Lora’s Lesson – A Short Story – Part 10

Lora asked tentatively, “Do you think that she would want to talk to me? For years I’ve not taken her calls and returned her mail and never answered the door when she came.” Diane assured, “Lora, Lynn forgave you ages ago and her fervent prayer has been that you would forgive her and welcome her and Ken into your life.” A relieved Lora stated, “Do you think that she and Ken would be available today? I really don’t want to wait, our relationship has been horrible long enough.” Diane smiled, “Why don’t you call her cell?” “It is the same number?” Lora admitted sheepishly, “After four years of no contact I’ve forgotten her number.” Diane replied, “I understand give me your cell and I’ll dial it so it will be on your phone.” As the phone rang Lora’s nerves were beginning to get the best of her, but she took a deep breath and mustered up all the courage she could find. Finally Lynn answered and Lora responded tentatively, “Lynn, its Lora I was wondering if I could talk to you and Ken today?” Lynn was ecstatic to hear Lora’s voice, “Sure Lora, how about coming over for dinner at 6 pm? Ken and I have been doing yard work all day so that will give us a chance to clean up and change. I already had a menu planned that was going to leave lots of leftovers so you’re more than welcome. Oh, you don’t know where we live do you.” “No.” answered Lora. “We live at 1425 Randolph St., isn’t that a hoot that the Randolph’s live on Randolph St. When we found the house I fought against it just because of the street name but in the end the house won me over it is so perfect for us. Well I look forward to seeing you at six. Do you need directions or can you find it by the address?” gushed Lynn. Lora laughed to herself, “No, I’m good my car has a GPS.” “Okay then we will be looking forward to seeing you.” As Lora got off the phone she couldn’t help but think that Lynn sounded like the girl she knew so very long ago. The one she first met and knew until Curtis got his hands on her. Up until this moment she had never realized just how much that night changed her. She couldn’t help but smile at the thought of seeing the old friend that had been gone for so long. Then she remembered her talk with Diane. She couldn’t help but wonder what Lynn would be seeing in her. She prayed a quick prayer that it wouldn’t be bitterness and coldness.

Six pm came and as usual Lora was right on time and a bit apprehensive about the night. When she got to the house she noticed it was a modest ranch style home. The stucco was painted a grayish Wedgewood blue, the door, shutters and eves were dark slate blue with white on the wood pane windows and garage door. The yard was immaculate. It had gray slate slabs for the walkway from the sidewalk to the front door and wrapped to the right side of the house where a rod iron bench stood. Tree roses flanked the walkway to the front door and driveway. Either side of the walkway was a fresh cut lawn the aroma was still in the air. There was a window box under the kitchen window filled with herbs. There were pot lights that accented all the right areas. As Lora walked up this very welcoming walkway she couldn’t help but compare the sterile atmosphere of her modern condo and become a little jealous. Once inside the smells of dinner and the friendly host and hostess completed the feeling of being welcomed.

“Dinner will be ready in 10 minutes. Would you like some wine while we wait?” Lynn said gaily. “Yes that would be lovely” replied Lora, “What are we having? It smells absolutely delicious.” “Oh it’s a dish I created. I call it Polynesian Stuffed Pork, the stuffing is brown rice with apple, crushed pineapple, white currants and dried cranberries with a sauce of Teriyaki, orange juice, apple juice, and pineapple juice. Some of the sauce goes in the stuffing but most of it is thickened and poured on the pork then the remainder is used for gravy.” Lora smiled, “It’s hard to imagine that the girl who barely ate in college is now creating her own gourmet recipes.” “Well I wouldn’t call them gourmet but I do have a lot of fun cooking now. I’ve changed a lot in many ways. Lora I’m not the same girl that you used to know.” Lynn confessed. “I can see that Lynn. It’s like you’re the old Lynn I first knew the one that was carefree and happy. The girl I knew before that awful New Year’s night. That’s what I wanted to talk to you and Ken about. Can the two of you sit down for a minute?” Ken and Lynn sat beside each other on the love seat. Lora sat opposite them and continued. “Thanks. The reason I wanted to see you is because I realize that I did a horrible thing to you by betraying your trust and I want to ask the two of you if you can find it in your heart to one day forgive me. No matter how mad I was at the time, my actions were inexcusable and I don’t blame you if it would take a long time for you to forgive me, but that’s okay I can wait.” Ken looked at Lynn and smiled, knowing how much this meant to her. Lynn responded, “Oh, Lora I can’t tell you how long I have wanted to talk to you to ask your forgiveness for hurting you. I wanted your blessing on Ken and mine’s relationship but things had gone so far that I couldn’t just give him up. The only thing I could do is hope that someday you would find it in your heart to forgive me. Of course I forgive you. Actually what you did is what started the change in me that you now see. I had stuffed all that pain inside me and it was eating away at me. It gnawed at my heart; I was acting out in my eating though I didn’t want to admit it at first. I’ve been doing a lot of work to get to where I am today and it all started with being forced out of hiding. You did that for me. Yes it was in a very painful way at the time, but God turned it to my good. I’m a better woman for it, as you have seen. So the question I must now ask my dear friend is, can you forgive me?” Lora astonished and relieved said, “Of course I can forgive you, but are you really sure everything is alright with us?” Lynn smiled, “My dear sister come with me.” She walked her down the hall to the bedrooms. As she got to the intended door she turned and put her finger to her lips and said, “Ssshhhh” She opened the door quietly and motioned for Lora to follow her into the dark room. Coming to a crib Lynn motioned and said, “This dear sister is your niece, her name is Lora Diane Randolph; honoring the two ladies that helped me rediscover the person God made me to be.”

