Sure, you turned out pretty good, but is there anything you wish had been different about your childhood? If you have kids, is there anything you wish were different for them?
“You ask such loaded questions,” Valerie reacted with a hint of chilliness in her voice. “I’m not sure I want to go there.”
“I don’t mean anything by it,” Adam tried to explain innocently. “I just want to get to know you a little better, that’s all.”
Valerie shuffled in her tippy seat at the small cafe table situated on uneven paving stones and stared off into the distance. How could she tell this new lovely man in her life, with whom she’d already been so defensive, that her childhood had not been perfect. That emotional isolation and abuse had formed her and that every day she lived with the self-imposed shame that someone would find out. She took another deep breath and turned her attention back to the eager young suitor sitting opposite.
“Please forgive me, there are just some aspects of my life I’m not willing to share with you. Not yet anyway.” She curled her lips into a pout and took a sip of coffee. “We don’t know each other well enough for me to feel comfortable showing you …” she hesitated. Was the very thing she didn’t want to demonstrate about to reveal itself if she completed this spoken thought.
“Yes?” Adam looked into Valerie’s big, brown, softening eyes that both pleaded for and rejected empathy.
Valerie pinched her lips together and finally decided to take the direct route.
“Look, my childhood was troubled. I practically raised myself emotionally which is why I can be so volatile sometimes. So, if you wonder if I wish my formative years had been different I would say yes. I wish I’d had at least one emotionally stable adult in my life on a consistent basis. One I could trust. That would have made a huge difference. As it is, I’m in my 30s and still find myself floundering my way through stuff that should be really straight forward.” Trembling, she took another sip of coffee and looked him straight in the eye. “I have found that once I open myself up in this way men usually leave.”
Adam sighed. Clearly Valerie was a beautiful, yet complicated, woman. They were only on their third casual date but there was something intriguing about her, and even this obviously difficult revelation on her part could not dissuade him from pursuing her.
“You must think me shallow,” he observed sadly, his gaze never wavering. “But I assure you that as long as you’ll give me a chance, I’m not going anywhere.”
Valerie’s shoulders dropped, all tension seemingly released. She smiled weakly and struggled with her words.
“You must promise me one thing, Adam. … One thing … ”
“Yes, Valerie. Anything.”
Valerie considered for a moment. Was this a man worth giving a chance? There was only one way to find out.
“Okay, Adam, you must promise me you will always be a man of your word. That you will resist the temptation to make promises you cannot possibly keep, and never give me cause to doubt you.”
Adam watched the emotional machinations at work in Valerie’s face even though she was trying so hard to hold back. The twitching corners of her lips; the tears welling up in her eyes and spilling into pools in her mascara-laden eyelashes. Here was a tender soul searching for something he knew he could give ~ emotional strength and stability born out of love. Yes, he already knew it was love, but he had no intention of scaring her with that notion. It would wait.
“Valerie, I know we’re just starting out in our relationship,” he paused as she discreetly blew her nose and dabbed gently at the corners of her eyes, “but I want you to know that there is nothing I want more than to be a source of happiness for you. I understand you more than you know and I’m also aware, from my own experiences, of what it takes to allow yourself to be vulnerable to another. I will not abuse the trust you put in me. I promise.” Adam reached across the table for her hand and Valerie allowed him to take it.
“Thank you, Adam,” she smiled. “And I will do my best to … to be open with you. I promise.”
After a contemplative moment of silence Adam had a suggestion.
“Want to blow this popsicle stand and check out the fair in Schomberg? I hear there’s cotton candy.” He smiled widely, his eyes inviting her to step back in time and free the broken child.
Valerie’s own eyes brightened.
“Oh yes, let’s go!”
Thanks for visiting …
©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2015