“Sarah, look at this.” Linda slowed her vehicle to a crawl and nodded toward a massive house with several neat rows of miniature roses.
The woman kneeling in the garden was so absorbed with pulling weeds that she neither raised her head in acknowledgment of Linda and Sarah nor gave much thought to the wispy winds promising to dislodge her hat.
Sections of her wooden fence leaned outward. Grass had grown ankle deep. Pristine acreage owned by neighbors flanking both sides of her property made the woman’s land appear run-down.
Linda imagined the roses were all that remained of the woman’s former life, one once filled with love and happiness, joy and contentment, all ruined by betrayal.
Sarah stopped rummaging through her purse and stared at the figure. “How does she do it?”
“That’s what I want to know. If my husband had left me for another woman, especially if she were my best friend, I’d spit fire.”
Sarah unscrewed a pill bottle and popped a capsule in her mouth. She closed her eyes, exhaled, and then sat back. “Let’s go. It’s not fair to sit here and pick her life apart.”
“What you taking?”
“Tylenol PM. I have a terrible headache.”
Linda blew at her straggly bangs as she picked up speed and drove away. “I’m thankful I’ve never been through anything like that.”
“We’ve all gone through something, to one degree or another.”
Sarah snapped her purse shut and struggled to see through a blob of moisture, overcome by the direction her life had taken. A tear escaped anyway.
“What have you been through? You have a fine home, a hunk of a husband, and three of the most beautiful children I’ve ever laid eyes on. You’ve got everything.”
Linda eased on her brakes as she approached a stop sign then flipped her left turn signal. “You even have a driver.” Linda bobbed her head, wiggled her shoulders, and sung, “I’m driving Miss Daisy, ya’ll. I’m driving Miss Daisy.”
“Oh, shut up.”
“You know it’s true. You do have everything.”
“Not everything,” Sarah mumbled.
“I never hear you complain. Why would anyone who lives in a six bedroom house that’s perched on forty acres complain anyhow?”
“I have trials. Who doesn’t?”
“Oh, c’mon. How would you like to sit in my seat? I haven’t had much time to myself for a while. Jake is always out of town, leaving me to care for Charly all by myself. Sometimes her seizures last off and on for hours. By the end of the day, I’m worn out.” Linda stretched her eyes. “You want to switch places?”
“Humph. I don’t think you’d like to be in my seat, dear friend.”
“Please don’t go all whiny on me. It doesn’t become you. Besides, there’s no one in this entire town who has it as well as you do. By the way, where do you want to have lunch? I thought we might stop and eat a hamburger at Freddie’s Hamburger Joint before we go to your shop.”
“A hamburger sounds great.”
During the five mile stretch to Freddie’s, Sarah propped her elbow on the car’s window ledge and gnawed on a fingernail. She reflected on her disastrous week while Linda hummed one spiritual tune after another to escape to her own corner of the world.
Sarah rubbed the bump in the bend of her arm, angry it had taken phlebotomists more than twice to tap into a vein. All the advice offered to alleviate the painful sticks never worked. Someone once told her to drink plenty of water the day before giving blood.
Sarah rolled her eyes as she recalled the episode. It took almost two hours to retrieve blood because of her many trips to the bathroom.
After an acquaintance urged her to exercise and use a warm compress, she gave up because it sounded outright ridiculous.
“Have you lost your ability to hear?”
Sarah winced in pain. “Why are you so violent? That hurts.” Sarah massaged her arm. Linda had one powerful backhand.
“I’ve been talking to you for the last five minutes.”
“Guess my mind was somewhere else.”
“I was asking if you want a root beer float with your burger. And I was hope-hope-hoping you’d have enough pity on me to invite Charly and I to dinner tonight. It would be payback for driving all the way out here to pick you up. Hint. Hint.
Anyway, Jake is out of town and I’m trying to avoid the kitchen. Charly won’t care what we eat. And she’d love to see the kids. I can bring the drinks if that’ll help.”
“I’ll be tuckered out by the time we get the shop cleaned up and the yarn priced and put away. I’m expecting a large shipment and I don’t think I’ll have any energy once we’re done. Next week I have two satellite meetings scheduled—one at eight in the morning; another at two o’clock.”
Sarah pushed against the headrest. “If I don’t get the new girl trained on the register, I’ll be right back where I started . . . my store in a mess and my shipping and billing backed up.”
“This is really sad. We both live smack dab in the heart of Jacksonville but seems we’re passing each other in the night.”
“Next time we’ll do something fun, okay?” To appease her friend, Sarah added, “You’ve always wanted to go to the Tea Room in Orlando. Let’s plan to go in early spring. Or we can take a family vacation to Miami Beach this summer like we did three years ago.”
“I’d settle for a simple cup of coffee and good conversation, Sarah. Is it really that hard? Does everything need to be so detailed and well-planned out? Coffee and conversation—how hard can it be?”
Linda pulled into the parking lot of Freddie’s Hamburger Joint and parked, but kept the engine running. “We used to sit and have coffee for an hour every day once we got the kids off to school. Now I’m lucky to see you once a month. What’s going on? And please don’t blame it on the store. It’s a cover and I know it.”
Geez! Sarah squeezed the door handle and started to exit the car, hoping for a quick escape, but Linda grabbed her arm.
“Oh, no. I need you to talk to me.” Linda folded her arms across her chest. “I know I talk too much, but I see what’s going on here. You’re not yourself. You seem—what’s the word?—evasive.”
Linda gently squeezed Sarah’s forearm. “Have I done something to offend you? Have I put my foot in my mouth and you’re afraid to tell me?”
“I’m just tired. Maybe I’m too preoccupied with the store, the kids, Michael, and the upkeep of the house.”
Sarah turned away. “I guess I am.”
“Why do I get the feeling there’s more to this?”
“Why would I lie?”
“Remember what happened two years ago?”
TO BE CONTINUED
Be sure to read Part 2 of
“A Betrayal of Trust”
by Donna B. Comeaux in the November 2017 issue of RUBY magazine!
Donna B. Comeaux has been writing for the RUBY Magazine (http://rubyforwomen.com) since 2013. In 2014, Donna wrote devotionals for Hopeful Living, a publication designed to encourage senior citizens, and for Believer Life. Her website is located at: www.awriterfirst.wordpress.com. Not only will you find other inspirational stories on her website, you will also find tips for writers, devotionals, and a few of Donna’s political views as well. Donna and her husband, Glenn, have two grown sons and eight grandchildren. They reside in Oklahoma.