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Saturday, November 16, 2013

a reason to give thanks

 Looking  out the window  I noticed the lake was now free from any wild life.  Much to my surprise a  very thin blanket of   ice  spotted the now peaceful frigid  water.   Reminding me even more  of autumns presence and the chill that has invaded the air.  I shivered quietly, as I looked over the yard.  The clouds were grey and delivered a slight gloom across the open horizon.   The somberness of the day could not be denied.  Nature had  carried on with out hesitation.  A coverlet of frost camouflaged the once lush green  plant life that cascaded  a long my shore line,  beckoning  the onset of the winter to come.  This time of year always put me in deep thought,  and I tried hard to fight the memories that silently stirred with in me.  The coming of Thanksgiving  left with me so much more than thinking of things  to be thankful for,   it also stood as a reminder for me how vulnerable we all can be.  A personal challenge I still fought secretly alone to overcome.

  It had been several years since the break in, and yet every year briefly at this time, I find my self wrestling with emotions that  I had hoped I would be free of by now.   I wanted so desperately to move past  the anxiety that haunted me every November.  Now settled into a new home here it was again, as if only to remind me, for mere moments,  how  exposed and vulnerable we all are to nefarious acts of this world.  Leaving me  amidst  my thoughts, dragging me back  to a time where my courage and strength were met with great challenge.

I have always admired people who face their fears.  Claiming  weakness that stirs with in them and then commanding  courage,  allowing  them to put forth strength, in order  to move past diabolical situations.    I had decided it was time for me to attempt this.   Perhaps, if I allowed myself to finally except my fear and sift through my memories of that cold November morning, when I stood face to face with my intruder.  Divest of all clothing, clad in just a small robe, I might just be able to free myself of an unwanted memory.   Perhaps I  too, would finally begin to quell my own trepidation.  With the heat of anguish now beginning to fill me at an alarming rate, I let my thoughts travel backward.

It was near the end of November, a few days before Thanksgiving.  I was going through a rancorous  divorce and found myself most days almost overwhelmed.  Consumed  with raising three children on my own, two with a fatal disease and eagerly trying to earn more income by day caring for my niece.   I had just awoken my great niece  up from a nap, and was optimistic with  helping her to be bathroom trained.  While she sat comfortably on her potty chair in my upstairs bathroom, I decided I would take a quick shower next to her.  I stood under the warm spray, feeling the water run down me as I listened to her chant parts of a song we had sang together from the radio, a day earlier.  Just as I felt parts of me relax, under the tepid water, I heard a my dog Share, who was also  shut in the bathroom with us, begin to bark loudly, towards the locked bathroom door. Before I even had time to wonder what had alarmed her,  what seem to resemble the sound of a wall being knocked down, impelled my own fears.  With in an instant I shut the water off. Frantically I grabbed for a robe to put  around me,  and with what ever calmness I had available, I  insisted  my little niece to stay put, until I came for her.  Fear enveloping  me, I opened the bathroom door.  Knowing I  had to anatomize what was happening,  swiftly I moved down the hall.   Share my small Pomeranian bolted ahead of me, as  if  it was her job to investigate.  She flew down the stairs  growling.  By the time I had made it half way down the steps her barking ceased, and so did the shaking of my walls.  Just as I reached the bottom of the stair case I peered around the corner, only  to see my dog laying on her back,   silent and motionless.  Seeing her lay there, legs stiff and in the air held me captive.  Panic flooded me as I began to look up.  A cross the room from  me now  stood an intruder.   Hardly aware that I had little to defend myself  with, I began screaming  and wildly lunging toward him.  The strength that came from me was more than my own. Driven by  sheer panic that he had killed my dog, and meant harm to me and my beautiful niece, was enough for me to act in whatever way I needed,  to keep us safe  and to   survive this invasion. He fled.  

Some times our minds have a way to help us cope with traumatic events, by allowing us  to forget pieces.  While we remember the facts,  details slowly detach themselves.  I can remember screaming  and pushing.  But  I can not recall my intruders face, or if he shoved back.   I vividly remember seeing him in my house  with in feet of me.    I remember he had dark short hair but everything else about him seemed  average and faded.  I can still see the busted frame around my front door,  from using great force to enter.  My steel door hardly showed a dent from the break in, but the actual frame itself laid so shattered in pieces on the floor of my entry way that the   door could not close after his retreat. 
 My locked dead bolt had did its job in keeping my door locked, but in doing so  also managed to take the door frame down with the  fierce intrusion. I will forever see the image of my dog as she laid motionless and the way she shook after coming too.    

I have to share I shunned at the awkwardness I felt, writing this down for the first time.  Feeling that if I exposed  my story,  I may only make myself  a victim again. Or that in someway I would be scrutinized for my reactions.    For in truth,  deep down inside I do need to let go of the guilt, and the fear I have cradled inside of me for years.  Guilt because I often wondered, did I in someway draw the attention to myself, as  was suggested to me by a few people, because of my appearance and recent entry into the dating world.  Secondly fear because my intruder was never caught.  He broke in through the front door, mid morning, as though he was not afraid to be caught, and also fear because  I could not ID him.  One true thing that I had held on to over the years however, was, that I had managed to   chase  this man away, wet and clothed in only a small robe, that my dog had only been knocked out and not killed.   What could have been a thousand times worse ended  with out bodily harm to myself or my niece.

 My niece has no real memory of that November morning.  By the time her own fears drove her to seek out my where a bouts we were alone again, and waiting for the  police.  I now live in a different home.  I   have no  issues with being home alone or showering. I hang on to the fact we were very lucky that  day and try not to dwell on why it happened at all.  

