Tag Archives: clarity

Life Passages XXI – The Inevitable

“Um, thanks Mads…ah,thanks for agreeing to move the conversation outside the coffe shop. You know with Sam dropping in like that and all.” Devon displayed a wide, but nervous grin as he looked across at Madeleine sitting next to him on the bench at their familiar spot in the park. “This way, no more distractions, right?” His smile managed the impossible and widened even more.He nodded, expecting a response but Madeleine looked straight ahead. She didn’t smile. She couldn’t. Her stomach was a ball of knots. She knew the impending dialogue was inevitable but that didn’t make it any easier.

“O-kay-ay Mads. This can’t be good. You don’t want your face to get stuck like that do you?” Devon was partly joking and partly concerned. Madeleine finally broke free from her worrisome bubble. She turned to face Devon. “Huh…what? I missed something didn’t I? What?” Laughter came bubbling out of Devon. “You are one of the funniest…and ah…by that I mean one of the most interesting people I know Mads.” Devon pressed on his stomach with one hand and folded, almost all the way, over laughing. A puzzled look formed over Madeleine’s face. “I don’t get what’s so funny.” Madeleine watched Devon’s body energetically rock and shake for a moment. “Nope. Still don’t get it.”

Devon straightened up and worked to control his outburst. “Okay, okay. I guess I’ll just keep it to myself.” He sat still long enough to look into Madeleine’s eyes, searching them for some inkling of what was stirring in her mind. “Okay, so let’s talk. Really talk Mads.” Madeleine turned toward Devon and her eyes locked on to his. She sucked in a long, deep breath then released it slowly. “Okay Devon, let’s talk.” Devon nodded, not taking his eyes off of Madeleine.

“Ahem. Okay, let’s see. Where do I start?” Madeleine fidgeted with her clothes and sat up straight like a pin. ” You asked why I cut you off…or was avoiding you.” Madeleine fidgeted once more. “Ahem. Well, you see…um, the thing is…” Madeleine shook her head vigorously attempting to reset her thought pattern. “Breathe Mads. Breathe.” Devon leaned toward her. Madeleine looked up at the lean but muscularly built young man who sat slightly higher than she did. “I’m breathing. Really, I am.” She forced a smile. “You see the thing is, meeting you in our school library was a…well a blessing. I see that now. You were a lot nicer to me than the other kids I met when I started that school.” She looked down at her legs briefly and crossed them in an “X”. “Then all of a sudden I hang out with you, Samantha and your friends and I begin to feel all kinds of…ah, strange.”

Devon’s forehead wrinkled and his eyes drew closer together. “Strange? There’s that word again. Strange how?” Madeleine cleared her throat elaborately, delaying the rest of the talk. “Ahem, ahem, ahem. Well…well, I began to think that…that just maybe I was jealous of Sam…” Devon sat straight up. “Jealous? What ever the heck for? Samantha likes you…” Madeleine turned her entire body toward Devon and leaned slightly toward him. “I know! That’s the thing, she’s great! Friendly. And I can tell genuine. All your friends were  really.” Devon’s arms flap around as he becomes very animated. “So why are you jealous Mads?” Madeleine didn’t respond right away. She settled back into her side of the bench and looked straight ahead in silence for what seemed like an eternity. Devon stared at her from his end the entire time. Eventually he broke the silence. “Mads? The truth will set you free, you know.” He tried to joke.

“Are you and Samantha like…like a couple Devon?” Madeleine spitted it out then covered her mouth with one hand. Devon’s eyes widened and filled with trepidation. “Is that why you’re jealous? You think Samantha is my girlfriend?” Devon swiveled his upper body to sit straight ahead too. Both Madeleine and Devon sat in silence, staring straight ahead for a few moments. Devon decided to disturb the silence. “Um so…um, what do we do now? I mean…” Madeleine’s neck whipped around and her mouth dropped open. “What do you mean, what do we do now?” Devon turned slowly toward Madeleine again. “You’re jealous, you think Sam’s my girl…” Madeleine leaned in toward Devon and hurled the burning question. “So is she?”

Devon began to laugh so loudly that it’s guaranteed the occupants of all the neighboring homes around the park heard it. A large eyed Madeleine looked at Devon in horror. The more she looked, the more he laughed. Soon she bounced to her feet. “Great! Laugh on but I’m not going to stick around and be embarrased.” Devon’s laughter was immediately cut short. He jumped to his feet and tugged on Madeleine’s wrist, as gently as was possible, to prevent her from walking away. “Mads. Mads, come on. Sam is not my girlfriend. Old friends since almost birth. That’s all.” Madeleine slowly pulled her wrist out through Devon’s grasp and looked down at her beige ballet shoes. “Oh.”

Devon made one step forward but remained a polite distance from Madeleine. He looked down at his new friend who was still staring down at her shoes.” Mads believe me, if I ever have a girlfriend you will be the very first to know. Deal?” Madeleine allowed her head to rise slowly with a smile. “Deal.”

