Tag Archives: confusion

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.”

LPTheInevitable1 (2)

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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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Life Passages XVII-Knowing Her Own Heart

“No, no, no. God, No!” Madeleine sits at the edge of her bed hiding from her parents, the world, and most certainly, Devon. “God, I don’t need this right now.” She whispers, trying to keep her argument with God private. “Do I…Did I feel…What the heck was that?” Madeleine covers her mouth with both hands, startled at her own abrupt outburst.

“I mean, I didn’t see this coming. God did You…wait! What am I asking? Of course you did.” Madeleine allows herself to fall back on to her bed, and covers her face again. Like thoroughbreds racing for a prize, her heart trots at record speed. Her hands slowly slip off of her face. For what seemed like an eternity Madeleine stares at the off-white ceiling. She doesn’t see the ceiling though. Not really. The image of Devon’s face and mannerisms fill her imagination. Her lips curve into a smile. Her mind conjures up images of her and  Devon at his Grandfather’s antique book store, walking along side him from school to her home, at the pizza shop with his friends. Suddenly a picture of Samantha, Devon’s friend who Madeleine deems out-of-this world gorgeous, surfaces immediately quashing Madeleine’s other,  more pleasant thoughts.

Madeleine gags then jerks upright so not to choke on her own saliva. Shaking her head furiously she stands, and begins to pace her woven beige and grey carpet. “Exactly why this can’t be happening God! Clearly there is something between them.” She massages the back of her neck. “Yeah, Devon…Samantha. There is definitely something there.” Madeleine shakes her head vigorously, trying to reset her mind. Then again, commanding it to reboot.

Madeleine speed walks over to her Monarch White Corner Desk. She slides her novel of the week out of her red and black plaid backpack, and in two skips lands on her bed again. With her legs crossed like a pretzel, Madeleine begins to read, and it is not long till she gets lost in the mystery book.

Buzz…buzz. After thirty thought free minutes Madeleine’s concentration is broken. Creases line her forehead as she focuses on the direction of the sound. Buzz…buzz. Madeleine leaps forward and retrieves the white and silver cell phone on her desk, almost hidden underneath her backpack. A text message is waiting for her. Her chest expands in an exaggerated motion with every breath. It is a message from Devon. Hey! Hope you got home okay. Madeleine’s eyes grow large, absorbing the message when a second one rapidly follows it. Are you alright?

Argh! After all the effort Madeleine put into shoving Devon out of her thoughts this Saturday afternoon, this sure does not help. Madeleine’s hands tighten around her phone, almost suffocating it. She peaks at the message once more. Her breaths pick up speed. She walks the width of her room hoping to calm herself down. At the very least to think. After what seemed like five minutes, Madeleine settles back down on to her bed and lays across it. This time on her stomach, she mumbles another prayer. “Am I really alright, God?” A long sigh rises from her belly to her lips “I’m not so sure that even I know.” Madeleine turns over allowing her head to hang off the bed. “So much I want to say, but there is so much that I don’t.”

Madeleine raises her body into a sitting position, her legs extended straight in front of her. She pulls the phone closer to her, along the length of her knees toward her hips. She begins to type. Yup. I am home safe. Thanks. She reads the message again, three times before she hits send. Releasing the mobile gently on to her sheet, she looks upward. “Please help me figure this out…figure out if I’m really alright.”

LifePassages17B (3)

 

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Life Passages XVI – A New Feeling

Madeleine can’t help herself. She knows that it is impolite to stare. Even down right creepy if its overt. Still, she uncontrollably gazes at all the teens, and young adults laughing, chewing at pizza slices and taking turns at sharing one funny story after the other. Everyone had been extremely cordial, and  welcoming toward her. Quite frankly, Madeleine had never met such a friendly bunch of young people in her whole life. What was even more peculiar was that they didn’t seem to want anything from her but seemed to genuinely want to know who she is. She really is. Hmmm…

She also couldn’t take her eyes off of Samantha. The lean eighteen year old with thick caramel brown curly locks, darker than her own intense auburn hair, appeared to have a special bond with Devon. They seemed to almost finish each other sentences. Madeleine’s eyes are repeatedly drawn to the young woman. She carried herself as though she didn’t have a care in the world, and easily made conversation with the diverse group of individuals. Madeleine deduced that there were at least six different cultures represented there. Still, here attention kept meandering back to Samantha. A tinge of jealously began to surface. She felt it pricking at her, like small pins being used to hem the edges of her soul. Madeleine shakes her head hoping it will dispel any negative thoughts, and feelings, all at once. Suddenly, Devon slips in next to her after animatedly telling a story on his feet. “Hey! You okay?” Devon stared into her eyes searching for her true, and immediate feelings. “I know that this bunch can be overwhelming, but they are harmless.” His grin warmed her, filling in any spaces of loneliness amidst this group. Surprised by her own new feelings she shifts her body ever so slightly away from Devon. Her heart racing, she gestures to stand up.

“Um…Devon, I…um…should get going.” Madeleine is half way up from the community bench, her knees bent, with an apologetic look on her face. “I am having a good time…It’s great to meet your friends, but you know how my parents are about um…punctuality.” She is fully standing at this juncture, using her body language to petition to Devon to let her pass him.

