appointment.

Mrs. Jones dropped David off at his next appointment, and David now stood in front of Mrs. Smiths house with no way of reaching his next appointment but he was still determined to do all in his power to reach his goal. This could be his last appointment of the day so he better make it the best one ever. He walked up to the door and Mrs. Smith answered. She was an elderly women, she ushered him in with a very grand mothering was and they sat down at the table. From David’s experience in this business he could tell that Mrs. Smith was not a likely customer but this did not change anything, he still did his demo just the same. He shared his goals and dreams and took the time to show her all the knives and set options but Mrs. Smith was happy with her knives and did not need anything new. David did not lose heart, he had one last thing to ask. Mrs. Smith would you be able to take me to my next appointment, I know this is not a normal request but I a determined to keep my word and reach my goal and it would be of great help to me if you could.” David waited, knowing that it was a considerable walk for him to reach his next appointment. Mrs. Smith smiled and nodded “Of course, young man, I can take you to your next appointment.”

David arrived at his third appointment in Mrs. Smiths old Buick that smelled a bit like a hair salon, thanked her repeatedly and waved as she drove away. Mrs. Brown was a single mom with a toddler running around the house. After David completed his demo she bought one of the large sets of knives that David offered her, she did a lot of cooking and knew the value of having quality tools. She seamed to be a busy women with two children in school and one at home, David was half way to his sales goal and did for a moment question if he should just call it a day and begin his long walk back to the office, but something in him said no. No, David you have done all this work, you put in all these hours. You can’t just give up, not without at least asking if she can give you a ride to your next appointment. David finished packing up his knife kit. He stood to face Mrs. Brown not in a demanding or pompous manor, but out of respect, he looked her in the eye and asked her as he had twice already that day if she would be willing to take him to his next appointment. Mrs. Brown without missing a beat said. “Joey,” her toddler “Want to go for a ride?” Joey who had been playing in the living room just behind them, popped his head up and ran over to his mother greatly excited to go for a ride. Mrs. Brown after loading Joey into his car seat in the mini van leaned over to David and whispered. “He loves riding in the car.”

Appointment number four, the Mini Van in front of the mansion. It was game time, The Van-Dean residence cast a large shadow over the street but this also did not effect Davids approach or demeanor. Again with practiced precision he did as he had done at his previous three demos that day. He told the story of why had arrived via mini van and why he was doing what he was doing. He shared his goal and dreams with the same passion he had before. And something strange happened this time, before even beginning his demo, Mrs. Van-Dean offered to take him where ever he needed to go after the demo. David was a little shock but tried not to show it. Mr. and Mrs Van-Dean purchased some knives from him, putting David 3/4 of the way to his goal, with one last appointment left. David then realized that he had to get his paperwork for the day to the office by 6 o’Clock that night or his sales would not count for this week. However he first had to complete his next appointment and he was already half way there with Mrs. Van-Deans offer to give him a ride.

David’s final appointment, this was it, one last appointment to reach his goal. He had to sell at least a three hundred dollar set to hit his goal. After arriving at the Adam’s residence David stuck to his plan. He shared the events of the day with Mr. and Mrs. Adams and also his goals. The Adam’s had no personal need of knives they actually already had Cutco Knives and loved them. David, having noticed a picture of the couple with two grown children as he entered the house, inquired about their children, how old there where and what they where now doing. After a little bragging on their children Mr. Adams had a lightbulb moment. He decided to purchase both his children a complete set of knives for christmas, which was still 9 months away. David was delighted, he had just reach and far exceeded his goal. One last challenge, he still had to make it across town which from the Adam’s house was nearly a 25 to 30 minute drive so he could turn in all the paperwork. So what did he do? He asked if the Adams could help him with one last thing to help him in achieving his goal. Mrs. Adams gladly agreed to drive him across town.

There are so many lessons in this story but the one that brought this story back to my mind today is this:

“When your WHY is strong enough, the HOW will present its self.”