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Life Passages XX – Meeting Of The Minds

The coffee shop door squeaked opened. Sunshine filled the room and ushered Madeleine in. She was adorned in a knee-length blue and white horizontally stripped sun dress. Her hands visibly trembled but she managed a half-smile. Devon jumped to his feet with an enormous grin. Madeleine spoke first with a bashful smile. “Hello”. Devon extended his arms straight into the air. “Hi Mads. You’re here…finally.” He stepped forward and placed his hands on Madeleine’s shoulders. She stiffened.  Devon examined Madeleine’s face closely. “Are you alright?”

Madeleine worked hard to mask her anxiety. “Yeah…oh yeah. I’m good.” She pointed to the table. “Shall we?” Devon’s focus shifted again. “Yeah, yeah.” He sat, leaned forward and propped his face up with the palms of his hands. “So let’s have it. What’s going with you Mads?” Madeleine looked down at her hands resting softly on the edge of the rectangular table. Soon she was interrupted by a noise from the opposite side of the table. “Ahem. Uh-oh hear it comes. I can already tell it’s going to be deep.” Devon taunted. Madeleine tossed him a crooked half-smile. “It really is okay to really smile you know.” Devon continued. She reclined back into her chair and allowed herself to giggle. “Always the joker, huh?”

“What can I say, laughter is like good medicine. I’m trying to stay mighty fine.” Laughter erupted. Madeleine snorted then reached for the napkin holder. Devon leaned his head back and joined her in the merriment. After a long two minutes of belly laughs Devon sat up straight and reached across the table. He took Madeleine’s hands in his own. A surprised Madeleine retreated so far back that her chair audibly scratched the ply wood  floor. Her chest vividly expanded and contracted and she sat wide-eyed staring at Devon. Madeleine’s fingers squeezed the edge of her chair so tightly that her hands turned red. Oh no. Heck, I am so confused.

Devon stared back. The usually jovial young man was lost for words in that moment. God, I think I just blew it. What do I do now? Devon leaned against the table and tried to speak. “Mads, um. Um, are you okay?” Madeleine kept her gaze on Devon a while longer before she spoke. “What did you want to talk about Devon?” Devon swallowed hard. “I want to know why you cut me off?” Madeleine inhaled, held her breath for three seconds then exhaled. “I haven’t cut you off. I have been busy.” Devon immediately rolled his eyes. “That line again? Really? Come on Madeleine. Be straight with me.” Madeleine looked down at the stripes on her dress. Her eyes darted from one end of her lap to the other, as though searching for the words to appear. She felt defeated. Eventually she found some words but didn’t look up at Devon. “Devon, um I don’t know. I didn’t mean to…I haven’t cut you…” She looked up at him. “Devon I feel strange.”

“Huh? Strange?” Devon hung on to every word. “Strange how?” Just then a burst of light fell on Devon’s face and a familiar voice shot across the room from the door way. “Hey. Devon. Fancy meeting you here.” The tall, athletically built Samantha reached Devon and Madeleine’s table quickly. Her face was lit with a huge grin and she slapped Devon on the arm. He looked up at her and offered an awkward smile. “Ah Sam, what are you doing here?” Samantha watched him curiously. “What do you mean? I always come here. Especially Saturdays. We always used to.” Samantha’s neck swiveled quickly. She turned her attention to Madeleine. “Hi Madeleine. It’s been forever. We miss you at group. What’s been going on?” Madeleine’s  eyes displayed anxiety, even fear, while her lips curled into a smile.

Madeleine sprung to her feet. “Excuse me. I need to go to the Ladies’ Room.” Devon stood too. “Mads…” Madeleine put her hand up toward him. She kept her voice soft and steady. “Devon, it’s just the bathroom. I’ll be back.” Devon chuckled. “I hope so. You’re an escape expert.” Madeleine chuckled too and headed in the direction of the restrooms. Samantha’s eyes followed Madeleine for a fleeting moment then she dropped into her vacant chair. “Why do I get the feeling that I interrupted something here.” Devon pressed his lips together and shot Samantha an accusatory glance. He looked down at his hands resting on the table then back at Samantha. His tone was soft. “That’s because you did Sam. That’s because you did.” An astonished Samantha could barely speak. “Oh!”
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Life Passages XVIII-Pensive

Devon scratched the edge of his dark wooly hairline nervously. He used his hip to prop himself up against his grandfather’s quaint store’s wooden checkout counter. A few faint lines drew across his forehead and his stomach fluttered slightly. There was no mistaking his discomfort.

“What’s up with you?” Solomon stood observing his grandson from the doorway of the storeroom, behind the checkout counter. Devon didn’t even realize that Solomon was nearby.

“Um…Huh?” Devon was awaken up from his deep introspection. “What do you mean Grandpa?” Devon’s eyes filled with confusion. Solomon took pity on him. A soft smile shaped on the elderly gentleman’s lips. “You look like you’ve got a load on your mind young man.” Solomon carefully placed his clipboard and pen on the counter. “Care to share what’s going on?”

Devon scratched at his hairline again for a few seconds then straightened up and faced his grandfather. “Um…I…I don’t…” A small cloud of despondency formed a shadow over his shoulder and he bowed his head, staring at his shoes. “I don’t really know grandpa.”

“Hmmm” Solomon studied Devon’s face just a little longer.

 

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