Claudia lay on her back, unable to sleep. A spider make his was across the ceiling, while Clark snored peacefully beside her. She craned her neck to check the time. The alarm clock’s glowing, green numbers read eleven fifty-eight and her daughter still wasn’t home. She sighed. This worrying does no good. Careful not to disturb Clark, she eased herself from the bed and knelt beside it. “Lord, please help Eryn. I can’t reach her. I feel she’s in trouble…”
Eryn’s rusty chevette rumbled as she drove too fast down the rocky, dirt road leading to the dock. Jason had shown her this place— their place. She stomped on the brake, sending the car skidding to stop just feet from the water’s edge. Slamming the gearshift into park, she let the sobs break loose. The pain in her chest was unbearable and she wondered if she would die.
Rage boiled up within her, erupting into a scream as she beat the steering wheel with her fists. “How could he do this to me?”
She wept uncontrollably, moaning and groaning, as grief unlike any she’d known tore at her heart. How could she survive this?
Exhausted, she crumbled back against the seat and gazed at the airport across the cove. Jason had brought her here on their second date. They’d watched the airplanes coming and going like tourists visiting a beach. Then, he’d kissed her—her first kiss—sweet and gentle, just as she’d imagined a kiss should be.
They’d returned on the third date and the fourth, the kisses growing longer, more passionate. Jason had said she was beautiful, said he loved her. The pricks at her conscience diminished as she fell deep into the well of first love. Finally she’d given herself to him completely, breaking her vow of purity until marriage.
Now, he’d tossed her aside like a used gum wrapper. After she’d given up everything for him: her body, her family, her friends, her God.
Eryn’s face looked unfamiliar in the rearview mirror. Her eyes blazed red like when she had pink eye. Black mascara streaks marked paths from her swollen eyes to her quivering lips. A year ago she didn’t bother with make-up and she would have spent her Friday night at youth group, having fun. She looked down at her tight shirt and mini-skirt and felt ashamed. Her old friends would be disgusted.
She got out of the car and staggered, blurry-eyed down the beach, crying out in pain when her spiky heels turned sideways in the rocks, twisting her ankles. She’d bought these heels because Jason liked tall girls. She gritted her teeth and muffled another scream as she yanked the uncomfortable shoes from her feet and hurled them into the water. They landed with a splash, setting circular ripples in motion. The moonlight reflected off the ripples, transforming the dark water into a sea of diamonds and reminding her of the engagement ring she’d dreamt Jason would buy her. What a fool.
Now she was alone. Well, not really alone. She put a hand to her flat stomach and wondered how long it would be until her jeans no longer fit. Until people could “tell.”
Jason’s eyes were cold when he broke up with her. You are not going to ruin my life. Eryn’s stomach lurched and she felt like she might throw up. Ruin his life? He said he loved me.
Dropping to the sand, she squeezed her eyes shut. If only she could go back, not accept that first date. She’d known he wasn’t a believer, had only meant to go out with him once. Like a toddler hiding behind clothing racks at the mall despite his mother’s instruction to stay close by, she’d hidden from God, unaware of the dangers.
She thought about how far she’d wandered and trembled, feeling like a child separated from her parent in a crowd. What if I can’t find Him again? What if He won’t forgive me?
She laid facedown in the sand, shaking violently. “Oh God. Oh God. Oh God. I’m so sorry. Please…help.”
I’m still here.
“God, it hurts…so bad. He said he loved me”
I love you.
Eryn’s breathing slowed and the shaking ceased. A sweet and familiar presence—one she’d missed—surrounded her and she rested.
Go home my love.
Claudia struggled to her feet, grabbed her robe and headed for the kitchen. God’s instructions had been clear. Get up, make tea, and wait. Eryn was coming home.
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