Ania could not believe Justin cancelled yet another vacation.  It was becoming a nuisance to plan everything then at the last possible moment he would have to “work”.  Well, she didn’t think she had any place to complain at all.   He was a good man and loved her very much.  He provided a good home and she didn’t want for anything…except him.

She busied herself with the cancellations and planned to sojourn alone to beautiful Jamaica.  She stood and walked onto the breezeway of the lovely home Justin provided.  She worked too, but he was the provider and she loved him for all that he was as a man.  From the start he was constantly giving things to her for reasons or not.  And then, it increasingly became less and less in the giving.  That wasn’t the worse, because she wasn’t materialistic, but the act of kindness, even the smallest act was missing.  He was becoming aloof, MIA, so busy she had to call the office and check his schedule to see him!  Her heart was saddened.  Now on the breezeway, she felt sick and mechanical.  She had no choice but to go forward.  Justin Barnes was not a conversationalist. He was not about to hear the foolish emotional, tear jerking of Ania.  Not now, not this Justin!  He was far too savvy, too sophisticated and a man of the world to have to worry about Ania.

At that second she thought of her dad and her eyes moistened.  She faced the East with her hand held high she prayed, “Ahbanawa Yahawah, Father God…” as her dad had taught.  The rest of the prayer was inaudible.

Montego Bay was a frenzy of clamor, exotica, and calm all rolled up in one.  It was surreal, but Ania was glad for the distraction.  It was so beautiful she gasped at the richness of tropical colors of the land and the people, “her “people.  She smiled.  She freshened up and rocked a linen pale blue maxi halter dress with matching scarf head wrap.  Yep, she was feeling better.  Dinner was on the beach less than three feet from the waters edge.  She kept waiting for a wave to “lap” at her pedicured toes but it didn’t.  The moon and stars gave their light along with the torches while the sea gave the symphony…lovely.  Conversation was low and pleasant.  Ania had Jonathan Rodgers at her table, a very good looking brother with creamy chocolate skin, dreamy.  He was from the states too.  He looked intently at her mouth while she spoke as if to hang on every word.  She chatted away not realizing what was brewing was more intense than she knew.  She was just happy to be talking and someone was listening to her speak!  She finally looked up and there were his big brown eyes.  Ania was panicked and startled.  She felt her pulse race, her temperature rose and so did she!  She jumped up and excused herself and went to her room like an escaped convict.  Why?  What did she have to feel so guilty about?  Oh God, she thought!  Now she felt like a fool.  What must Jonathan be thinking of me right now?  How could I have just jumped up and ran away like a fool, like a young school girl, like a married woman!!!  Wow!  She took a shower to mask the guilt that rose up from the depths and heated a cup of raspberry tea to soothe her nerves.  She dialed home to pour her soul to Justin.  It rang and rang until the voicemail came on and she hung up, disappointed.  Although she couldn’t imagine why she was logically disappointed, but the woman in her was hurt because Justin was gone!

The morning walk on the beach was met with a solemn feeling in her “gut” and she didn’t know what to think.  Ania’s mind raced as she thought about the numerous unanswered calls to Justin, her husband of seven years next month.  How could he not return her calls?  She was a thousand miles away from home and he wouldn’t answer the home phone or his cell, nor would he call her back.  The more she thought about it the angrier she became.  Yes, he provided, yes he was a good catch as far as everyone thought.  But she worked too, so she wasn’t sitting around the house eating bon bon’s for goodness sake!  “How dare he treat…!”, and before she could get the thought from her lips Jonathan appeared with those eyes!  His face and his eyes were so kind.  The major thing was he paid attention, but she also remembered a side note that entered her mind, don’t they all pay attention in the beginning!  She laughed!  Jonathan looked into her eyes as if he could see through her and he smile, so warmly, she glowed.

They walked, and laughed and smiled and talked, hand in hand for what seemed and eternity.  She let him hold her hand, if felt right, it felt good to look into his smile when spoke and walked into the future.

Ania’s arrival home to emptiness was not a surprise it was the norm.  She stared at the vastness that used to be her whole life and wondered where was the life?  Where was the love?  The love she needed, the love she longed for all the time.  Since her return home her view of the world was different.  The colors in “their” home were not the same.  She found herself looking for something.  She concluded she was looking for something she hadn’t had in years, a husband.

Justin was looking stoic and totally in control as usual.  She stood in the door of his office having walked past the busy secretary who smiled and waved her forward.  He was on the phone with his back at the door oblivious to her presence, no longer able to feel her, their connection long gone, she stared at his back.  Justin sternly conducted his business, ended the call and turned.

