EUPHORIC EXHALE

A place where moments take your breath away

Finding Forgiveness


“Have we met before?” Tasha reached out her hand and placed it gently on the man’s shoulder. “Excuse me sir.”

Startled, he slowly lifted his head and looked into her soft brown eyes. He did not recognize her but found comfort in her sincere touch.

Her dark brown skin was rich and creamy; a youthful glow radiated from her face. When she spoke her soft voice danced around his ears like a soothing melody. She pointed to the empty seat next to him on the bench. He nodded for her to sit down.

“You look familiar, but I’m not sure from where.” She smiled, adjusting her body to find a comfortable place. She set her purse on the other side of her and crossed her legs at the ankles, folding her hands in her lap.

“My name is Tanner, but my friends call me Tank.” He reached an open hand out to hers. When their hands touched, an eerie feeling came over them. Tasha’s eyebrows furrowed; she pulled her hand from his. A bashful rose color splashed her cheeks.

Tank’s appearance was not easy on the eyes. He stood over six feet tall with a burly build. His features were large yet hidden beneath mounds of facial hair. His unruly golden brown curls were long and brushed the top of his shoulders. He scared most people, but he intrigued Tasha. Almost like a stray puppy found in the streets, she wanted to pet his head and hold him. Instead, she made small talk while they waited.

“I like your shoes.” She nearly whispered.

“Third pair I’ve ever owned.” Tank’s arms rested on his thighs while he stared down at his enormous hands.

“My parents didn’t have money either. I think that’s why I wanted to make a better life for myself.” She rested her hand on his arm. “I graduate from UCLA in June.”

His eyes stayed fixated on the warm imprint her fingers had left on his skin. The kindness in her eyes radiated through her entire being. He slightly moved over knowing he did not deserve the kindness she was showing him. He was the progeny of a single mom. His education stopped in the seventh grade and at times, he found pleasure in hurting others. He knew he did not deserve the kindness this woman was showing him. However, he had no place else to go so he basked in her warmth.

“What about you, Tank, are you in college now.”

His thick, deep voice had grunted before he spoke. There was something familiar about his grunt, but she pushed the thought aside to listen to him speak. “Nah, I wasn’t no good at school. My ma thought it was a waste of time. Plus she needed me to help bring in money.”

“I see.” Tasha looked down at her intertwined fingers and noticed how white they were from the strength within their grip. “My father said the same thing to me and my sisters. They listened; I did not. I guess I was the stubborn one.” She smirked.

She turned her body toward his and started telling him about her life. Tank sat up straight, listened to every word she spoke, taking it in, and making sure not to miss a syllable. She had a dedicated audience in Tank, and for some reason, she wanted to tell him about her life. “So…” she finally concluded, “I refused to let anyone tell me what I could and could not be. I fought my way out of high school and clawed my way into college.” She stopped abruptly.

“Fought and clawed.” She whispered staring intently at Tank. She inhaled deeply when she remembered where she knew him.

Tears, one by one, fell from his eyes when he realized, at the exact time she did, how they knew each other. He grabbed her hands, and she quickly pulled them away from him. Stunned at first, she did not move while her mind replayed the horrific night when their paths crossed.

Flashing before Tasha’s eyes were his large hands, and the horrible things they did to her. His wet, forced mouth planted all over her body while his large hand draped across her face. Her virtue slaughtered by his force of entry into her body. The filthy violation of his body thrusting against hers made her violently ill. His grunts and groans echoed in her ears, and her pleading screams welled up in her throat only to land against the palm of his hand. Her eyes caught glimpses of her attacker’s face. Those disturbing flashes left no doubt that the blue eyes shedding tears were those of the man who took her life.

He swallowed. He wished he could take that night back. He tried to remember the events which led to the desensitized beast he became. He  watched her swaying hips walk past the park where he slept. Anger boiled his blood when he thought about others who had opportunities while he had nothing. Years of anger welled up in a single moment forcing him to do something he had never done before. Self-pity left him powerless. He wanted to take away someone’s power. Then Tasha walked past.

