God Joins Two Hearts
The Presbyterian Church bus was departing for Hardwick. Comfortably seated, I reflected on the preceding months when I was locked behind bars struggling with doubt.
After consulting my Father, He convinced me to take the trip from the Caribbean to visit Douglas, a pen-friend of three years. Our communication became fluid and I looked forward to his letters. He spoke about God and seemed to obey all the rules.
Often Douglas wrote, “I love you very much Elizabeth, and I hope that one day you will love me too”.
I replied telling him how much I cared about him and reminded myself that I was only trying to give encouragement. I was not seeking a relationship with someone who was incarcerated.
After two hours of travelling, the bus turned off the highway and began a circuitous route. The flat, admirable expanse of land availed itself to several dormitory type brick buildings. Everything seemed unperturbed. I felt haunted. Slowly the bus stopped. Conversations came to a halt. Rhythmically, seat belts snapped.
I wore loosely fitting full-length trousers, a maiden-aunt blouse buttoned up to the neck and a pair of closed-up shoes. After screening I entered the visitation room and read an invisible sign: “Welcome to this happy, noisy place.”
I sat at a small table with my plastic bag containing $25.00. to purchase hamburgers and beverages. The overhead camera captured from the least to the greatest movement.
A racial mix of men of all ages and varying physique entered the room. Clad in white uniforms with blue stripes each man wore a smile – the one I needed. I was surprised by the repetition of: “When I get out”.
“Is he next?” I kept asking myself.
Douglas had told me that if the visitation room was crowded, I should stand so that he could recognize me quickly. However, I felt like a mouse so instead I looked around the room to see if there was any Afro-American inmate sitting alone.
“Well, Douglas has my photograph”, I thought..
“Elizabeth, is that you Elizabeth?” a deep voice asked as a tall, strongly built man entered the room and walked towards me smiling. We hugged and kissed each other - in the time allowed.
“You look lovely, much prettier than your photograph!” said Douglas, as he seated himself.
“You look wonderful yourself,” I replied.
“I hope to meet your expectations,” Elizabeth. I tried to look my best, except for my
eyes: I did not sleep last night.”
I was wearing a pair of tinted glasses to conceal my own droopy eyes.
“I did not wink either,” I said, “I did not want to miss the bus.”
“You are white,” I whispered: “Very, white.”
“And you are beautiful,” he said: “Very, beautiful and I love your accent. I appreciate your coming to visit me, did you have a good flight?”
“It was great, but I was confused at the airport. It’s so huge! I took a trolley to carry my bags but found myself pushing the empty trolley and struggling with my bags.”
“Ha! Ha! ha !” Douglas laughed. “The whole community knows you were coming to visit me. Who told them? Douglas Watson.”
We sipped on Douglas’cocoa cola.
“Well,” he said, “Now that you have seen me, do you think I am an animal? Grrrrrrrrrrr !”
“You are too funny!”
“Elizabeth, I want to ask you something and I am sorry that I cannot be really romantic - will you marry me when I get out?”
“Oh Douglas, there is something in my eye,” I said rushing to the ladies’ room.
“This cannot be!”. How could I ? No, not me, you God, you made me come here. You told me that everything would be fine.”
Suddenly, an unusual calmness swept over me and I headed for the visitation room trying to conceal the tears.
“Elizabeth, I love you with all my heart, and I hope that you love me too: But do you have a problem with our skin colour or is it my past? My dear, can’t you see that God has joined our hearts even before we met physically?”
“Don’t worry about your past Doug. God does not see us as we were, neither as we are but rather what we can become. I…. I …. I love you Douglas and when you are released, please come home - to me.”
The clock struck three as we embraced each other with hope for a brighter tomorrow.
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