Lora’s Lesson – A Short Story – Part 4

They both went to the local University and there met Diane. They all took the same general education, biology class. They would meet in study rooms in the Library. Diane had a natural talent for biology where Lora grasped it fairly well, but Lynn struggled with it. Diane was intelligent, wise, discerning, compassionate, thoughtful, funny, a good cook, pleasant to look at and an excellent listener, and she was rather popular. In dorm life those that were intelligent, listened and could cook lent themselves to popularity. Diane also had a deep abiding love for God. It was her discernment and wisdom that kept her from being black balled for her beliefs. She knew when to speak and what to say and when to listen and pray. This became an endearing quality in her. Diane had a very special affinity for Lora and Lynn. All three lived in the dorm and quickly became inseparable. Diane could tell that something was deeply disturbing Lynn but despite all her prayers for an opening she never found the right time to ask Lynn what weighed her down. The Sisters Three, as they grew to call themselves, graduated college. Lora had interned with a prominent advertising firm and had a job waiting for her upon graduation. Lynn had majored in education and was hired as an English teacher at a Jefferson High School. Diane had majored in nursing with an interest in psychology. Sisters Three would have weekly lunches varying on Diane’s schedule at the hospital.

Lora and Lynn frequented bars in an attempt to meet men. One night Lora met a guy named Rob. There was an instant connection. Lynn was not nearby when they met. She was busy talking to another man, Rob walked by and Lynn gravitated to him immediately. She couldn’t help the feelings she was having even as she saw Lora interacting with him. She decided staying clear would be the safest thing to do. The feelings were so intense she couldn’t risk getting to know him.

The next day was their weekly lunch. Lynn ventured to ask Lora how her evening went. “At first I thought it was going places but my date Rob turned out to be a disappointment. “Just a one night stand?” Lynn inquired, “What made him such a disappointment? And if he was a disappointment why did you sleep with him?” Lora responded, “As you know I am not ready for any kind of commitment. This guy is looking hard for Mrs. Right and I don’t want to be Mrs. Anybody. I’m all for living for the moment and having fun. He doesn’t want to do that so he’s not the guy for me.” Diane ventured, “Did you find this out before or after you slept with him?” Lynn was so grateful for Diane’s question, she wanted to ask that herself but thought that might give too much away. Lora responded indignantly, “After of course! What do you think I am? What are you getting at Diane?” Diane asked God for wisdom, discernment and love, took a deep breath and responded, “I believe when you are intimate you give part of yourself away and one day you may look back and find you’ve lost too much of yourself.” Lora turned away from the others, looking out the window, a solitary tear rolled down her check. Pondering Diane’s comment she connected the feelings of emptiness with long forgotten pieces of herself.

Knowing that Lora had no feelings for Rob Lynn mustered up her courage to ask Lora if she could pursue Rob. “Lora I know this may come as a surprise to you but when I saw Rob last night I had very strong feelings for him. I didn’t come and introduce myself because I knew the feelings were beyond my control and if I got to know him there would be no denying them. You were engaged with him and I wasn’t going to cross girlfriend boundaries. Now that I know that you have no interest in him, I’m asking for your permission to pursue him. I’m hoping that this will turn into something great but I don’t want to step on your toes.” Lora answered, “Lynn, I have no interest in the man, if you want to pursue him that is fine with me. I have his phone number would you like me to set the two of you up.” “Would you? That would be great! You can give him my phone number.” said Lynn. Their relationship never clicked it was one sided on Lynn’s part.

