Voices (Chapter 4)

30 03 2009

 

Hunter’s phone rang, and on the other end was Trish.

“I’m on the way, and please forgive me for being late.”

“There is nothing to forgive, and take your time. I am not going anywhere,” Hunter replied.

He and Trish had been having “meetings” for more than three months, and she had never been on time. There was always a last minute issue that needed her attention.

Hunter glanced through the window, and watched couples as they walked by, some laughing and some pressing their bodies close to each other’s. He longed for that relationship with Trish, but was willing to wait, because he was sure she wanted that too. He must have been in really deep thought, because he did not see Trish enter the restaurant.

She sneaked up behind him, put her hands over his eyes and kissed him softly on his cheek. He knew it was her.

“You made it and only 20 minutes late today,” he said teasingly.

 “Sorry, Leah finally had the melt down we’ve been waiting on and I needed to be there to get her through it.”

 ”I’m glad she has you Trish. I can only imagine what it would be like to be 55 and dealing with such old wounds.”

 “I know. Can you imagine going through that hell for 20 years? I know it’s probably too soon for any real healing to have taken place, but I really thought Leah would be further along by now. The thought that she’d even consider going back to that animal really shouldn’t have surprised me.”

 Hunter eyed Trish as her shoulders slumped forward.

 “I’ve seen it again and again, and still to watch someone go through the stages of loss rips my heart out.”

 Hunter reached across the table and covered Trish’s hand with his own. The gentle squeeze gave Trish what felt like an electric shock. It shot straight up her arm and caused what she was sure was a visible blush. She raised her face and looked straight into Hunter’s tender gaze…

 “You know Hunter, I’m so happy to know you, you really are a great man, strong, confident, caring; you aren’t like any of those men that my clients face and I’m just happy knowing that you are who you are!”

Still blushing, Trish extended her hand to Hunter’s face.

“Well, I guess it just goes to show my parents did a fine job. But Trish: how long have we been friends? You know that I’ll never fail you – never – in anything! Whatever you call on me to do, I’ll do it gladly for you.”

She didn’t know how to respond, so she didn’t and shifted the conversation.

“You never mentioned how that job interview turned out.”

“It didn’t,” was his quick reply.

“Oh, I’m sorry, Hunter, I was hoping this one would be a yes.”

“Well, Trish, I didn’t give them a chance to say yes, or no. I called and canceled the interview.”

Trish looked stunned which shifted to disappointment as it hit home what Hunter had done. Hunter raised a finger to her lips to stop the outburst that was imminent.

“Hear me out Trish. I looked at the resume you did for me and realized there were a lot of skills that I was not making use of. I’ve decided to start my own company, which is what I wanted to share with you today.”

Hunter’s gaze held Trish’s intently.

“You can’t imagine how comforting it is to know that,” Trish replied. “Hunter, the businessman. Has a nice ring to it.”

At that moment it was as though they had been transported. The energy in the room was palpable, but no one else seemed to be aware of the fire that was building. Hunter leaned forward and brushed his lips across Trish’s. The softest, sweetest kiss Trish ever remembered been given. Even though their lips seemed to barely touch Trish could feel the heat emanating for Hunter’s body. The warmth was so consuming that Trish leaned in for more…

Even though the food and ambiance in the restaurant was always fantastic, Hunter’s company made it especially indescribable tonight. It was almost as if he pulled out all of the stops for tonight. He looked good, he smelled absolutely heavenly and, and THAT KISS!

He talked with confidence and excitement about the decision to start his own business. His eyes told her of his desire for her, and he knew how she felt about him.  Didn’t he? What am I waiting for, Trish thought?

…..…

Trish was standing by the kitchen bay window, drinking her second cup of coffee and smiling at the squirrels’ playfulness, as she twirled the ends of her hair. Her thoughts changed to her date the night before with Hunter, when she heard the footsteps of the first resident to the first group breakfast of the month. This would be Leah’s first and Shelia’s last.

“We talk about what domestic violence is, how it effects us, who commits such a despicable act and what we need to do as women to remove ourselves from the situation,” Sheila expressed to the attentive group.

Trish looked around at the faces of this band of women who had yet to claim their strength, who had yet to face their truths, and who had yet to find their voice.

“You are in the right place, doing the right thing, at the right time, and don’t let anyone tell you differently, and that includes yourself,” Sheila told the small group.

Leah listened intently as each woman around this large kitchen table shared with each other how they heard about “Hope House”. She knew the details of her life would have to be on the table like the breakfast and orange juice they were all sharing. When it came to her, she swallowed hard, and after more than 20 minutes of sharing domestic violence stories at the hands of her husband of more than 20 years, and father of her four girls and one son, Leah was emotionally exhausted.

Trish had heard plenty of stories in her seven years as director of “Hope House,” but had never seen anyone share their lives in such a compelling manner. Leah had a gift, and everyone knew it. After group was over, everyone crowded around this little fragile woman, with a big heart and an even bigger spirit. A new energy had emerged, in the body of someone so totally unsuspecting.

Leah felt alive, she felt relieved, almost as if she had lifted a veil, or removed a seemingly immovable burden. Her story and her energy became the mighty river through which every woman endeavors to travel. With tears in her eyes, Leah declared, “I feel free.”

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