For A Kiss

It had been several years since Kaylee and I had seen each other, and even though  a lot had changed, she got married, moved to the city and was a respected Lawyer, she was still the same friend I had know in grade school and high school. She was independent and head strong, not nearly as concerned with being ladylike as she was with being respected. In high school she was voted “Mostly Likely to be First Female President.” She went as far as to try out for the men soccer team and would not walk through a door if a man opened it for her. She was a bit extreme in those days. So I was shocking for me to see her husband, Gavin, open the drivers door for her, help her in, and kiss her before closing the door. Truthfully I was speechless, the Kaylee I used to know would have refused to get in the car until he closed the door and walked away from it. The craziest part was the kiss, it wasn’t a peck on the check, it was a kiss on the lips, a real, lasting kiss. One that almost makes you feel uncomfortable that you saw it.

It wasn’t until the next day when Kaylee and I where alone that I had the courage to ask her what had changed.

“Kaylee there is something that I don’t understand?” I started, looking over at her.

“And what would that be?” She teased.

I paused, wondering if I was over stepping my boundaries and then I remembered it was Kaylee I was talking to and boundaries didn’t really exist. “Why do you let Gavin help you into the car? I mean, you never would have let any one do that in high school for you.”

She smiled and nodded, “Well it started a few years ago, the door panel on the drivers side door isn’t attached very well so you kind have to slam the door and even then it doesn’t close all the way, so I used to roll down the window so I could grab the door and close it fully and thats when Gavin started to close the door for me from the outside.”

I was still slightly confused. “Why not just get the door fixed?”

Kaylee smiled again but this time with a glow on her face that spoke of a deep affection and love, she leaned in. “Really I let him help me in the car because I get a kiss whenever I let him.” It finally made sense but I had one more question to ask, but not of her.

It wasn’t until my return trip to the airport that I got the opportunity to ask the question that was now burning in me. Kaylee had gone to the bathroom leaving me alone with Gavin, it was really the first time I had the chances to speak to him alone. I turned to him, knowing this question would be easier to ask of Gavin then it had been to ask Kaylee. “Gavin, why do you help Kaylee into the car?”

Gavin turned to me, mildly confused by the random nature of my question. “Well, it was something I was raised to do but Kaylee didn’t really like that kinda stuff but then the car door started acting up, you had to slam it closed and it was easier to close from the outside then the inside so I started to close it for her.” He paused, looking down and then back to me, a vibrant flush on his checks and a huge smile on his lips. “Really I do it because when I do, she kisses me.”

For a Kiss….

Until Then

Epilogue Part 3

The news of the King’s death has reached the city long before we did.

We hear the waling and morning before we reach the gated.

The main road is lined with people who will not believe the news unless they see it with their own eyes.

When they catch sight of the King’s body, their grief overtakes them.

Many lay their faces to the ground wailing and weeping.

The mourning is also great among the army that follows us.

The King’s body is carried up the stone steps to the palace doors

That swing open as the funeral procession approaches.

Before the doors would have opened on to a throne room

of light, warmth, knowledge and peace.

The high arched windows would have allowed light to stream down the walls that were covered in tapestries with ornately carved figures set about the rare-marble throne.

If you were to approach the throne you would have had to walk over an intricately designed creation of various woods and stones that had been crafted by the greatest of woodworkers and stonemasons in the region.

Everything from the design on the floor to the carved wood and sculpted marble and stone would have drawn you to the King’s eyes.

He was the pentacle, the source and the reason for that place’s beauty and glory.

But today those doors open to a somber sight, this day heavy tapestries cover the windows that would have illuminated a glorious room.

If you had not seen the King’s throne room before, you would not now be able to appreciate its beauty that has no equal.

The room is lit by candles and the King’s throne has been replaced by a marble slab

That his body is laid upon so that all can view him.

His body is placed on a white cloth; he is still in his battle armor.

