She held her small blue purse, with both hands, clutching it close to her chest, just like she always did when she was nervous. At 42, it had taken Maria years of therapy to make it to this point, yet she still sat in her chair, terrified.
The doorbell to her apartment rang a second time, and she jumped out of her chair with a start, and tentatively walked towards the door. She did manage a smile when she opened it, seeing Joseph smartly dressed in a brown leather jacket.
He noticed her purse right away, and the way she held it, making it clear she was nervous. He smiled though, being the perfect gentleman. They drove to the movies and he was as gentle as ever. In fact she had never met a man more gentle.
He never laughed at her when she did not want to see the Suicide Squad, because it might be too scary. She wanted to see Finding Dory instead. He never flinched over the movie choice, as she sat next to him, holding her purse up high.
It turns out they both enjoyed the movie. Joseph had the popcorn, and every so often her left hand would tentatively leave her purse she was still holding, to reach into the bucket. He noticed she was smiling more as they left the theater, and walked to the café.
In fact, once they were seated she actually put the purse down on the table, but close to her left hand. She relaxed a little. She wanted to tell him everything, about her and her sisters being abused as teenagers, how she begged her step-father hundreds of times not to go to the liquor store anymore, and how her pelvis was broken once. But she didn’t, she held it all back, other than a quick mention of taking anxiety medication. She at least needed to tell him that much, she thought.
He figured out that she had probably been abused, and he admired her wonderful sense of courage. He wanted to share about his own pain, his wife leaving after 20 years, how he swore he would never go out with another woman again. But he didn’t, he held it all back. It was their first date after all.
But when they made it to her apartment door to say goodnight, she began to thank him for how wonderful he was, and tears flooded her eyes involuntarily. “Thank you Joseph…..thank you…..for not making fun of me!” Great sobs began, and she blurted out, “This is my first date….ever!!!”
He instinctively reached out to hold her, she wept into his shoulder, and the emotions touched him so deeply, that he cried with her.
Once she was safely back inside her apartment, Joseph made an oath to himself, and to heaven. He swore he would never, ever, ever, hurt her feelings in any way. Her fragile spirit was more precious than gold, and he knew it. He has kept that promise ever since.
It took weeks for Maria to work up to her first kiss, and she decided she liked it. She always did love the taste of spearmint.
Writing and Image © Copyright 2016, ancient skies
Peace and blessings to everyone.
“When we love people, we give them hope.”