I am finally leaving him. The bus will be here any minute, and I will get into that seat and go home to Mom, Dad and Jade. But before I do, I will call him to let him now that he has had his last chance.
“Hello, Lester? I just wanted to say I’m leaving you. I can’t take it anymore.” I begin to cry. That is the last thing I wanted to do. I wanted to go out strong, with courage, but he has stripped that from me too.
“No, Melinda, don’t go. I love you. Please, please Melinda, please don’t leave. I’ll work on things, we’ll stop fighting, it will be good, I promise.”
I wait in silence as he, too, begins to sob.
As I listen, the bus drives in. I do not get on. I turn in the other direction and begin the long walk back to our apartment.
If I stepped out in front of this car, would anyone miss me? Jade would, yes, Jade would miss me. Only twelve years old and she has to put up with this shambles of a mother and father. Is she as tired of this pathetic cycle as I am? Will she abandon me too, just like all my friends have? Why, oh why did I not get on that bus and go to her?
I promised myself I would never stick to a man more than I would to my own child, but he is like my drug; I can’t help myself.
Lester, what have you done to me?
It’s dark now. If I keep walking under the lights it will be ok. I fell a bit safer having this pocketknife. Oh Jesus, Jesus, help me. I don’t know what to do. I don’t have a friend; I don’t have anyone I can trust. JESUS?
Why is this car stopping beside me? I don’t know this girl.
“Hi, can I give you a ride home? I hate to see a woman walking alone when it’s dark.”
I am so surprised to hear kindness that I climb in submissively.
“Do you mind if we go to a friend’s house first? I’m supposed to be there at 7, but I had to work, and she’s been waiting to pray with me. I’ve only got forty-five minutes left, but I’d love you to meet her.”
I nod my head.
It is 10pm and I am still at this “friend’s” house. I don’t know why I am talking so much. Her eyes are so full of compassion, and she acts like she cares. I can’t trust anyone, but she feels safe. I tell her of my husband’s adultery. I speak of my meth abuse, and my court date next month for possession of ½ oz. of a controlled substance. I share of the shouting and anger that hits the walls of our apartment every day and night. I show her my scars.
I am ugly and fat. Nobody cares about me. Even death cheats me.
“Melinda, have you ever brought all of your bad choices to the cross and left them there?”
“I did that before. I repent all the time, but it’s no use: I just go out and do the same thing again the next day.”
She draws a body filled with the Holy Spirit, and then draws arrows to signify how I have to let the Holy Spirit radiate out through my soul until it is finally free of bad habits. She says it takes years, and that that is why most of the Christians I actually like are the ones who have been letting God work on them continually from the inside out.
“You need to get back onto the right path. You need God as the center of your life and your will to help you to walk life in straight lines.
“Let my friend and I help you. We can teach you things about God, direct you to Scripture verses, pray for you, and have a continual prayer network going on for you. Put people around yourself that will be good for your soul. We’d like to be your home from home.”
She makes sense, this woman. She prays for me. She leads me to her sofa, puts on a movie, and I fall asleep waiting for Lester to pick me up. In my dream I am a child at home again, and I have no fear.
She has hope for me.
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