“Why, how have you become so different?”
The words rang through Rachelle’s mind like a gong bringing discord to her well ordered life. She hadn’t been able to answer Dru. Still didn’t know the answer even after weeks of being confronted by that question.
Have I changed that much? Did it show that much? How have I changed? When did it start? She pondered the questions all day while working at the little shop that brought the only joy in her life.
The ladies who frequented her shop were as aloof as she herself. Holding herself at arms length was her protection, her barrier from hurt that only people who were close could give.
She had fallen short too many times to think a man was out there who would be happy with her. Of course if she had changed so much…no. I won’t take that chance.
* * *
“We were hoping you could help us find that out.” The man’s brown eyes softened as he looked at the stricken woman then turned back to stare through the observation mirror.
It hurt seeing Rachelle just sitting there with a blank look on her face staring out the window. “I...” her voice cracked, “I saw her a few weeks ago for lunch. We promised to do that now and then to keep in touch but I hadn’t seen her in about four years.”
“Was there anything that struck you about the visit?”
“I couldn’t believe how changed she was. I mean, she used to be this sweet quiet girl with long hair and hopes for a quiet country life. Now here she was, in an expensive suit, hair done in the latest style and by a pro, living in a city she hated. Her life didn’t fit the person I grew up with, so I asked her. I don’t know if our conversation had anything to do with this.” Drucilla turned to look at the man, “How did she end up here?”
“Neighbors heard crashing sounds coming from her apartment. They called the police. When they arrived and broke the door down she was standing in front of a table looking down at a row of drug bottles. I don’t know if they would have killed her but…..”
Dru gasped, “That’s what you think she wanted.”
“That’s why she’s here. Your name and number were in her address book under ICE. In Case of Emergency,” he explained when she sent him a bewildered look.
“Oh,” she whispered. “May I see her?”
“See if you can get her to talk. She hasn’t spoken a word since the officers arrived at her place.”
* * *
Pushing the door opened Dru made her way quietly across the room. She stopped beside her best friend; kneeling she took Rachelle’s cold hand in hers, held it and sat, silent for several moments praying for direction. Tears began to run down her cheek but she didn’t notice until a hand brushed them away. “Why are you crying, Dru?” her friend’s voice croaked.
In disbelief she gazed into her friends blue eyes. “Don’t you know how hurt I would be to have to say good bye to you, knowing you didn’t feel you could come to me? Don’t you know how much I would have missed you? I love you.” She laid her head on her friend’s lap and let the tears flow. She looked up to see Rachelle’s questioning gaze. “You are important to me. If I lost you I would grieve for the rest of my life.”
“No one has cared about me since Mom and Dad.” Rachelle’s gaze went to the window where pictures from her past replayed across the pane. “I thought I wasn’t worth loving any more.”
“You are loved more than you know.” Dru smiled tremulously.
Hope flickered in the depths of Rachelle’s eyes. “Let’s talk.”
Dru pulled a chair over and sat beside her friend. Words flowed from both women while the man behind the mirror listened. He’d lost his aversion to eaves dropping. This was work and the story was an interesting one. A young girl dumped by men when she wouldn’t give into their demands. Her broken heart could stand no more pain. She withdrew from everyone she’d known. She had organized her life until there was no room for people other than those she worked with.
“Leaving out God in the process,” Dru replied smiling at the wry expression on her friend’s face.
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