TITLE: Place of Solitude Part 2
By Brandi Roberts
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The strong scent of freshly ground coffee beans drifted around Patti as she made her way to the kitchen. She never did like the taste of it, but she was fixed on the caffeine, and sugar could mask the flavor of anything. The shower was running in the bathroom upstairs, evidence that her husband would be on his way to work shortly.
Patti sipped from her coffee cup and stared at the sink. Just once she'd like the freedom to leave the dishes there overnight. She smoothed her pajamas over her stomach as she stood up and glanced at the time. Charles would be gone soon, and she could escape again to her place in the trees.
Slowly she made her way up the stairs to her vanity table. Patti swept the loose strands of hair up into the grasp of a hair band. She was a very plain looking woman. The long tresses of wavy blonde hair tied into a poorly drawn bun and her pale blue eyes were the only accents to her dull features.
She felt a hand on her shoulder and suddenly felt uncomfortable for her brief examination of herself. It was Charles. He had come to say goodbye. The two embraced, and as soon as Patti saw her husband walk out the door, she slid on a jacket and slipped out the patio doors.
Back in the forest, she took in as much as she could. Every word melted into her heart and tears escaped her eyelids, as they did every time she read from it. Patti knew she only had a short time before Charles would be calling her, checking in. She drank in as much as she could, then returned the book to it's case and hurried back to the house.
Eight forty-five, he should have called by now. Despite his obvious character flaws, Charles was extremely punctual, almost to the second. What was keeping him from calling? Figuring this was possibly a test, she decided it best that she remain in the house until Charles came home in the afternoon. Maybe she could do some baking, or finish mending Charles's suit that was hanging in her sewing room, anything to pass the time.
By noon, Patti was starting to worry. Charles still hadn't called. Had he gotten into an accident? It was deer season, perhaps a stray doe had startled him and he went off the road. Picking up the phone, she decided to give the local police a call. A young constable took her call, and she described her husband and his car in full detail. No one at the station had heard of any accidents, but they would be sending a cruiser out to check. She thanked the officer and hung up the phone. Prayer would bring him home safe, so Patti bowed to the floor and petitioned God to bring Charles home.
Only a short fifteen minutes later, the phone rang. Patti jumped to the handset. It was the police. They had found Charles. He was okay and he would be home shortly.
The moment her husband stepped through the doorway, Patti wrapped her arms around him, and relief flooded her. Charles motioned for her to sit down, and guided her to the bench seat in the entry way. He kneeled on the floor and took her hands in his own. Her eyes searched his, wondering what had happened, as he began to explain.
On his way to work, Charles had passed by the same church as he always had. He had never really taken notice of it until then. On the sign out front, the words "Need peace? Find it here," caught his attention. He pulled into the meek parking lot and knocked on the inviting double doors. An elderly man met him at the door and escorted him inside. Charles was full of questions - how could he find peace? what would he have to give? Every question he asked was met by an answer. When he had run out of questions, the old man had his own question. Would Charles give everything over to the God who could bring him peace? Holding nothing back, Charles said yes.
Patti's tears spilled over her eyelids and on to her cheeks, and she wrapped her arms around him. They would have a lot to talk about tonight. God had answered her prayers in a way she would never have imagined.
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