tales2apoint

…stories and poetry to touch, teach, & turn the heart toward truth.


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Story of Hope, Chapter 11

A soft sniffle broke through Olly's weighty thoughts as he walked with Nina away from Jamin. He looked down at his daughter's lowered head. In the corner of his eye, he noticed a gloved hand reach quickly and silently up to wipe something from her eyes. Nina was crying. His heart sank as he realized what he'd just done.

Why hadn't he even considered Nina's thoughts and desires during his exchange with her young friend back there? Did she think she was in love with this young man? Why hadn't Nina or Monica told him about Jamin? Why was Nina meeting with him in the streets after dark? Was their rendezvous really as innocent as they'd both claimed? He was not prepared for a teenage daughter! He was still very numb to the idea of Nina being sixteen years old. She was only a little girl in his mind, in his heart.

What would Monica be saying right now if she'd been privy to his calloused response toward the polite young man? He could see the disgust in her eyes now, and hear the criticism she would be hurling at him for not caring any more about his daughter's feelings. She was one to talk.

He could hear Monica's incriminating words from not even an hour ago proclaiming the severity of his absence. With fresh conviction, they came ringing back to his ears, and his heart sank deeper. Should he be keeping these two young hearts apart? Was he replacing his absence in Nina's life with anarchy? Did protecting Nina have to look this way?

Olly had already severed fellowship with his wife this night. He didn't want to lose his daughter as well!

Coming to an abrupt stop, Olly turned toward Nina and looked gently into her eyes. “Were his words truth?” he asked her before he lost his nerve.

Trying to look strong, she nodded, “Yes, Daddy.” There was no deceit in her face.

“And you feel the same way about him that he does about you?”

She nodded, hope growing.

For good measure, and to lighten the mood, he asked with a twinkle in his eye, “And you really are sixteen? That's not just in my imagination?”

She managed a small laugh, and rolled her eyes. “Yes, Daddy, I really am a big girl now–believe it or not–and yes, I like him very much. Will you just give him a second chance before he rides away and I may never see him again?”

Now he felt like crying, but he gave a slight nod, and looked behind them to where Jamin and his ride were clodding away. “Young man!” he called.

The clip-clop of the horse's hooves paused on the hard surface of the street, and Jamin's head spun in their direction. “Sir?” came the uncertain reply.

“I…may have spoken a bit in haste. If the two of you would like a few more minutes together, perhaps you could walk my daughter home. I will meet you there.”

Still looking at Jamin, Olly squeezed Nina's hand, which was still in his, then turned–head whirling–and started home. Before he rounded the corner of the street, he turned to look back at them once more, and smiled–just a little bit–when he saw Nina running toward Jamin's glowing face.

There wasn't much to compare in this world to the joys of young love.

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Story of Hope, Chapter 9

In the time succeeding a serious conflict, the emotions left mangled in its stay are more complex and abundant than most humans are able to manage in a healthy fashion. This was certainly the case for Olly. How could his volatile interaction with Monica–which had just come to an extremely abrupt end–have gone so poorly as to have all but ended their entire twenty year relationship?

What had Monica done to him? What kind of monstrous things had she convinced herself to believe about him? How would he ever reconcile this betrayal–this lie?

There was little that proved to be more disabling to Olly than when someone simply didn’t listen to his words–or believe him if they did. He sought to be an honest man. Monica should have known that. Instead, Monica seemed to have rebuilt a very mangled version of herself in his absence, and had justified the complete removal of him from her new construction plans. He felt crippled by her rejection.

While she had been spending her years creating a world for herself without him, he’d been building one with her as his corner stone. He knew their marriage hadn’t been what either of them had dreamed about in the beginning. Over the past several years, since he’d become a sailor, there had been little about their marriage that had even seemed like a marriage. He knew this.

Aside from the rare letter and his times of leave, they never saw each other. He knew he’d been a lousy husband, but that had only spurred him on in his dreams of creating a better life for them. He’d held so long to the dream that things would get better, that he simply took it for granted. He’d never considered that Monica might not be there to live out those dreams with him.

They were dreams he’d dreamed for her as much as he’d ever dreamed them for himself. He’d saved his money year after year, every penny he could, to one day deliver his family together to a new place–a new quality of living. Monica wouldn’t have to worry about surviving anymore. She wouldn’t have to be alone without him again, like he knew she had silently desired for so many years.

That was something about Monica that he’d always admired. She rarely complained. He knew she had been unhappy all these years apart. For him, that had gone without saying. He apparently had been assuming blindly all along that she was holding on to his dreams as much as he had been. Though, looking back, he couldn’t remember ever sharing those dreams with her. She’d never known. She still didn’t.

He’d planned to come home in a grand fashion, swing her swiftly off her feet, and carry her off into the sunset. Instead, he’d come home and thrown her fragile world deeper into the darkness and bitterness she’d chosen for herself.

The reality of what she’d done came back to him with renewed freshness, now, and he began to feel the true gravity of what had taken place in his absence. He understood that she’d assumed it was a similar lifestyle of unfaithfulness that had carried him along all these years, but any man on his ship could attest to Captain Olly’s abstinence. It was a matter of regular discussion and scoffing among them. What sailor didn’t have whatever pleasure he desired? This had been the way his shipmates had seen things, and their lifestyles made that very evident–as did their general dissatisfaction with those lifestyles.