As close as “The Sisters Three” were their dating practices were very different. Lora was a casual dater, occasionally she would get serious about someone, but usually it was one or two dates and on to the next guy. Lynn was an old fashion girl. Yes she went to the bars with Lora but when she found someone that she was interested she hoped and prayed that he would notice her and waited for him to make the first move. In contrast Diane wanted a man who loved God so she did her looking at church, took her time and observed the man’s character to see if it was something that she desired.

Sisters Three were at a bar one night, this really wasn’t Diane’s thing but she enjoyed the company and was the designated driver incase Lynn decided to drink. At their table they had a great view of the majority of the patrons of the bar. Lynn immediately noticed a man with an enchanting smile, luscious deep brown hair meticulously coiffed. His eyes danced as he laughed at the joke he had told the woman he was standing beside. He was dressed in Florshiems (reminiscent of her father’s favorite shoe), dark jeans, a lavender dress shirt with a v-neck sweater that had yellow trim accents on the v-neck and cuffs. As Lynn drank in the sight she couldn’t help but think that this was not only a man that knew how to dress but was very assured of himself, two qualities she found very attractive. She checked herself in her mirror, was she presentable enough to catch his eye? Oh, how she hoped that he might notice her. Much to her dismay later in the night Lora set her sights on him. She flirted enough to get him to come to their table. Lynn wished so that he would notice her and he did but only after being entangled by Lora, she could be possessive when she wanted.

He introduced himself as Kenneth Randolph. Lora had commented, “Please join us. That’s a rather peculiar last name is there an interesting story behind it?” putting her hand on his forearm. “Well,” started Kenneth, “some might say it’s interesting. My great great grandfather fought in World War I. He was found in Germany by the Brits, unconscious with no dog tags; no helmet, only an American uniform on. They took him to one of their hospitals and all he did was mumble Kenneth Randolph. They figured this was his name and wrote to the American Authorities to see if they could find his family – none was ever found neither was any recruit by the name of Kenneth Randolph. He spoke perfect English in his mumblings and never any other language so no one even considered that he might be a spy. When he finally awoke they greeted him as Kenneth but he had no recollection of that name or for that matter any name. They worked with him for nearly a year trying to help him to regain his memory, but, he finally gave up and took the name Kenneth Randolph. My dad wanted to honor all he did for our country and all he lost in the process so after all these years I’m the first to bear his name” “How thoughtful and loving of your father.” said Lynn. “It looks like you work out. Where do you go?” quipped Lora. “I go to the YMCA near my place” responded Kenneth. “Well, it has given you a great physique.” flirted Lora.

Lora continued flirting with Kenneth and after 30 minutes of this Lynn could see that it was useless to think she could get his attention. She did question herself, “Did he really look at me and smile? Was that a wink he gave in my direction? Surely I must have been mistaken. He’s flirting with Lora, if he were interested in me surely he would approach me rather than continuing with her.” Lynn couldn’t take any more of this, it was too painful, so she turned to Diane and asked, “Would you mind taking me home? I’m ready to call it a night.” Diane responded, “Sure Lynn no problem. Bye Kenneth nice to meet you. See you soon Lora.” “It was nice to meet the two of you.” Kenneth said. “Bye.” Lora gushed. Kenneth watched as the two left, he couldn’t help but feel this night had somehow gone terribly wrong.

Realizing that Lora may have no way home Kenneth asked, “Did the three of you come together?” “Yes” smiled Lora as if he had fallen into a trap. “I guess you’ll just have to take me home.” Kenneth responded casually and cautiously, “Taking you home would indeed be the gentlemanly thing to do. Shall we go?” Lora was beside herself with her good luck. This scheme hadn’t always worked but when it did it was always to her satisfaction.

On the ride home the conversation going on in the two minds couldn’t be more different. Lora was thinking, “He’ll open my door. We’ll walk up to my condo and I’ll invite him in for a night cap and then the fun will begin.” Kenneth was thinking, “I hope she isn’t expecting anything. Although some flirting is fun this girl is just to forward for me. I can’t wait for this evening to end. I’ll take her home; make sure she gets in safe and leave.”

Once at her condo he opened the door to his car for her and walked her up to the front of the high rise complex. He stopped at the door and thanked her for the evening. Lora was stunned, “Don’t you want to come up?” Not wanting to be rude Kenneth rationalized, “It’s getting late. I just want to go home.” Lora wanted more from Kenneth than just a night of innocent flirting, “Well, don’t forget to take my number so we can get together again.” Lora handed Kenneth her business card, turned it over and wrote her cell and home numbers on the back. Kenneth thought boy this girl is pushy she isn’t even letting me make the move, she is not the girl for me, so he just said, “Thanks,” turned towards his car quipped, “I had a nice time, bye.” and got into his car and drove off.

