Tag Archives: transparency

Who? Me? – Part 1

“It’s going to take a while but I am going to get there.” Melanie was forceful. Melanie was adamant but was she convincing?

“What are you waiting on?” Cynthia was oh too familiar with saying that phrase to her friend.

Melanie dropped her head looking for the imaginary fist that had just punched her in the gut. She pulled in a long…long, long breath through her nostrils before she projected her eyes on to her old friend.

Cynthia recognized the expression projected on to her and worked to decode it, piece by piece. “So you want ‘It’ right?

There was silence on the other end of the conversation. Only bright, round eyes fixed in her direction. “Um, Melanie. Are you in there girlfriend?”

Melanie took another slow breath before exiting her stupor. “Um…” Gulp! “Yeah…um yeah. Of course I want ‘It’.” Her eyes slipped from her friend’s face to the floor tracing the diagonal design of the tiling pattern.

Soon Melanie’s eyes was tracing the design of Cynthia’s shiny leather pumps. Her friend had snuck up on her without any warning. “Guess what Mel. ‘It’ is reachable. You see it, right?”

 

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Life Passages XXII – It Runs Deep

“What about this one?” Samantha pointed to a bright fuchsia dress with thick straps that wrapped over the front, with an uneven hem.  1-2-3-4—15 seconds later, Samantha still  heard no response. She turned her head in the opposite direction to face Madeleine and noted her gapped mouth, matching her wide-set stare. “What. What is it? You don’t like it?” rolled off Samantha’s tongue in rapid succession. She was fearful that she hadn’t gotten Madeleine’s approval.

Madeleine’s lips slowly came together and clasped close. Why does she even care what I think? She would look stunning in a paper bag. And why…why did she even ask me to come shopping with her? Madeleine eventually managed to forge a smile. “Ah…ah it’s pretty. I’m sure you…” Madeleine scratched the left edge of her forehead. “I’m sorry. Why do you even care what I think again?”

Madeleine’s honesty near toppled Samantha over and it shone through her eyes. “Wha…what do you mean why do I care?” Samantha swung the dress over her arm and slammed her hand against her hip. “Mads…” Madeleine’s eyes grew as large as dinner plates. No one other than Devon had called her that before. Well her parents on occasion but no one outside her home, and certainly not Samantha. Um, what did she call me?

Samantha broke into Madeleine’s thoughts. “Look Mads, are we cool? I thought we were cool.” Madeleine nodded. She actually appreciated Samantha being candid with her. “We’re cool. I mean, I am cool…being here is cool but…” Samantha was ready to get down to the crux of the matter. “Well what is it then?” she discharged anxiously. Madeleine swallowed so hard her larynx almost slid down into her stomach.  “Samantha, why exactly did you ask me to come shopping with you?” Madeleine took a half step back and with both hands pointed to her jeans, graphic t-shirt and generic grey and white running shoes. “I mean, I’m not exactly a fashionista.” Samantha began to chuckle then released a full belly laugh. What the heck? Madeleine looked around embarrassed about the commotion she was partly responsible for.

“What’s so funny Samantha?” Madeleine tried her best to whisper under the circumstances but it was a pure waste of time. Samantha couldn’t hear a thing over her own outpour of cackles. Madeleine’s face felt warm and began to turn a light shade of red. “I don’t think it’s very ‘Christian’ of you to laugh at the way I dress!” Samantha almost choked on her last snicker. “Ahem.” Samantha smiled, grabbed hold of Madeleine’s wrist and pulled her back toward the changing rooms. She frantically found one and hurriedly ushered Madeleine into it. Once they were in, Madeleine turned and looked at Samantha as though she was captured by a crazed serial killer. “What on God’s green earth is going on with you Sam…” Samantha put her both arms up in the air. “Hang on, hang on. I’m not crazy.” Samantha lit up the room with a wide grin. “Crazy fun, yes! But not just crazy.”

Madeleine didn’t see the humor in any of it. Instead, she was part angry and part scared “So what’s this all about?” Samantha allowed her face to settle into a sweet smile for a short moment then she took a deep breath. “Madeleine, I asked you to come shopping with me cause I ah, I mean, I like your style. I like your personality. I just like you.” Madeleine wasn’t won over just yet. More like a little weirded out instead. She scanned Samantha carefully. Every possible inch of her. Then she focused her attention on her eyes, trying to read them for any clues about Samantha’s authenicity…or not.

