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Joel, president of the campus Bible study group, is finished with his speech, and everyone is now eating and socializing.
ďLandry, I want to tell you something about me. I think you deserve to know since you stood up and told everyone about how you were broken into faith,Ē I say when I approach him.
ďIíd love to hear your story sometime, Arlene.Ē
Wow. Even though Iíd figured that Landry would be receptive, heís even enthusiastic about it. He acts as though itís an honor-which, quite frankly, it is. Landry will be the first to know the deepest, darkest details of the horrifying experience that broke me to fix me.
Of course, I want to wait until Landry and I are alone, just the two of us. He agrees (not surprisingly); itís just him Iíve offered to tell, anyway.
Well, I may not be standing up in front of the entire Bible study group, but I am telling the one who deserves the most to know, the one who was broken and redeemed. And even though his situation was much different from mine, in a way, breaking makes us the same.
After the group disbands, I help Landry carry left-over food and drinks to his truck. My mom was supposed to come pick me up at 8:30, but sheís late and wonít answer her cell phone.
ďIf you want to tell me your story now, you can,Ē says Landry.
Itís just me and Landry now; even the parking lot is otherwise uninhabited by humans. So I donít hesitate, and I donít hold anything back-not even the tears that start to flow from my eyes as I reveal the shameful details Iíve hidden for nearly six years.
ďIím sorry to break down like this,Ē I apologize in regard to my involuntary tears.
ďNo, itís okay, Arlene. Your showing emotion proves to me that you really did know your mistakes and repent.Ē
Now Iím speechless. And as though getting a poet at a loss for words is completely natural, he continues to commend me.
ďArlene, you have a big heart.Ē
I look straight into Landryís eyes and know that he meant it, and the slight tremor in his voice tells me that he thought it to be a daring thing to say, as though he was revealing something to me. Perhaps my revelation inspired him; maybe the truth is contagious once itís set free.
I suppose that the first inkling of this sudden flare in my boldness was last Thursday afternoon when Grandmother Pearl invited me completely out of the blue to her house for the weekend. Of course, I was already committed to Dallas for the weekend, but this weekend is free for me, so I am spending Friday night at Grandmother Pearlís house.
Itís the first time since August that I will spend a weekend with Grandmother Pearl. She, Aunt Tana, and I had a major falling-out after I questioned some of Aunt Tanaís actions in regard to her sisterís death. Of course, everyone in my family knows that I donít make accusations without justification, but Aunt Tana is too stubborn to own up to any of her wrongdoings.
Anyway, Iím not a pacifist, but nor am I a warmonger, so Iím putting Grandmother Pearl, who supports Aunt Tana, to the test. I have little doubt that Grandmother Pearl will test me, too, although I have enough comebacks to quell all of my worries. Besides, Friday is still two days away.
But if Friday night is not what is causing this turbulent feeling inside me, then what is? Itís been two days since I spilled to Landry Waterford the details of the darkest time in my past. Could it be the thrill of having gained more respect from Landry (when I already had a lot, and placed it all on the line)? Is it the fact that five years and eleven months of concealed history is now free?
Maybe it is, but something inside me is leaning me toward believing that there is something else, something entirely different, going on.
"Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not."-Jeremiah 33:3, King James Version
"Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path."-Psalm 119:105, New Living Translation
The present and future are not about who you were in the past-rather, they are about who you are and who you will become.
"Writing is truly glorious in that an author can put on paper the words that fear denies the voice to speak."-from my short story, "Set Free"
"...What you feel is what you are;
What you are is beautiful..."
-from "Slide" by the Goo Goo Dolls
Life surprises you! And I'm talking about the good stuff, because a bad surprise is not a surprise at all, it is just shock and horror. All of these good surprises, they are rewards, and the things that happen to remind you that you matter and that you should make yourself faithful so that you can be deserving of all of life's good surprises. Every wonderful surprise in life is a chance to flourish, so grab life by the horns-but don't ride, steer instead: life's horns are life's joystick. You can handle it, because your life's horns are made especially for you. If you don't give up, all of this will hold true and life will continue to surprise you.
Aubri, a. k. a. "Leopard Lady"