Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Conversation (face to face) (10/07/10)
TITLE: The Pause Button
By Julie Arduini
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Trina Prescott slid from the driver to the passenger seat, self-importance oozing with her words. Ben Davis looked around as he moved from his car to Trina’s SUV driver’s side. She observed the sweat lining his face despite the October air.
“I came to tell you what you think is going to happen isn’t. You’re a beautiful, smart woman but I made a mistake the moment I closed my office door for our meeting. I need to reclaim my boundaries.”
Ben sat taller but his incessant blinking tore away at his credibility. Trina took her black pearl manicured fingernail and traced his sweat trail across her CD console before looking back at Ben.
“Right. That’s why you met me in a quiet area of a park where only the birds can see us. I bet you even took a different route, changing your direction every so often in case anyone followed you. I also know from experience no man truly wishing to reclaim his boundaries puts cologne on at lunchtime before leaving for his secret rendezvous.”
Trina surrendered her gaze on Ben. He cleared his throat once, twice, three times.
“Trina, I can’t do this. I can’t.” His voice cracked. Trina threw her neck back and laughed. When she quieted she placed her hand on Ben’s knee.
“Come on now, you can. You shouldn’t, but you can.” She gave his knee a squeeze, bringing a literal jerk reaction to her touch. His hot breath and perspiration were steaming the windows without a true intimate touch between them. Trina felt her anticipation building for what she was sure to come. Ben wasn’t moving her hand.
“I, uh, I, should go.”
“Ben. How long are we going to play word games? You should go, but you won’t. Do you want to know why you won’t? Because no one appreciates you like I do. I will give you undivided attention. I promise, unlike her, I will always say yes. I will be your stress relief, the highlight to your day…and night.” The sun struck her autumn hair, warming her up even more.
“No one understands the pressure. I’m not perfect. Day after day everyone wants right answers and quick solutions from me. I go home and the expectations are just as high. It doesn’t end. I just need to hit the pause button, just for a little…” Ben’s voice trailed off in tandem with his wandering eye.
Trina knew they were the same eyes that watched his own teenagers drive off, trusting they would do the right thing. She knew the nature of his job had him on call all the time. She was aware of the phone calls he received. He was burned out and vulnerable. Those eyes would feast for lunch and then give a friendly wink to his wife. Tina’s one meeting would turn to two and the need would increase. It wasn’t about her; it was about the pause button. Ben wanted out for just a moment. Trina was more than willing to oblige.
“I can make all it go away; I can be that pause button. Just talk to me Ben, that’s all we’re doing. Two talking friends, right?” Trina ran one hand through his short black hair. She heard his sigh, her clue that all boundaries collapsed. Like a moth to a flame.
“Talking. Yes, this is talking, and that’s not wrong. We can do this, right Trina?”
The laugh again. This time when she stopped, she moved in closer to plant a ruby lipstick kiss on his cheek.
“Of course, pastor.”
*Pastors' families share that some women in their woundedness approach their pastor in an inappropriate way even during altar calls. Let's keep them all in prayer. How often do you pray for your pastor and his family?*
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