Soon enough Madeleine began to share her thoughts with Samantha. Thoughtfully and slowly “Look Samantha…” She did not dare call her Sam. Not today. “…I’m just going to be straight with you. Since I moved here with my family, I’ve met girls who’ve wanted to ‘chill'” Madeleine grew very animated with air quotation marks and all. “But I got burned. I’ve even been to jail.” Samantha’s mouth fell open. Madeleine continued. “Yes. Jail. Me.” Samantha lowered her head briefly, then leaned back against the dressing room partition and gave Madeleine her undivided attention again. “I was desperate to fit in then, but not anymore. Even my friendship with Devon has had major ups and downs.” Samantha slung a gigantic smile in Madeleine’s direction. “What. What’s that face for?” Madeleine became antsy. Samantha just continued to smile, but no words came from her end. “What Samantha? I mention Devon, and you light up like a Christmas tree. What’s that about?”

Samantha leaned off of the dressing room partition, stepped toward Madeleine and placed her hands gently on her shoulders. “Mads it’s nothing. Really. I mean no harm. Any friend of Devon’s is a friend of mine. I just wanted to shop.”

Madeleine stepped back until she bumped into the closed dressing room door behind her. She glared at Samantha for what appeared to be thirty minutes, to an hour but was closer to a minute in reality. “Trust is hard for me to cough up these days. So if you’re not going to be honest with me, I can’t trust you. I never will. Goodbye Samantha!” Madeleine flung open the dressing room door and stomped out like a thoroughbred out of the starting gates at the Kentucky Derby.

Samantha looked on, amazed at what she had just witnessed. “Sweet Jesus!” She breathed a loud whisper. “Her wounds run deep.” She dropped her head, defeated.

LPBreakdown4B

 

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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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Life Passages XII – Revelation

Madeleine wonders aimlessly through the halls of her high school. She thought she had finally met someone who is more like herself, and unlike the “fake friends” she’d made previously. Yet Devon appears to be another disappointment…a HUGE disappointment. Well, at least according to Madeleine’s current estimation.

Devon stands at the other end of the long corridor. He is surrounded by his basketball team mates, who in chorus, excitedly recount their exploits from the afternoon before. “Man, you missed it!” said the burly, Sean. “Yeah, Dude!” The lanky Chase added. “Where were you anyway?” Chase continued.

Just as Devon is about to answer, he catches a glimpse of Madeleine walking up the crowded hallway. He ignores his team buddies, and begins to move toward her. “Hey man! Where are you going?” He hears the words being hurled toward him. Devon is severely distracted.

“Mads!…Madeleine!” Devon sprints to catch up to Madeleine before she turns the corner down a narrower walkway.

Madeleine hears her name wafting through the air, and slowly turns around in response to it. She notices Devon jogging toward her, and turns again to walk away. “Mads…I…I mean, Madeleine wait up!” Devon calls after her. Madeleine pauses, and slowly swivels toward him. She observes him briefly and tries not to laugh. She thinks the athlete’s  breathless running is sort of hilarious “What Devon? …What is it?” She says, portraying displeasure, and trying to stifle her laughter. “Oh c’mon! Are you still mad at me?” Madeleine shoots Devon a sharp look. “What do you think, genius?” She tells him forcibly. Devon’s eyes widen. “Madeleine, I said I was Sorry! What else do you really want from me?” Madeleine is surprised at how flustered Devon is becoming.

Madeleine thinks quickly. “Is Devon really getting upset about my not ‘surrendering’ to his apology?” Madeleine analyzes Devon’s face. Devon then realizes that Madeleine has stopped speaking, and is staring at him. This somehow calms him. “Mads, look…I…uh…I am not used to having a…um, a Girl for a friend.” Devon spits out awkwardly. “I may hang with the Jocks fine, but deep down I’m a comic book nerd whose trying to balance it all, and just make it through High School without any drama.”

Madeleine bursts out into laughter. Devon is flabbergasted. “What the heck is so funny?” Madeleine laughs harder. Devon continues to question her, even plead with her to explain but her laughter grows uncontrollable. Eventually Madeleine talks through her spastic giggles. “I’m sorry…I see it now…” Madeleine begins. “You come across as this tough jock, but there’s someone else hiding in there.” Devon bows, then shakes his head. “Umph! Well, at least you’re laughing…even if it is at me…it’s an improvement on your previous attitude.”

Madeleine laughs harder and turns again to walk down the narrower hallway to her class. Devon follows, then walks alongside her. “Meet you at Solomon’s bookstore after school?” Devon asks. Madeleine ponders briefly, then asks. “What about B-ball practice?” Devon smiles broadly in response. “I figure, you’ll get so caught up with the leather backs, that you’ll still be there.” Madeleine stifles a giggle, and straightens her expression. “We’ll see…” She tells Devon casually, and appearing aloof. Devon smiles confidently. “See you after school Mads!” Devon tells Madeleine, nods,  then tears apart from walking alongside her to head to his first class for the day.

To Be Continued…

HS-Hallway

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