He’d been as honorable as he could have ever dreamed to be, and this was how she repaid him?

No. He wouldn’t allow himself to go down that path. Bitterness on Monica’s part had brought them much of the way to this place. His own bitterness would be of no benefit.

He needed to figure out how to fix this. He had to get his wife back! It was not over.

Oliver took to the streets, determined to prove to Monica the depth of his love and faithfulness. His reaction toward her had been strong and full of hurt, but his love and devotion remained unchanged, and she needed to know this. His mind was racing to think of where she might have gone. His heart was aching in its desire to know her love once again. How would he tell her? How would he show her the truth? What if she still didn’t believe him?

He was becoming a fool for her, and he felt like a young man again–trying to woo the woman he loved.

But why? Why did he love this woman who had betrayed him? What did Monica possess that was worth his love and devotion? What was his reason?

Was it the length of time she’d waited for him? Was it the fact that she’d cared for their daughter in his absence? Was it her beauty that smote him or was it the fact that she didn’t want him? Was she just some conquest to him, like the seas he’d sought to master?

With ease, Olly reasoned away each of these thoughts, and found his way to the true reason he sought her. It was because he loved her. That was it! That was the reason. She hadn’t earned it. She may never deserve his love. She may never even accept or reciprocate his love, but he still loved her. He truly was becoming a fool for her, and it was perhaps the most liberating state of being he’d known.

Olly smiled amid the gloom of his heart at losing his love. He hadn’t just lost her tonight. He’d lost her many years ago, and it had taken him this long to discover it. He realized again that he’d become a fool in more ways than one.

Olly smiled, though, because he now saw the truth as it was for the first time. He knew also that, by seeing the truth, he might actually find a way to embrace it and allow it to change him–to change them. Now that he had the truth, he could show it to Monica. She could see it as well!

Fully consumed in his hopes, he picked up his pace and began toward Mrs. Townsend’s house. That was where she would be. That was where he must go.

He never made it, though, because what he saw next stopped him still, and once again changed his life forever. He stumbled upon the sight as he nearly ran around a corner onto a new street. There, across this new street, just below a glowing streetlight, stood his daughter–his precious Nina–wrapped in the arms of smiling young man.


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Story of Hope, Chapter 5 – part 1

Nina was growing. She was three inches taller than when she’d last hugged her father. Her mind was filled with truths that completely redefined her view of the world. Her heart was filled with emotions that she had never experienced in such extremes before. She was becoming familiar with emotions like hate and bitterness. The spite she held against her mother grew each day. At the same time, new emotions of attraction and desire were beginning to bud in her bosom about a boy, named Jamin, who was taking up more and more of her thoughts.

Nina was changing. She’d experienced more of life’s rugged truths in the last year, than in the rest of her life. It hurt.

Life had never felt so heavy, so sad, as it did right now. Her heart hurt. She was bearing a burden for her mother that she should never have been expected to bear. It wasn’t right. Her mother wasn’t right.

Nina wasn’t right. She was starting to wonder what right was these days.

Ever since that night in the dingy shadows of a broken lamppost, she’d been different. How was she going to keep living like this? How would she survive? Even the things that she’d once loved to do seemed like a challenge. She couldn’t focus. She couldn’t function properly. Everything was too hard. Even eating was a chore.

Nina tossed the fresh apple she’d just bought to the ground. She chided herself for being so wasteful, but what was the use? Who would know? Who would care?

It was market day again, and Nina had left with two wrinkled potatoes, some rubbery, wilted cabbage, and a half-eaten apple. Jamin wasn’t at his stand this week, just his uncle, Nathan. Nina had been too distracted by herself to even notice Nathan watching her–between helping his customers–trying to catch her eye. He was a kind man, she knew, but she had little interest in talking to anyone this morning. She wasn’t even sure if Jamin could have cheered her up this morning.

That thought made her want to cry. What was wrong with her? Jamin was the sweetest, kindest person she’d ever met! If there was one person in this filthy world that could make her smile it would be him, but it didn’t matter anyway. He wasn’t there. She wouldn’t see him for at least another week, and even if he did come to the market next Saturday, he would be too busy to spend any time with her.

Nina had reached her home now, but didn’t want to go in. She left her basket inside the front gate, and kept on walking down the block. She didn’t care where she went, as long as it wasn’t back to that house.

“Nina?”

The voice jumped into her thoughts so suddenly, that it caused her body to jump too. She looked up with chills, into the eyes of her father.

“My gracious, child,” he exclaimed, holding his hands wide, “I hardly recognized you! You’re all grown up!” His arms were around her then, and she squeezed him back with all of her might.

He let go too quickly, but she stepped back anyway and looked up into his eyes. He seemed lower to the ground now than he used to, and she realized then just how much she really had grown. Her heart swelled up into her throat, and she could feel the tears coming back, but this time they were at least partly happy tears.

“Oh my, don’t cry, dear.” His eyes filled with concern, and he pulled her close again. She recognized the familiar smell of him, as she cried against his shoulder, and it filled her with such emotion that her quiet tears turned into sobs. He just held her then, and she was thankful that he didn’t ask her why she was crying or what was wrong with her. He was always so understanding.

“I am so glad you’re home, Daddy.” She whispered, and he squeezed her tighter.