As Kenneth was driving off reflecting on the evening he realized that although he had enjoyed the compliments Lora was giving him and the flirting they did all evening he couldn’t help but think of the sweet Lynn who had gone home with quiet Diane. How was he going to get in contact with her without going through Lora?

Lora’s Lesson – A Short Story – Part 1

If you had asked Lora she would have told you that there was nothing wrong with her. In her eyes she was perfectly alright and in no need of change. But if you asked those close to her they might have said, “She can be cold and prickly.” Or “Sometimes she seems rather hard.” Only one person really might have understood her. One who had been so close at one time that instead of calling each other friends they referred to one another as sisters. But Lynn had been out of the picture for over four years now.

Lora was a conscientious employee and worked very hard for nine years but in the past four years she had become more and more cantankerous, and critical, often blowing up over minor mistakes by fellow employees. In fact lately the other employees had started to avoid her. She’s noticed that she was spending more lunches alone. Puzzled by this, she couldn’t put her finger on the reason why. She had always seen herself as gregarious and outgoing and a lot of fun, all of which were true as long as you didn’t cross her. It was sometimes very tricky to pinpoint what she’s had done. She was very charismatic and cut you with humor while smiling all the time. While you’re left wondering what just happened?

Lora didn’t always abuse her charisma. In fact it is was what attracted Lynn to her in the first place, as well as her humor, playfulness, compassion, loyalty and empathy. Lynn’s heart broke when the friendship fell apart. She has been hoping that they could find a way to reconcile. Her nightly prayer was; “Lord, I know what I did was wrong and I have asked Your forgiveness, which I thank You for giving me. Father, I have tried to speak to Lora to apologize and ask her forgiveness but she won’t take my calls; she returns my mail and refuses to open the door when I go to her house. Lord, please soften her heart that she would be willing to accept my apology and that our friendship would be restored. I so miss the old Lora.”

The two women had been friends since that first day of first grade. They met on the play ground when bullies were taunting Lynn a spunky and feisty Lora came to her rescue. This sealed their friendship. Not that Lynn needed defending but even at that tender age Lora had a tender heart coupled with a take charge streak.

Time went on, and when the girls reached high school they blossomed into beautiful, popular, young women. They were both on the girls varsity volleyball team. Lora was of course the team captain. They were also very involved in the drama department. This is where Lynn shone. She got the lead in nearly every production, and Lora was always there to cheer her on.

In her junior year, Lynn fell madly in love with Curtis Madding the varsity quarterback. They started dating in November and things started getting serious by Christmas. She started feeling pressured to go all the way. Curtis had big plans for New Year’s Eve. When he let Lynn in on the scheme she felt half exhilarated but mostly terrified. She had visions of how the night would go; dinner at a fancy restaurant, going dancing afterwards, and then a romantic intimate encounter in the hotel room. Things were going just as Lynn had imagined. They had a lovely dinner at “Pierre’s” the most expensive restaurant in town. Curtis had arranged for fake ID’s for them and Lora and her date Tom. So after dinner the four of them met at the “Club Venice”. Lynn was apprehensive about this because she had seen Curtis overdue on alcohol before and really didn’t want to be around him when he was drunk. As she suspected the first thing Curtis did at the club was to order a beer and chasers. She went to Lora and said, “I’m getting scared, Curtis keeps drinking and he is getting more and more aggressive, and demanding. I tried to get him to stop but he pinned me against the wall. Can you and Tom please give me a ride home?” Lora was distracted by the party atmosphere had no desire to leave so she replied, “Oh, Lynn don’t be such a baby. It’ll be okay. He’ll probably just pass out and sleep it off.” Lynn asked, “Do you have your cell phone so I could call a ride home or some change for the phone?” Lora responded, “No I didn’t bring a purse with me I knew Tom would be taking care of everything. Buck up everything will be okay, your such a worry wort.” Lynn walked away feeling deflated and abandoned. She then realized that she had no money to call her mom and dad and left her cell phone charging; she realized Curtis was her only way home, perhaps she could reason with him. Deciding to numb her fears she ordered a rum and coke. She was still nursing it when midnight hit and Curtis pulled her toward him and gave her a sloppy French kiss then said, “Come on baby it’s time to go.” He grabbed Lynn’s arm hard and dragging her out of there, much to her dismay. Before she knew it she was in his truck on the way to the room. All the way she kept telling Curtis, “Please, no! I don’t want to anymore! I’ve changed my mind! Curtis, please take me home! Oh, please, please, no!” Curtis replied only once, “Look you stop being such a tease! I’ll take you home when the evening is over and it’s not over yet you bitch!”