At dusk all the people in the city come and mourn at the palace doors.

The throne room is overflowing with mourners

Spilling down the stairs and into the courtyard.

Tonight all the warriors remain in the throne room,

Their grief will not allow them to return to their homes.

It may seem strange, this loyalty and grief,

But the coming of this King had changed every life in our city.

He had rescued us from disease with knowledge.

He silenced our fears with peace and ruled with perfect justice.

He had been a King of great renown and was known to the far reaches of the earth.

Tales of him where told by all who travel to and from our city and the grief over his death spread also.

I remain here day and night,

On the third evening there are still 40 of us lingering.

Tonight I sleep right next to where my King’s body lay.

As I lay drowsing, I try to recall the sound of his voice.

I find myself in a dream-like state still trying to hear him.

I thought I could hear him say,

“Come to me, come to me.”

It is so real. I feel someone touch my cheek.

I open my eyes to see my King kneeling down beside me.

“Is it really you?”

I whisper as tears filled my eyes.

“It is I. There is no more need for tears and sorrow. Come with me.”

He takes my hand and leads me to a balcony that overlooks the city.

The light of the morning grows brighter.

As we stand in silence a question burns within me,

But I cannot bring myself to ask it.

He turns to me, “Do not fear, ask!”

I respond in obedience, “Why did you save me?”

He looks deep within my eyes as tears well up in his and he speaks softly,

“Because I can’t live without you.”

There was a great celebration of the return of our King.

Shouts rose up from the people

“He is our Victorious, Warrior-King”

But to me he will always be

“My Savior, Warrior-King.” 

From that day forward I lived in the palace.

The King and I took many walks together and he spoke with me often,

But those words he spoke to me so many mornings ago rang in my ears,

for the rest of my life,

 much louder than the day they where spoken.

“Because I can’t live without you.”

Our Enemy Part 2

The cry for battle rings out from the ranks of Warriors,

The King rides to His position with sword drawn and raised over His head.

He takes position at the head of the Army.

Strangely, I hear one of His advisers say.

“Why do you ride at the front, you know better than anyone what will happen?”

I can’t make out the King answer but I see Him turn and survey His army.

He turns back to His adviser.

His answer and gesture must have satisfied the adviser.

The King is to my left and many well-armed Men and Women are between us.

The charge begins as the King’s horse rears up and comes down so firmly that I think the mountains shake.

A fierce cry arises from the enemy force but is drowned out by our charge.

We run what seems to be a great distance before we engage the enemy.

Arrow begin to strike the ground around us.

They have archers in concealed positions on the mountain to our right and left.

Our own archers send a volley of arrows back

but many hit stone and very few hit their targets.

I position my shield well and remain un-struck by the enemy’s arrows.

Many warriors fall in the charge before we truly engage the enemy.

I see, as our lines clash the stronger warriors surge over their enemy but I also see the enemy overpowering us as well.

I am not the first to engage the enemy but their force quickly approaches my position.

I am ready.

The time comes for me to perform the task I have long trained for.

A dark foe charges me from the right; I catch sight of it in plenty of time

To set my feet and pierce it through the heart.

It instantly falls dead in front of me.

I have only a moment to comprehend what I had done

Before I am called upon to strike again.

The battle rages for hours until bodies of both sides cover the field.

The warriors without armor and shields are the first to fall.

The King’s army has lost many, but they have killed many more of their foe.

The concealed archers have ceased firing

My arm has grown weary and I let my shield join the items scattered across the battlefield.

There is still much fighting but now the warriors are separated by dead and wounded.

Without my shield I can grasp my sword with both hands

and I feel invigorated to fight again.

As I fight I try to survey my surroundings.

I catch sight of a fellow warrior battling to my right.

He is not far off but he is battling against two foes.

I am going to make an attempt to assist him but as I slay the enemy between us my attention is taken from him to a horse and rider that is bearing down on my position.

It is the Prince wielding a mace.

