Touched By A Stranger – When Hope Is Gone (A Love Story)
Betty sat deep in contemplation, with the weary sun retiring to its rest as her only companion. Her feet dangled over the angry Cascara River, rushing to its demise. Eventually drowning in the monstrous ocean. Even as a child she would come here regularly in her wishful desire to become lost in time.
Filled with fascination by the rumbling waters, that seemed to possess such awesome power, while at the same time appearing so irresistibly soothing and relaxing. She would spend many an evening transposed in its hypnotic trance, as she attempted to escape the reality of all that was transpiring around her. Time had been such an evil enemy, doing all he could to destroy whatever little peace she was able, with much toil, to obtain.
Trapped In Agony
She became convinced over time that there was a Devil. There just had to be. And for some reason he was after her. Betty was sure that the entire army of Hell was on a mission to ensure that she paid every last debt for whatever evil she or her ancestors had done, either in this life or maybe even one before.
Whatever it was, she only knew that it was all out war. And she had been hit so many times she could not even begin to count. It was impossible to even try to recount all of the immensely painful and unbearable experiences she has had. She believed it was in fact quite a miracle that she was still alive and in a relatively sound state of mind.
Betty had given up on reaching out to others, because she knew that they could not understand. No one ever does. Instead, any attempt to do so, would just bring her more anguish and scorn.
She learnt the hard way, that people just don’t care about those who are treated unfairly by the cycles of life. She accepted loneliness as her companion. It was her only constant. One she could rely on to always be there.
Prayer she tried. But it became obvious to her that God had either turned His back, or was powerless to answer. So Betty just does not bother.
She hates life, but is even more petrified of death. She reasoned:
“If life could be this horrible, then what would death be like.”
It was unimaginable. To her death would be a torture chamber. A journey into the abyss. A place of eternal, excruciating anguish and abandonment. As a matter of fact, even the church says so. To her, it was quite obvious that she would not be going to heaven. She just was not worthy. She did not even go to church anymore. For her there was just no way out.
The street lights were now on and the traffic had almost completely disappeared from the streets. The only sounds that could be heard were the rumbling waters, and the barking of the abandoned dogs prowling for their supper. Reluctantly she arose to make her way to her silent abode. At least, unlike those strays, she had one.
A Stranger’s Touch
Betty shook in fear as she felt a huge hand suddenly rest on her shoulder. Her mind raced. She could not stand the thought of it happening to her again. No, not another time. She was way too petite to fight for herself. Plus, she was now weakened by the illnesses which racked her body.
Besides, she had, all but, lost her inner strength to fight. She was just not equipped.
In one nervous swivel Betty stood, gazing, straight into the stranger’s eyes. She shook like a leaf fighting to hold on to its branch in the midst of a storm.
“Sorry,” said the tall, rugged man, in a voice that almost did not match the physique. It was the gentlest, most caring male voice she’s ever heard. As she pierced into his eyes, she recognized something she had not seen in anyone else.
“I really did not mean to startle you. I’m so sorry. I’m a stranger to the city and I was wondering if you could help me.” Was his response.
Betty responded, shocked and suspicious. No one ever asks for her help, not in that manner any way.
“How may I help you sir?”
“My name is Milford,” the man replied, “and I am here for a seminar. I made a booking with the Grand View Hotel, but because of the amount of visitors in the city this weekend it was overbooked.
So, I have tried in vain to get into another hotel, but they are all fully booked and I must be here for the seminar tomorrow. Do you know of any place where I might be able to stay for the night, at least?”
Betty stared motionless, right through the stranger’s eyes for almost an eternity. Her mind racing in so many directions all at once that she became dazed. Pondering the dilemma which now confronts her. What should she say? Can she trust her instincts? Is he just another one? Somehow, amidst all the inner turmoil she just heard herself meekly responding,
“Well I do have an extra bedroom. If it’s okay with you? You could stay with me.”
She said half asking, half declaring.