 So as with every Thanksgiving I give thanks to the grace that surrounds me that morning and every morning. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

lunch with a stranger

Almost instantly I felt his eyes linger in my direction as I approached the doorway.  His  smile widening as I drew nearer.   I was not sure at first if it even was me that  had captivated  him so intensely.  Turning my head slightly to look around me,  I noticed, I was the only one he was looking at, as I stood alone in the doorway.  His attention appeared to be totally  focused on me.  Slowly I stepped forward,  his gaze followed up my thin silhouette as I moved through the thresh hold.  I could not ignore his eyes as they traveled upward slowly, toward my face,  pausing occasionally at intervals,  as though he was savoring every inch of  what he saw.  Not hesitating to linger his gaze where he  pleased.   I  casually  tossed my hair off my shoulders so it hung down my back.  A nervous smile now beginning to form on my lips as I continued to walk in his direction.   Keeping his eyes fixed on me he shifted his tall lean  body  in my direction,  almost  as though he was eagerly waiting to greet me.

 I felt remarkably confident today in my new dress and black patent heeled  sandals.  I had chosen the  black sleeveless fitted jersey frock that stopped midway above my knees, hoping to create  a  sleek combination of pretty and elegant.  Liking the way it hugged  at my thin hips while also emphasizing my trim waist.  Scooped just low  enough between my breast to allow a hint of imagination. Allowing me to draw attention with out asking for trouble.   I could not remember the last time I had even dressed up to go out anywhere that did not include my sons, and a pair of skinny jeans tucked in  cowboy boots.   For the first time in almost a month I had an afternoon to myself.  A day free of schedules and caring for my sons.  Time set a side to reward myself. Unfortunately finding a companion available did not fall into my plans.   Dressed up and feeling especially good about my appearance I had decided to treat myself to lunch out.  Having finally found the courage to dine alone, I entered a quaint little establishment I had visited once before in the past with a gentlemen caller.  I had originally hoped that the day would have  involved me spending time with a special  man in my life.  Regretfully due to conflict in schedules, and  a difference in the understanding of parental time off, that,was just not going to happen today.  So  on this sunny afternoon,  dressed  like I might have a life outside of raising children,  I ventured out alone.

Slowly I could see this new stranger part his lips to speak to me. I felt my heart quicken as I moved forward unable to avoid passing directly in front of him.  What could he possibly want to say to me I wondered.  Our eyes locked,  meeting momentarily, as I passed by at the bar, in hopes to locate a small  table near a window.  It was almost to undeniable to not sense  his instant attraction to me.   "You are very beautiful" he told me with out hesitating in a low soft voice.  As he took a step forward towards me I could feel his eyes sweep over me once  again, stopping briefly at my legs and then swiftly moving back up to my face.  I smiled shyly, unable to ignore the attention he offered, and now beginning to feel a slight blush cascade across my cheeks, while he began apologizing for speaking so forwardly.  As though he sensed my uncomfortableness with his flirtatious advance he confessed quickly it was a thought he had meant to keep to himself but  simply found me very alluring.   Now that I was with in a few feet of him I felt almost certain he could not be more than in his very early forties.  I wondered momentarily how old he thought I might be. Giving me even more reason to smile.  I felt myself grow  more intrigued by the fact, that for whatever reason, he had the courage to  be so forward.  Politely and almost a bit flirtatiously I heard myself giggle and then thank him.  Not sure what to do next I told him to have a nice day and began to continue walking to the other side of the room hoping to locate a seat.  As I stepped passed him I could not help but notice the aroma of his cologne.  He did smell remarkably good.   I fought the urge to  look back for just a second,  knowing perfectly well that would only let him feed on the fact that I might be a bit interested too.  He was very handsome.  Dark thick smooth hair covered his head, carefully trimmed just above the collar.  A slight soul patch resting just below his lower lip, which held a dazzling smile.  Yes, no doubt definite eye candy.  In  all honesty, secretly  I did find this handsome stranger to be a bit distracting, light exchanges of greetings could not be harmful, I reasoned, to my self .  After all, I was not married,  not even engaged.  No jewel bedazzled my hand in promise of anything. In fact the L-word had not even  so much as escaped once between me and my current heart interest.  

It seemed  odd to me though that  even as a mature female I could be made to feel awkward and even a bit self conscience about my appearance, hell, or even my sexuality in public, by the opposite  sex.  I had grown accustom to meeting new men and sharing light conversation.  Having re-entered the dating world 9 years ago, casual dating was a past time I had enjoyed.    I actually had become quite comfortable with first encounters.  Relationships on the other hand, well, that was a bit difficult and altogether different  story.  However, this was not the first time I had heard a compliment by someone so forward, but  it did touch me  today.  I had really hoped  I could have been sharing my parental weekend off with someone that was special to me. Someone I had been seeing and hoped was growing more meaningful.     I was desperately feeling I was missing something this weekend and quite frankly  the  attention I was now receiving helped me to see that even more.  

  Just across from the bar I noticed an open table in a corner. It seemed no sooner had I spotted the table and then it was claimed by a young couple.    My attention was swiftly drawn back to the bar where this handsome stranger stood, still somewhat drawn to me.   I stood for a mere second void of all thought.  Quickly I was brought back to the now, when his voice verified what I had discovered  myself, the place was quite full.   However, next  to him and the stool he had been sitting on, was another open chair.  His smile was beckoning me to sit down.  I was hungry and really not wanting to  stand alone, waiting for something to open.    I did what any alive, red blooded, independent single female would do when approached  by an attractive male in a hopeless situation.  I accepted his invitation to join him for lunch.


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