I take a stand, sword drawn and ready.

His mace reaches me before I am able to strike.

I find my hands empty and the Prince turns to charge again,

This time with his sword drawn.

My eyes franticly search to find a defense.

He dismounts.

His face is hidden beneath the visor of his helmet.

His stature and presence frighten me to my core.

His sword is held out to his right and it sweeps over the bodies he passes.

His pace quickens the more I try to retreat over the bodies behind me.

As I do my eyes flash from broken swords to shattered arrows,

Finally I spot my lost sword.

I change direction to my right and he is now running fast on my flank.

To reach my sword in time I would have to dive, grab it

and hope to use his momentum to strike a fatal blow.

I reach out for my sword grasping it firmly, I turn to face him.

A warrior stands between us with the point of a sword protruding from his back.

The Enemy Prince has plunged his sword through my King, armor and all.

As the King stumbles back into my arms, the Prince begins shouting,

“Victory, victory, we have conquered!”

His force joins the chant and the screams and shrieks rattle though the valley.

The Kings head rests in my lap, he is near death,

But his eyes are still very alive.

I am physically drawn closer to His face as I hover over him,

He says, “Now is your time, take my sword and slay the beast.”

Without hesitation and with singular purpose

I rise, take the King’s sword and approach the Prince.

The King’s sword is not as heavy as mine.

It feels as a whip made of a willow branch, but I have no doubt of its strength.

The Prince turns to mock me, but I am ready.

His turn comes straight into the blade.

His body falls at my feet and his head near it.

The shouts stop and the silence rings out.

I return to my King but he is gone and I remain by his side.

I take no notice of my surroundings until a fellow warrior touches my shoulder and helps me to my feet.

While twelve other warriors gently and respectfully lift the King’s body,

We begin to make the long journey back to our city,

carrying him in honor as a victorious King.

I stay by him, the whole march homeward.

I am not rebuked for being in a place of such high regard.

The long and grueling journey is being made even more wearisome by our grief.

Battlefield Part 1

As the  battlefield rises into our view, we mount the last hill on our path.

When each man scales the final steps to the summit of that hill they freeze,

Some in shock of the army that seemed to be swarming in the far end of the valley

 Which we were to enter, others in awe of the places beauty.

A trumpet sounds and recalls the memories of the dawn of this day.

 

I had been standing outside my family’s thatched roof home when

The call for battle arose from the Royal Palace.

Then all the warriors who were ready and willing assembled.

Some were old and seasoned,

Others were young and timid.

Then there I stood,

Ready to do battle with our enemy,  

And believing that I was prepared to do what was necessary.

 

The march for the battleground began not long after we assembled.

The journey ahead was long and our enemy was also on the move.

As we marched we could hear the sound of the King’s attendants.

They chanted, singing and proclaiming,

With horns, cymbals and stringed instruments.

  Some of the warriors joined in the song,

Others marched along quietly.

Then I sang with the chorus

As I joined in I felt courage fill my heart and strengthen my arm.

 

The armor of the warriors was as diverse as the people.

Men and Women marched united in rank.

The fully-armed warriors lead the march.

They wore helmets, breastplates, belts and shoes.

They carried shields and swords;

A few had horns and wore long cloaks.

Some had full armor and many only pieces.

Then I came,

I had my sword by my side,

I had been trained to use it and had drawn it many times

But never in battle.

My arm was strong to wield it and not hesitant to strike.

I also carried my shield on my back,

It is a priceless gift given me by my father.

It has been passed down from generation to generation and

Now I carry it with honor and respect.

My helmet and breastplate glistened in the sun

And a well worn but still sturdy leather belt hung at my waist.

My feet where protected by shoes,

Not the sandals I have worn most of my life,

But shoes with thick soles and a covering of leather and metal.

 Behind me there walked many warriors who where unarmed and already weary.

Great numbers look as if they were already wounded.