Devon stands and faces Madeleine, blocking her from slipping pass him. “See! I knew something was up. Too much too soon, huh?” Devon is playful, grinning from ear to ear.  “At least let me walk you home.” Devon’s voice couldn’t have sounded any kinder right then, and there as far as Madeleine was concerned. “Oh Com’on! Okay. I am not taking no for an answer, you know?” Devon cleared the way, and let Madeleine by. She slips out easily, gently waving to the others who one by one began to notice that she was leaving. “Are you leaving already?” Samantha jumped up and drew closer to her from the other side of the communal table in the pizza shop. “You just got here! So, when are we going to see you again?” Samantha smiles broadly, radiating a natural beauty that makes Madeleine want to fade into the background.

Somewhat intimidated, Madeleine attempts to present her case to Samantha. “Um…I just have lots to do. You know?” Madeleine begins to feel the words coming more easily. “Not sure when I will see you guys again. We’ll see.” Madeleine forces a smile at Samantha, the young adults seated, and then at Devon on her left, hoping she’s sold her position well. “So…I’ll see you guys. Thanks again. It’s been great! Goodbye.” Madeleine waves at the crowd, and starts moving toward the door, still unable to make a clean getaway. Devon stares at Madeleine, almost sympathetically. Eventually he stands aside, allowing Madeleine to slip by.

“Alright then, if you must.” Devon relents shaking his head, unable to get it straight as to what else it would take to convince Mads that she can trust him. She can trust his friendship. “So like I said, I’m not taking no for an answer.” Devon begins to follow Madeleine out of his group’s popular hangout spot. She looks back over her shoulder. Her stomach turns just a bit. She keeps walking forward. When she clears the store’s entrance she turns around to face Devon on the sidewalk.

“Seriously! I’m good. I can make it home alone.” Madeline didn’t mean to sound as firm as she did. “I mean…please go have fun with your friends.” Madeleine hopes her second attempt worked to accomplish her, now very familiar, escape. She held her breath waiting for him to respond. “Here’s the thing Mads, I get it. Maybe I should have had you hang out with just Sam and I at first, then introduced you to the larger group.” Madeleine swallows hard. Her suspicions are being confirmed by the second. Samantha is someone special to Devon.

“It’s cool.” Madeleine is anxious to leave. “I got to go. Bye Devon.” Madeleine smiles sweetly at the young man whose brilliant brown eyes she’s grown fond of looking into now. She begins to twist her shoulders, motioning to walk away again. This time Devon tugs her left wrist, with his right hand. “Mads, I think you should chill with a bunch like this. They don’t mean any harm. Seriously.” Devon is sincere. He is intent on selling her the idea of friendship again.

Madeleine can’t help but search Devon’s eyes for what seemed like a very long thirty seconds, or even a minute. She had to know if he was really as nice as he seemed. Can he be trusted? Can she let her guard down? Can she let him in completely? “Oh really?” Is all she could manage to respond. Ahem. Madeleine clears her throat. “Devon, I don’t know…um, can I think about it?” Her eyes are wide. They’re pleading with Devon to understand her position. Pleading with him to give her the space she needs. Devon studies Madeleine closely too. His faith dictates that he look out for the opportunity to guide the loss back home. He terribly hoped that Madeleine could see he has no schemes up his sleeves to hurt her, in the least bit. “Please.” She makes one last effort.

Devon takes Madeleine’s two hands into his, and stares empathetically into her jade green eyes. “I understand. You think about it.” Madeleine’s stomach makes a complete flip. Ba-dum, ba-dum, ba-dum. Her heart races, the sound growing louder, and louder filling her ear drums. She can’t take it. The sound of it, as though her chest was near exploding. She pulls her hands away with a strong force, and stares at her feet. A somewhat startled Devon pauses and watches the young woman across from him for a long while. Madeleine’s eyes are fixed on the ground. She can’t bear to look up at him just yet.

Like a message from the heavens, it dawns on Devon that he has perhaps gone too far? He takes one step forward to present his case. Madeleine immediately takes one step back barely looking up at Devon. Devon stops. His eyes are still fixed on Madeleine, carefully observing her body language. Not quite sure what to say or do. He makes an attempt anyway. “Um…Mads, are you okay?” Madeleine desperately wants to run away, as usual, but this time the touch of Devon’s hands has left her somewhat paralyzed. She takes her time, trying to calculate the correct reply or next move to  make. She swallows long, and slowly.

“I am okay. I just need to head home. I…I think I may be coming down with something. Don’t want to spread it.” Her words are calculated, accompanied by strained laughter. Eventually she looks straight into Devon’s eyes. “Got to go Devon. I’ll see you…Thanks. Bye.” She’s assertive but with kind. She inches away still facing Devon for a few seconds, then turns and walks away briskly leaving Devon staring on, transfixed. He isn’t quite sure what he should do. He genuinely wants to help Madeleine. He wants to help her to break down her walls, and let community in. The right sort of community. Individuals who acted out of a sense of purpose, rooted in faith. But had he gone about it the wrong way? He truly…truly wondered. Madeleine is fun. Madeleine is intelligent. Madeleine loves graphic novels, just like him. Madeleine is lonely. As he stood watching her walk away alone, he strongly considered whether his intentions for gaining her friendship were purely to help a lonely, and hurt girl find true friendship again, or whether it was something else.

LifePassages16 (2)

 

 

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