Phone in hand. She laughed at a text. One hand on the wheel, the other on her phone. The radio blasting her favorite song. Her best friend in the seat beside her, heading to the shore.
Windows down, wind tossing their long locks about. Summer’s heat warmed the leather back seat, where suitcases lay.
She showed the text to her best friend, who laughed and gave advice of how to reply.
A reply that was almost finished, and almost sent by a teenage girl whose hair was tossed about, who almost made it to the shore with her best friend.
The band’s music echoed throughout the entire room, it’s melodies soothing my anxieties, while the lyrics had me singing love songs to my Saviour. My body swaying to the rhythm, and my eyes closed.
There He was. No, not a tangible figure, but He was with me. I could feel Him. His peace wrapping around me, warming me and calming me.
He whispered to me He had never left, and would never leave me. He truly loved me. I could feel Him smiling as He assured me.
No one else in my life had kept such promises.
I smiled back.
I couldn’t believe my eyes.
I tried texting her for the umpteenth time…and I was shocked when I finally got a reply from her. One I never expected (nor wanted) to see.
We met at a picnic, just the year prior- it hadn’t even been a full year yet when I got that text.
She wanted me to respect her wish to give her space…and if and when she wanted, she would reach out to me.
Tears welled up in my eyes, which hadn’t blinked since opening the text.
And my hopes of a new best friend?
With one comment on my photography post, he started talking to me. I never met him- yet- but, he had managed to slip into my life, and I didn’t mind. He swore I had met him, but his initial impression must not have been all that impressive.
He somehow crept even more into my life. He had opinions, and he “cared”. He told me his opinions of others, and I listened. He was older, wiser…he obviously didn’t want me to fall like they did.
More and more, his opinions turned into facts, and became rules.
Because, afterall, he “cared”.
Two months passed.
I logged into Facebook, and admittedly, I did a little digging around. I know we fought a little- we couldn’t be real life friends, so how could we be superficial Facebook friends?
I dug around more. New photos came up- your smile so large, your eyes beaming with a renewed happiness. I saw, too, something else that was new in those photos.
Two months passed, and already a new “friend”.
My heart panged, my head sore.
One and one-half year. Eighteen months. Seventy-eight weeks. Five hundred and forty seven days.
And it all meant nothing to you.
When her station cleaned and her kit packed away, Isabelle looked around the salon. Her station lamp was the last on lit, along with the bright neon lights in the window to inform walk-in clients they were open. She sat for a moment and pondered.
How could she have been so foolish?
Why didn’t she see through his lies and his manipulations? How could she not see how this would turn out?
But really, who could blame her? But at 16, when you are the only one capable of working, you’ll do anything to make sure your family is provided for…
Her back ached with each movement of her arms. Halfway through her 10 hour shift, and not one client had tipped. She couldn’t understand- did they not like her work? She studied so hard, kept on top of the most recent beauty trends- but it wasn’t good enough.
While cleaning her station, she wondered if she should ask her boss about more classes, but when she remembered she’d need to pay a steep fee, she pushed the thought away. She still had yet to pay him for the last class, and rent…from last month…what was she to do now?
Pain, stabbing and forceful, filled her chest. Cold seeping into her abdominal cavity, forcing life out of her with every breath. She kept her eyes squeezed shut, hoping to stop the tears from flowing. No matter how hard she tried, each memory with him returned, replaying like she was right there in that moment. Like that moment he held her hand…or brushed her hair…or kissed her cheek, so sweet, so tenderly.
Where was he now? Who would she turn to now?
She’d made in him a refuge, a strong tower, of which he proved unworthy.
It broke her.