 

The pace of our march remained steady and more grew wearier.

The battle ground was still a great distance away.

As midday passed the King left His position at the head of His army to come and

encourage His people.

He rode on a white horse;

His armor is the best constructed and most glorious of all the warriors.

In battle gear our King was mightier and more fierce than any man

That ever had entered a battle.

In battle He would charge the enemy lines and

Drive them back with the sound of His coming;

Yet every child that sees His face

Runs freely into His waiting arms.

He is a father, grandfather, brother and dear friend to many.

The movement of the men around me brings my mind back and

I am enveloped with the sight of an army of black figures, knights

That all swarm and surge around another figure at the rear of the force.

My eyes cannot see who it is but I know it is their Prince.

My eyes turn to the mountains which form this valley-battlefield.

For all the darkness that valley contains, it’s imposing beauty gives me courage.

We continue down the hill into the valley and prepare ourselves for the long-anticipated battle.

A Dying Man’s Letter

While digging in your back yard you find an old bottle capped with a wax sealed cork, you hold it up to the light and see that there is a piece of parchment inside. You bring it inside and after some curious pondering you brake the seal and unroll a aged piece of parchment, the edges are yellowed with time but the ink still stand out clearly on the page. 

Jennifer, My Sweet Jennifer,

As I sit here writing what will be my last thought I do not wish to change anything that led me to this place. I lament that I am not a more learned man that would not have had to stand and make my sacrifice this was. My only and truest regret is that I have left you the harder path of faith in my love, where I have no doubt about your love, you must remember and believe in mine. I want you to always know that as I face the final chapter of my life my thought are wholly on you.  I do not know how hard it will be when I am gone but I do hope that knowing these things will help you through the long and dark nights that I regret are before you. If I could some how change this sacrifice without losing our victory I would gladly do it, if only to see you, once more, before I die. All I wish to leave with you is all the love I would have given you in a lifetime together.  I would have kissed you every morning as the sun rose and everyday I would have reaffirmed the vow I gave to you. I would daily have gotten lost in your eyes and let only you find me. Your voice would be the only music I could hear in all the world; your laughter my sunshine and your smile the diamonds in our night sky.  I would hold your hand and walk with you in the sweet evening air and would whisper the words of love when the moon sailed in the heavens. In the darkness I would hold you and keep you safe until morning came. I will always remember how your eyes sparkle as a smile blooms on your face. I will always be able to hear your laugh as it surrounded me in light. I can smell your hair after you have walked in the forest. I know your love and will never forget it, even in eternity.

When you see the sunrise know that I have painted it for you and when the moon rises know that I have sent it to you. The stars are a smile on my face and the rain are my tears for your pain. When you hear the thunder crash it is a laugh to remind you of happiness. When the wind blows around you it’s me reaching out to you. The whisper on the wind is a song I sing for you. The fog that closes in around you are my arms of protection and comfort surrounding you. The butterfly that lands on your shoulder is a kiss from me. The deer that watches you is a sign to remind you of the better times. Have not doubt about my love for you it is everything that is true. I am always sending my love to you. Watch, listen and remember, my love for you has never changed.

Broken Ribs and A Broken Heart

I laid alone in the hospital bed, trying to breath in the least painful way. My right hand in a cast to hold my fractured bones in place but nothing much could be done for my broken ribs except pain killers that stopped working hours before I could receive my next dose. My lip was beginning to scab over and the three nights I had already spent in the hospital under guard for my protection had not afforded me much sleep.

My mind was consumed with the mere minutes that  had placed me in this state. My attentive, kind and gentle, actor boyfriend of nearly eight months had come over to my apartment; not as himself but as the heartless violent and jealous thug he had been loaning his face to for a film.

He had flung my front door open with a crash, a framed photo of us at a Red Carpet event smashed to the ground and glass shards spraying across the floor. I rose from the couch as he shouted.

“Why didn’t you answer your phone?” I reached down to the coffee table confused and unsteadied by his demeanor and actions. He shouted again, knocking my phone from my hand. His voice rang threw me, vibrating my very being. It felt like his voice had grabbed the house and shock it like a snow globe and everything was flying around me, the floor under my feet was gone, the furniture swirled around like debris in a storm and his hand flew at me like an arrow toward a target.

His hand found its bulls-eye as it railed across my check and to my surprise I found gravity again and struck back with a balled up fist, it met solidly with three sharp snaps, my recoil was instant as was the understanding of what happened.

His eyes burned with molten fire as he stepped toward me, I hurried to back away and tripped, falling to the ground. Unable to get at me with his hands he kicked at me with his heavy boots finding resistance against my right side. I kept trying to back away and regain my footing but his second, third and fourth kicks landed with cracking exclamations. I cried out only to find more pain in breathing. He stopped kicking and I hoped he had regained himself but when I found his face his fury had only increased.

He grabbed me by the arm and jerked me to my feet. “Stop, stop, please.” I pleaded with him. He shock me by the arm wrenching tears from me.

“Just answer the phone and I won’t have to do this.” He growled at me. His voice again shacking me to the core. I freed my arm, having learned from my previous error, I struck out at his nose using the heel of my hand, breaking it with minimal effort. His hands flew to his face and blood appeared between them.

Without hesitation I ran toward the door of my apartment and feel into the arms of my curious neighbor investigation the noise of Garrett’s rampage. He was the one who had brought me to the hospital. I don’t know who had set it up but there where two very large security guards stationed in the hall by my room since I had been wheeled into my room.

The only visitor I has was my nurse who would check on me every couple of hours. Thus far in my stay I had only had two nurses, one in the day and the other at night. Rebecca, my day nurse, was not hardened by years of this job like the night nurse was, Rebecca from the first moment she saw me lying in that bed, with dried tears and blood on my face had a look in her eyes of “you poor girl”. I remember how gently she spoke as she cleaned me up and when she had gotten all the blood of my face said “What a pretty lady we have here.”

I couldn’t look her in the face that first day I was her. It wasn’t until she was almost off shift that first day. She was about to leave my room when she stopped and turned to face me. “Its not your fault.” I turned my head toward her and she repeated. “Its not your fault.” She walked over to my bed and took my broken hand in her’s “No one can blame you, no one will blame you.” I looked up at her with tears in my eyes. How could she have know, that I had been blaming myself for Garretts actions since he first walked into my house that day, how could she know what I felt but she did. My face and eyes questioned her. She sighed and pointed to a small scar on her check, “For three years no one told me this wasn’t my fault, just like this,” she gestured to the cut on my lip and my injured hand. “Isn’t your fault.”

I hadn’t noticed it before but the scar on her check was not the only one she had, there where small circular scars on her forearms and another darker scar just under her ear. She knew perfectly what thoughts where going threw my mind because she has lived with them. I was still discovering them. I didn’t know how to thank her besides looking her in the eye but as she patted me on the arm we both understood what the other wasn’t saying.

In the next few days it was clear to me that I had become the talk off the floor and that my story had hit the News with full coverage. I had been worried that reporters and people would be crawling all over the hospital trying to get there scoop but besides the normal hustle and bustle of a hospital my floor stayed quiet. It was clear to me from the looks on the other nurses faces what they thought of Garrett, I wished I could have told them they had it wrong but with every breath I took I knew they where right.

It had only been about an hour since Rebecca had checked on me but something was different in her demeanor as she peeked her head around my door, almost like she hoped I was gone or asleep. When she caught sight of me she stepped into my room and closed the door, and pumped a dob of hand sanitizer into her palm, as she always did. Normally she would ask me how I was or if I needed anything or at least tell me what she was going to do. But this time she just walked up to the bed and started to fuss with my IV bag like she was avoiding something. She didn’t seam the type to run out of words. Breathing was painful enough for me that I didn’t feel in anyway eager to speak so I waited, hoping the silence would not continue indefinitely.

She breathed out pointedly, “You have a, visitor,” using the term like it didn’t truly suit the moment. “HE is waiting at the nurses station.” Her dramatic “HE” was not lost on me. I didn’t move, or look away from her. I didn’t know what to do. Four days ago he was all I would have wanted or needed for a visitor. He had always been the perfect boyfriend, asking nothing of me but my company and silly conversation. He had never raised his voice in my presence much less yelled at me. He treated me like I was a porcelain doll. I asked him to play one-on-one basketball with me once but all he would do was pass me the ball and kind of stand in front of me. He told me later he didn’t like the idea of battling with me, all he could think to do was protect me.

Rebecca’s voice broke in on my memories. “I’ll tell him to go away.”

I raised my arm to stop her, “No.” but the motion caused me to grown.

She stepped back to my bed. “You don’t have to see him.”

I held my response telling myself to remain still. The words came slowly and deliberately. “I will see him, but can one of the security guards be in the room please.”

“They both will be.” She stated.

“One will be enough.” I paused as she consented to my demand. I looked away from her. “I’m ready.” I told her, she hesitated for a moment and then I heard her turning the door handle and a muffled conversation in the hall. In another moment a large muscular black man in a security guards uniform entered my room and stationed himself at the foot of my bed facing the partly open door.

His figure seamed to fill up the before empty room, the ceiling felt like it had fallen to be within inches of his head and his shoulders cast a shadow across the length and width of the room. His arms where crossed over his chest and the sleeve of his shirt that  boar the emblem of his employer was stretched so tightly across his biceps that it look like it would burst. His muscles rippled as he stood ready to respond to any threatening gesture.

I wondered what Garrett would have to say or do. As I struggled to keep my face from showing all the emotions that tramped across my heart, I noticed the security guards eyes. His head was still facing the door but he was examining me out of the corner of his eye. His eyes snapped to the door as it creaked open. I fought to keep my eyes on the security badge on the guards left arm and slowly counted one, two, three then I slowly turned my steely eyes on him. I breathed in with a half gasp.

He had black and blue rings around both his eyes and the bridge of his nose was swollen and discolored. I almost forgot that I had hit him. In that first moment I surge of pity filled my heart but then reality hit me with shooting pains thru my side. I remembered back to the first time we meet, how all the sounds and people just melted away and how we talked for hours. I could still see his smile and his eyes and smell his cologne when I remembered back to that night. He had a way of turning the volume of the world off when I was with him and for a split second he had done it again.

His boots clicked on the tile floor as he slowly stepped forward, looking from the security guard to me, Garrett laid his hand on the back of the chair next to my bed with a question in his eyes. I looked to the security guard, who’s head tipped down in a half nod as he glared at Garrett with intensity in his face. I noted Garretts movements, they where slow and deliberate, leaving no room for a misunderstanding of intention and with a distinct look of fear and passivity. He sat leaning forward with elbows on his knees and hands clasped in front of him.

“Anna.” He almost whispered. I closed my eyes, his voice pierced me, how sweet it used to be, it was the perfect sound but now it was like acid in my ears. “I know I could have sent someone, else, to tell you what I’ve come to say. But I would have regretted it. I don’t want to hurt you, more, if that’s even possible after what I’ve done.” He took a breath and I forced my eyes open doing all I could to hold my pain inside. He continued with a very business like tone. “I paid off your apartment and its yours now, you can keep it or sell it, its yours. The same with the car. I promised you those and I will not take them back.”

I was confused, he had promised when he moved me into that apartment that I would never have to worry but I didn’t imagine he had meant now and it was truly the last thought on my mind, but before I could process this he continued.