Ania looked with refreshed eyes at Justin as he stared motionless, except for the expressed shouting from his eyes.  She shuddered and wondered, speculated, feared that he knew, that he had felt the moments of joy she and Jonathan shared on the island.  He used to be able to feel her emotions.  But that was before the distractions, before their connection was broken.  Now he shouted at her with eyes in his cool reserved way, which by the way annoyed the hell out of Ania.  He shouted, but with a hint of something extra this time and she couldn’t put her finger on it.  While her mind was wondering, Justin laid the law of the “land” down to her.   She stood in his presence, stunned and as his mouth moved she stared at his lips and beautifully polished teeth and found she desired to kiss his mouth.  She couldn’t hear his words anymore and struggled to hear his voice.  Finally as if a loud clap of thunder or a bucket of cold water hit her, Justin told her to go home!

Dutifully she walked away with not so much as a, “Goodbye dear, see you when you get home”, or “I hate you, you dirty bastard and I can’t stand you don’t bother coming home!”

The elevator doors opened and she walked forward, her eyes stinging with devotion, love, doubt, remorse, and confusion.  Her hand reached to press the “ground level” button and it rested into the hand of Justin’s!  He had watched her walk and followed her and was now there in her view.  Still stunned, her tears now free flowing and she didn’t care anymore, she flung herself into his chest and sobbed and soaked his neck with her loneliness and sniffed his scent to which she longed and missed so much.  He kissed her lips and told her he didn’t know the missing of her until she produced silence.  Her return was a joy.  She smiled.

Home now, she nearly skipped to the breezeway to look at the ocean and visualize the distant shores of the east.  She raised her hands as her granddad had taught her, “Ahbanawa Yahawah Thabayaahanawa, help me Father to love and respect and submit to my husband as you would have me to do.  I love this man Father and I know we are not where You want us to be, but he’s a good man in his heart.  Help me Father show us Your mercy and Your laws so that we may grow together in You.  Amen

“Amen, baby!” A resolved Justin exclaimed.  Ania’s heart jumped as she ran into Justin’s outstretched arms


Gen 29:11 And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept.






