A Clearing: Short Story (Part 2 of 3)

“Hi Mira,” he smiled.

“Hello, Daniel,” she answered warmly.  His smile gave her a good feeling.  It seemed to say, ‘I’m glad you are here.’  This was quite different from the way Brian made her feel.  His curt responses made her feel as if she irritated him in some way.

“So-o-o, Daniel,” she rolled it out slowly.  I have thirty minutes.  Talk.  Pour.  That is if you still want to talk,” she said in a perky voice.

“Oh, yes. I do.”  He carefully adjusted his position on the bed. He did not want to disturb the attachments.

“Mira.  You are a sweetheart for listening.  Somehow, I felt that you were someone who had a listening ear and I have some things that I need to get off my chest,” he added.

“Okay,” she said.

He began.  “About three years ago, I met this girl or shall I say, woman.  We became close and I eventually asked her to marry me.  She suggested that we live together first.  I did not really like the idea, but thought, Oh well.  Everybody else seems to be doing it.”

‘Like me,’ Mira thought privately.

“Things were going along fairly well until one of her old girlfriends came back into her life.  I noticed some changes in her behavior but did not think too much about it. She became more callous and had this sense of entitlement like a queen bee.

That was the first red flag, but I did not notice a big change in our routine. She seemed to talk even faster and did not give me time to think on many occasions. We were both so busy working and it was hard to pinpoint exactly what was going on.

To make a long story short, Mira, I found out that she had been defrauding me by duplicating private papers and documents and making use of them in devious ways. The details are too much to share and I am still  tied up in legal proceedings.  I guess you never really know people.  Things happened gradually but the results caused a sharp pain deep down within which contributed to my physical state. Let’s just say I got burned. I was totally caught off guard and I am still playing catch-up from her actions.

She decimated me and she broke my heart.  I thought I was a better judge of character, but obviously I was not.  I thought I knew her better than that but when it rains, it pours.  My doctor advised me to slow down and get myself together.  Otherwise, he warned me, I was headed towards some type of threatening disaster.  I heeded his warnings a little too late and here I am.  I believe that I was more into her than she was into me,” Daniel continued.

‘Obviously,’ thought Mira who crunched down on her apple as the tale was told.

“I am an only child.  Parents deceased.  No first cousins.  I thought, Debra and I would create that family,” Daniel went on.

‘Debra.  Humph,’ thought Mira as she continued to chew, never speaking a word.

She threw a handful of raisins in her mouth in an effort to remain healthy as well as to keep her thoughts to herself.  Listening to Daniel’s voice was like listening to a melody of a singing bird.  Even though it was woeful tale, there was something about his presence that had staying power.  She did not feel anxious nor in a hurry to exit the room as she often did with unhappy patients.

She compared Daniel to Brian.  Here was a man pouring out his heart.  Brian shared very little with her.  If he did, she would better understand why he was so agitated.  Daniel wanted a wife and a family.  Brian almost went berserk whenever the word marriage was mentioned.

Daniel paused and took a drink of water.  She looked at the clock and realized that her break was over and she had to return to her duties.

“Daniel. I have to get back to work.  Would you like to continue this tomorrow night?  It looks like you will be here for a while,” she said.

“I would like that very much,” he said in an exhausted voice.  It was as if the wind had gone out of him.

She packed up her things and heard a gentle snore.  She sighed and with a sense of new energy, she returned to her nightly duties. That evening, time seemed to fly by. Before she knew it, it was time to punch out and go home.

Lynn M.                                                                 Originally written: October 19, 2014

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