“I took my stuff out so that you wouldn’t have to face me or be reminded of me after today.” He paused looking down at his feet. When he spoke again his words sounded like his voice had thrown a net over them as they passed his lips. “I understand what I’ve done and I can’t take it back no matter what I do, but it will never change how I feel about you. I won’t forgive myself for losing you this way. I’ve become the thing I hated in my father and now so much more in myself.” He stopped again to find composer. “I started anger management classes and I’m taking a break from acting.”

I knew that he had at least three more months of filming to do for his latest film. How could be take a break now, acting was the only other thing in his life besides me. He wasn’t a quitter, he always finished what he started. He finally raise his eyes to meet mine and looked me in the eye for the first time since he had attacked me. “But it will never be enough, to forgive what…” He looked away as his eyes filled with tears. “There is only one thing I dare ask of you.” He raised his eyes back to mine and I tried to hold his gaze eager to know what he would ask but my heart pulled my eyes away.

“What is it?” I mumbled unsure of my own voice.

“Talk to me, like you used to, just this one last time. Don’t hold back, but please, let me hear your voice. One, last, time.”

I closed my eyes and laid my head back on my pillow. “Do you remember when we first meet?” I paused waiting to hear his reply but there was only silence. I looked over to him and he nodded unable to speak. “I was never afraid, when I was with you, never, not even once. All the times we pushed our way past crowds of people or appeared together on TV or anytime or place, I was never afraid, Never, never.” I trailed off. Still unable to look at him for more then a few seconds. “I don’t know what to do now, when I look you in the eye all I see is the fury in your face when you broke down my door and attacked me.” As the last words crossed my tongue I heard a squeak as my body guard shifted his weight and raised himself up to an ever more domination stance. I looked over to Garrett who hunched over more in submission to the gesture.

“I can’t trust you anymore but I don’t know how to stop loving you.” My voice quaked and a few tears escaped my eyes to roll down my checks. “I want to be safe again but I never will be with you.” I could fell my words like blade as they drove themselves into Garretts heart and my tears came in steady streams. I looked at Garretts face one last time before he rose and left my life, the marks I left on his face would be gone in a matter of time but the scars of what his anger had done would be evident on both our heart forever.

******

When I returned to my apartment a few days later, I was like he never existed. All his things where gone, the photo that had fallen from the wall was replaced by a picture of my alone in England before we meet. I went into the bathroom and discovered all his things where gone, the blue towel he had brought over so he could use my shower, his razor, toothbrush and hair gel. They where gone from the medicine cabinet, the space filled with Band-Aids and lotion. The leather bag he had used to bring over his things was gone from under the sink. Altho he had never stayed the night with me, he had liked to get ready at my place, he used to say it was because he hated to be away from me anymore then he had to.

I went to the kitchen, his special mug from his college futurity left an empty space on the mug tree, the pile of scripts and letters that used to overflow the basket at he center of my table was gone and a single envelope lay in there place. I opened it. On top was the title to my car with a sticky note, reading ‘Sign here and notarize’ A similar note was on the second sheet, this one was the deed for the apartment. I laid them back on the table.

He was gone, truly gone from my life. I stopped, wondering, there was possibly one thing he had forgotten. I went to my closet pushing my clothes aside and knelt down in the floor. I reached back to the darkest corner of the closet and pulled out a small suitcase and gently placed it on the ground in front of me, like it held some fragile relic of ancient times. I held my breath as I pulled back the zipper and peeked into the darkness. I slide my hand down to the bottom and my fingers where engulfed in a soft fabric. I gripped and slowly pulled out a worn blue sweatshirt. I cradled it in my hands, raising it up and burying my face in it. I rocked back and forth sobbing into the last piece of Garrett that I had. My brain knew that his cologne had worn off month ago but my longing heart brought back the scent from memory.

I cried into his sweatshirt until I had not more tears left then I slipped it over my head and let it wrap me up in comfort like his arms used to and I laid down on my bed completely ignorant of the world that was rushing past me just outside my walls.

 

Note: This is Fiction, and in now way is it based in anyway in truth.

Until Then…