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He woke up as if someone gave him a gentle shake.  He simply opened his eyes and scanned the room without moving his head.  He had become accustomed to a careful scan of the room upon awakening since she left. When she was there he didn’t do that, he would just jump up and proceed to the bathroom.  No good morning sweetheart or anything of that nature, just a beeline to the bathroom.  He felt a twist in his stomach that had been growing into a knot for months since she left.  There was a small stream of light beginning to flow at the top of the window above the curtain line.  Every morning he vowed to push the room darkening curtains closer to the walls to keep all the morning light out, and every single day he forgot.  It was the ritual, the games he now played with himself since she left.  It seemed lately he just didn’t want to see the arrival of the sun.    The red digital numbers from the small clock on the chest of drawers screamed    6:55 a.m.  But he was not alarmed and only stared at the numbers as they slowly ebbed until it reached 7:00 a.m. and he turned off the annoying alarm.  He turned to get up and felt pain run through his body.  He didn’t used to feel so old and useless, and in so much pain at every waking moment.  The only time he didn’t feel anything was when he was asleep, and he looked forward to being asleep all the more.  There was a time when he was filled with life and zest for life because she looked to him and at him for life, he thought.  But she left and suddenly he felt what she knew all along.  He looked around the room, this time turning his head towards the place where her pillow was and he felt his eyes filling with water, stinging.  She would know what to do for him.  He would only have to linger as he was doing and not say a word, and she would know that things were not okay for him, and she would make things right.  He felt the stinging in his eyes give way to the tears and he laid there with thoughts of her and let the cascade wash him and clear some of the pain away.  He realized the shadow that was over him and causing pain was because she was not with him.  It was her and her essence, her being.  Why had he not treasured her?  What was he thinking when she was here?  He dried the tears from his face and neck with the sheet and stared at the ceiling.  He could still hear her laughter and see her smile and remember how it made him feel, so good.  If only he could hear her laugh right now.  He decided he wasn’t going to work, he just couldn’t.  He knew he was working himself up into an emotional wreck again, but he had been beside himself for quite sometime.  No one knew how he felt about her anymore.  While she was here everyone knew he adored her and there was no other woman besides her, ever.  His eyes were stinging again at the thought of her, and the spot where she used to lay her head his hand was now laying.  He remembered the day she left and was grateful to be laying down.  It always made him weak in the knees to remember that day and not be able to do anything to stop what happened.  What man wouldn’t feel sick, what man wouldn’t feel pain if he couldn’t save the woman he loved?  He missed her and he wanted to not feel pain and loss and longing.  There was some commotion outside as the trash truck rumbled down the block on their route, the neighborhood dogs serenading the trucks journey.  He listened as the truck made its way to the next block and the dogs passed the communication baton on to the next blocks sentry.  He wondered how he never paid attention to the sounds around the neighborhood.  He heard the birds not so much singing or chirping, but they sounded like they were fussing.  It nearly made him laugh.  Life is tough for all living, he thought, when you’re trying to get your point across.    The birds finished the debate and it was quiet again.  Squirrels ran across the window sill and he was staring at the ceiling.  He was missing his wife again, she had left him and he was lost without her.  He looked in the bedside table drawer and picked up his sleeping pills and pain pills.  He shuddered and placed them back on the table nearly dropping them at the sound of the scratching at the door!  What in the world could that be?  It did it again but this time came the manic and angry tone of a cat, his cat or rather correction his cat now that she left.  He strained to get up before that big oaf tore the screen door clean off the hinges!  The pain was a dull throb through the old bones especially his back and knees, but the insistent mewing of the cat gave him some pep.  There he was up and heading for the end of the bed and nearing the bedroom door and there was silence.  The cat, probably thinking, or knowing she wasn’t there left in disgust.  He chuckled visualizing the cat stomping away mewing and spitting, fur flying!  Having put forth the effort to at least let the damn cat in he proceeded to take a look around.  He opened the front room curtain and nearly passed out from the light.  Moments later he was able to see the area in the same state it was the night she left.  Her book, glasses, and tea cup neatly on her tray table next to her recliner with border lace throw.  He felt a lump in his throat as he recognized she was the only one that knew him, that really knew him and could get him straightened out with care.  She told him the truth whether he wanted to hear it or not.  He trusted her words because she read the Book and he didn’t.  There was a knock at the door and this time it wasn’t the cat.  He was motionless hoping who ever it was would go away, they didn’t, and they knocked again and gave a calling card.  “It’s me your neighbor I promised to check on you today.”  He looked at the door so quickly he nearly gave himself whiplash.  Who was this and who did they promise to check on him?  He knew he shouldn’t have called in to work today now everybody and his mama would be into his business.  “It’s me from next door, I got your cat.  Hello?”  She knocked again.   Next door, what in the hell did she want, he thought?  That cat would have to go next door instead of giving him time to get up and get going!  Now he had to chat it up with her.  He dragged to the door.  She was surprisingly pleasant and not at all what he thought she’d be once he opened the door.  Her eyes were from another world.  She smiled up at him and his heart jumped, the cat ran in the house oblivious it appeared to all that was transpiring.  It was explained if anything ever happened to “her” a promise was made to check on him on the anniversary of their marriage to make sure he was okay.  The cat had made an early morning visit so instead of waiting until the evening after “he” came in from work she fed the cat and since she saw “his” car still home she returned the cat home.  It was a good time to complete the promise as well, the explanation continued.  She noticed his gruff appearance and somber attitude and quickly decided he needed assistance.   “I’ve taken care of the cat, now I’m going to start you some breakfast while you shower and dress, okay?  I’ll have coffee too while you’re doing that.”  Dutifully he turned and headed off to the shower.  Breakfast was a delight and she sat and conversed about just about everything with only a grunt or occasional, “okay” from him.  He had to admit he felt so much better.  He called the job and told them he would be out for the rest of the week.  He noticed another call, but there was no message and he wondered if it was from him.  He didn’t have time to think about that too long because she said she had part two of the promise to fulfill and it required him going for a ride.  They drove in silence and he felt a strange sensation coming over him.  He chalked it up to the weird morning and the fact that he didn’t drive to often except to work.  They pulled up to the cemetery and they got out and walked to place where she went when she left him.  His mind was instantly mush and his eyes filled with tears and his heart filled with guilt because he wasn’t with her when she went away.  He sank to his knees and sobbed from his belly for the first time because he had never known what to do about this.  He  didn’t know “she” was gone because “he” wasn’t there.  He was so busy in the faces of his crew, his co-workers, his family, his drunken friends, anyone but her and his son.  When she became sick he didn’t even time to help take care of her, to know how serious the situation was until it was too late!  When it was time to do things for his son, he never had time, now his son was grown and didn’t have time for him.  His son blamed him for killing and driving his mom to an early grave.  He had to face the facts, and this was one fact that was true!  Now even the cat tried to help and he tried to curse him.  For the first time he prayed, he heard “her” do it all the time.  He asked the Lord to help him and not send him to hell for being the bastard that he had been and to show him what to do now.  He said he never wanted to live like that again and he wanted to love and serve Him like “she” did.  He felt good now, lighter, like he could fly.  His face wanted to smile and he was smiling and it did feel good!  He turned to tell the neighbor but she wasn’t there.  He went to the car, and she wasn’t there either.  He looked for her, and then drove back home which was only a few blocks away.  He pulled into the driveway, renewed and refreshed; he parked and got out of the car.  The cat, sitting fat and happy on the porch ran towards him.  He petted the cat and looked towards the neighbor’s house.  It was empty.




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