A Short Story


Valentine’s Day was spent in tears at a perfectly set table filled with married couples that silently wondered who Isobel’s date was or if he was coming at all. The tears weren’t easily detected because Isobel would excuse herself as they welled up on the way to the restroom. She was attractive, talented, and full of life but she couldn’t figure out why she seemed to be destined to end up alone. She looked in the mirror and told herself that she was worth more than what she was on the receiving end of while she dried her eyes and touched up her makeup in the ladies room. As she made her through the maze of tables back to her seat, she squared her shoulders, took a deep breath, and decided to keep living in the midst of all the pain. Isobel had been through this kind of disappointment before. This was a mere hiccup compared to the other relationships filled with abuse, mistrust, and infidelity. She would make it through just fine.

As she played the games for evening, she began to think about how much she loved the young man who chose another activity, although an important one, over the evening that was planned for two months. She was deeply in love with him. For the first time in her life she had a relationship that hadn’t gotten physical at all. She could genuinely say that the love they shared was pure and untainted. She really didn’t understand why this was happening since they hadn’t clouded the mixture with sex. It was equally important to both of them to avoid the physical in order to become aquatinted with the real person. He remained honorable as did she on every encounter.

Isobel decided to dance the night away and get her money’s worth for the evening even if she was alone. She laughed with other single persons who attended the event, but became quite testy when a young man asked her the question she managed to avoid the entire evening.

“Where is your date?”

Isobel simply replied, “Please. Don’t start with me”. She walked off confidently, but began to well up again. She didn’t make it to the restroom this time because her mother and father stopped her at the door. Her father simply stared at her and said,
“I don’t know how he could pass up an evening with you on an important night like this. I would have never done your mother like that”.

Isobel didn’t want to cry or allow her parents to see her cry, but she burst into tears immediately. As she gripped his shoulder she kept repeating

“I’m so tired… I’m so tired…I’m so tired”.

Tired was an understatement. Isobel was heartbroken. She loved him with her whole heart and she placed it out there for safe keeping again. Was love supposed to be like this? Was she an idealist romantic? Perhaps she was but she continued to believe that no matter what the situation seemed like tonight, they were meant to be together. They were perfect together. They had so many things in common. It would be an injustice if they ended up apart.

Thoughts ran rapid for the remainder of the evening, but in spite of her disappointment, she actually had a good time. Upon her arrival at home, she changed her clothes, picked out her favorite chick flick, placed the DVD in the player, and settled in hoping to hear from him. She comforted herself with the fact that he would call the next day.

Several weeks went by and she hadn’t received a phone call. Several months went by and Isobel finally gave up on the relationship. It ended on a Valentine’s Day. Was she not sensitive enough to the situation? Didn’t she care for him? Had she not expressed her love for him in a way that he could understand? So many questions entered and exited her mind.

She poured herself into her work in the subsequent months of silence until that one day she received a phone call from his sister.
“Isobel, it’s urgent. Please call me back a.s.a.p.”
She wondered what could be so urgent. She decided to call back.
“We need you Izzy. Our special guest was unable to make it to the concert and we need someone to fill in his place”.
“No problem. I can make it. Let me rearrange some things on my schedule, put my dress back on and I’ll be on the road in about 20 minutes”.
The drive to Harpersville would take roughly two hours. She stopped by the Shell to get gas and she was off down Highway 20 to Harpersville. Isobel often rode alone so she had enough music to occupy her mind on the drive. She had to select carefully because she knew that a trip to Harpersville would undoubtedly lead her to cross his path. He would be the musician for the concert. She spoke to herself in the visor mirror.

“You are a beautiful and talented young lady. You are a catch. He missed out. You are strong and you can handle this”.

She sang the entire way down there and arrived in well under two hours. Upon her arrival, she was swept into the sanctuary and into the holding room to prepare. The entire concert was at a halt waiting for her to arrive. She was nervous which was rare for Isobel, but she pressed her way through. His father entered the room.
“Slow down. Take your time getting ready. Relax for a minute. We’ll wait on you”.
That was good to hear. She peered through a crack in the doorway. He was perched on the keyboard looking handsome.

“You can do this girl”, she said as she opened the door to make her presence known.

Isobel didn’t employ a band when she sang because she had her musical tracks on CD. The CD player in the church was malfunctioning that day. The tracks were skipping and the house sound wasn’t the greatest. She ended up singing a song that began as accapella. He recognized the song that Isobel was singing and picked up the key quickly. The music that they made together was fabulous. He followed her as she worshiped the Lord in song. The next songs that she ministered were along with the CD accompaniment. She could feel his eyes staring at her while she sang.

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