Tasha scooted back on the bench trying to find a place for all of her emotions. Shock, hurt, anger, and love danced within her soul, fighting for the lead role. She wanted to hit him. Pound on him until he experienced the pain she endured that night. Instead, she slowly moved closer to him and wrapped her arms around his large body. The love she carried inside of her overpowered the anger. “It’s okay.” She whispered into his ear.

He emotionally fell apart in her arms. Each tear shed embodied the pain he had suffered as a boy. Each breath, between sobs, was his attempt at grasping for air through the thickness of sorrow he felt toward his actions against Tasha. She had suffered his same undesired life. Yet, she found the strength to pull herself out of the muck where her parents kept her; walking on her own path. He trembled when he spoke. “I covered you with my jacket. I didn’t mean for you to die.”

“I know. I saw you running away from my body and into the street. You didn’t see the bus.” She whispered rocking him back and forth. “It was a bad night for us both.” She pulled him away and smiled searching his eyes for the monster of burden he once carried within; it was gone.

A soothing, deep voice echoed through the park where they both sat on the bench. “Tasha Brandy Pierce” the voice, sweet as the wisping sounds of hummingbird’s wings, called out.

“That’s me.” She whispered. She stood and straightened out her dress. “I guess this is where He goes over my life, and I answer for the things I have done.”

Tank squeezed her hand asking once again for her forgiveness. He needed her forgiveness to cleanse his soul.

She gazed down at him. “Don’t worry, He knows you are sorry.” She leaned down and kissed his cheek. Before, she went through the gates, she glanced back at Tank and whispered, “Until we meet again.”

 

This is based on a contest where the criteria is the sentence has to start with “Have we met before?”

July 24, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

The Single Parent



 

While walking out from work this evening I thought about the endurance we single parents need to have.

When you are single with no children, you worry about only yourself and your own interests. When you are married, there is always someone to fall back on. As a married couple, you will always have a friend to ponder with, a confidant to worry with, and a partner to share in life’s daily responsibilities.

For the single parent, life is challenging in other ways. My thoughts went over the struggles of a single parent during their daily life.

In a typical day, we have a plethora of things to remember. You see, for our children we are the providers, mothers, fathers, nurtures, chef, maid, taxi driver, and quite possibly their coach. Daily we must keep up this repute to keep life running smoothly. Daily, these demands can drain the life right out of one person.

Finally, when the children are in bed and the house is quite, we jack-of-all-trades, must steal a moment’s time for ourselves to recharge our bodies, reboot our minds and keep up on our sanity meter. After all, in the morning our children will need the same attention they have demanded each day of their lives.

This morning started out strong. I woke on time. I stood in the shower with my eyes closed while the piping hot water pelted my face. I made great use of the five minutes I had before a little hand would come pounding on my bathroom door, ready to start the day.

I ironed my clothes and theirs, quickly dried my hair, helped the children dress, packed lunches for us all, and loaded up the rug-rats in the car. I threw up the taxi sign on the top of my vehicle and started dropping off talkative, energized youngens to their destinations before I headed to work. The skillful juggling of applying makeup while driving is an art that I am proud to say I have perfected.

Eight grueling hours of work while sprinkling in personal/business, phone calls at lunch did not stop there. Today would be a late workday. Of course, being the provider, extra money takes stress away in one of my other departments of expertise.

One hat off, the other one on.

After, none other than mom the chef, makes dinner, homework is corrected, last-minute projects are thrown at me (this is where my problem solving skills come in), and chores are done I can sit down and take a breath. Not a long one, just a few, going into labor, breaths and then I am back at it. Laundry, bills, blogging, last-minute clean up and then the moment I have waited for, recharging.

Of course, all of this takes place on a day without drum lessons, piano lessons, bible study, sport practices and the occasional relative that decides to pop-in unannounced.

I am in awe of the single parent. The challenges we overcome on a daily basis alone can feel burdensome. However, we know at the end of the day when we tuck the children into bed and they tell you how much they love you that the rewards far outweigh the weariness you might feel.

Today, the single parent is my hero. The accomplishments you made today with no shoulder to lean on is a remarkable feat. Pat yourself on the back, take a deep breath, and realize you are making your mark on the world, through the children, that witness your skillful execution of life.

July 19, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment