Embarrassed, worried, angry, sentimental, and filled with pathos, Lewis King arrived at Gina Archer’s door. Tersely, unable to keep locking eyes with his lovely girl, he asked would she please come for a walk with him. He was not sure what he should say. Should they break up? Delay? Could they hash it all out? Elope? He honestly felt too restless to know. What was he afraid of, exactly?
At least, it was clear what he was mad about. Being mad became the gateway to all he feared, and if he followed that, this was the path to all SHE feared. But she found she wasn’t so afraid. She just didn’t want him to hurt anymore.
What he wanted to fuss about was losing control over his life. She knew that had been his only goal before she came along. She listened very patiently. It was hardly her fault her mother had interfered. It was hardly her mom’s fault that things had tipped him over from the confident place from which he had dealt with everything so certainly. But she listened patiently. That was, after all, what he had done for her.
“I know what I said I wanted out of life, and I was dead serious about it.” It didn’t occur to him, he was simply over-dosing on over-serious. What happened to his carefree demeanor? Did he feel so trapped by the very decisions he’d made freely? She really didn’t understand.
“I know I picked you, too. But I only picked you. But how are we going to live this life?”
“I’m not making my decisions based on my family. I only want to do whatever we want together.”
“Are you really ready for that?” he asked. He was feeling guilt over the direction that had not worried him for himself, but which troubled him over her well-being. “And why did I take things this far? I love you. But I just wanted to make you happy! What am I trying to do here with you?”
Maybe he was having second thoughts? She had never meant for him to feel trapped. She had only responded to the affection he gave to her. Not one promise he offered did she drag out of him. She had never tried to maneuver him into any of the beautiful things he had said.
“I could leave on the next bus if I wanted to!” he said fiercely.
“If that’s what you need to do. Fine.” She looked up at him sadly, as the first drizzle began to wet their faces. “I won’t stand in your way.”
What she simply couldn’t know was how much his family had tried to control his life, without any idea what he wanted, without much option or information about what was really out there. It was, after all, what his grandfather had done…what his in-laws had done. What someone had always tried to do, back to the days of slavery, and some dark where before. Control someone. It was the dark shadow stretching down to his every step to walk free, of what anyone else expected, of what society said, of what was cool, what made you rich, what authority did in its struggle with spirit.
He wanted to fight it with all of his being.
He raised his hand, as if to bring it down and hit her across the face. She stood her ground and looked him in the eye.
“Whatever you think you need to do.”
Lewis looked into her eyes again, those hazelnut pots of honey and compassion, as the words of her beautiful voice offered him the key to his freedom. If he had done all he was meant to do for her, nothing was stopping him.
He brought the hand down to her face…slowly. He took her chin in his hand, lovingly.
In her face, he saw someone who believed in life and freedom, too. In fact, he had shown her the way to free her own soul, without ever understanding how close to a living death she had come.
In her face, her pretty face, with those sensitive eyebrows, he saw someone willing to give him anything in her power to make him happy. It was a reflection of what she had seen in him.
In her face, he saw someone, if he left her behind, from whom he would never be free, because she was meant to find freedom by his side.
And he loved her. So very, very, achingly much.
It was her very willingness, her utter truthfulness, that she would set him free, that reminded him of the rather open-ended thing he’d said, about taking their love, day by day.
He could be free with her. In fact, without her to share freedom, he might never be the same, now that he knew she was in this world.
In his kiss, he told her she had changed him forever. In his kiss, he accepted this.
Now the rain began to insistently find its way from the sky, washing every blade of grass in refreshment. Here at the island beside the intersection, holding the yield sign, not far from the park in her village, he took her carefully to the ground with him. He held her tight, barely stopping to breath, taking kiss after kiss from her sexy lips. He let an animal compulsion free, and found his way partly out of his clothes, and freed her the same way. On the ground, they united, beneath the cool wetness all around them. On the ground, by the side of the road, with no one around, they made love. All worries, all reservations fell away. The yield sign shook in a gentle wind, as she gave of herself to him.
Fortunately, the moment ended before they were both soaked to the bone. He scooped her up as soon as she was ready, and began to dart back to her house for cover. She laughed and obligingly helped him kick the latch up on the gate so they could proceed to the porch. Smiling, he set her down at the door, where her father kindly let the two of them in.