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Ara 20

A Wounded Dove

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Screams emanated throughout the room echoing off the walls filling the house with that unmistakable feeling of tension and anger. Jen and Scott would scream at each other all the time unable to communicate. It seemed that most of the time their arguments were about nothing of any importance. It was just that their inability to communicate with each other had caused small things to become bigger or more of a problem then they would ordinarily be. The truth was that they never agreed on anything anymore and peace was something that seemed to be impossible. The children would lock themselves in their rooms and play their music and video games trying to drown out the sounds of their parents. The children were used to the arguing, but that did not mean they enjoyed hearing it on a daily basis. They much preferred to pretend they were oblivious to what was happening. It was almost as if they thought that ignoring it all would make the fighting stop.

Jen, (the mother) was sorry about the home environment that her kids were growing up in, but she could not see any alternative. She was in no way ready or strong enough to pack up her things and leave. Even though she knew that her husband Scott didn’t care about her anymore there were other things that made her stay. There were her children whom she adored and loved, and the nice house with all her things. She also felt that staying with her husband preserved the family unit. However, that was not the case because the house was obviously no more then a broken home. People may argue this, but sometimes she wondered; isn’t divorce better than a harsh and angry marriage in a home filled with negative emotions? She also wondered; would her children not rather see their parents separate and with some sense of peace, than together and filled with resentment? In addition to the children there was the style of life with the country club membership and the circle of friends, which included the dinner parties.

It was these things that Jen held onto desperately trying to milk every ounce of satisfaction that they gave her. However the satisfaction was slim to none. Her house was not a home and had not been for years. So yes she had lots of accessories and things, but she would rather have her husband love her. However, that just wasn’t happening. He didn’t even respect her anymore. It was as if he had put her in her place a long time ago and this she knew. It wasn’t to say she was content to be there, but rather that she just couldn’t build up the courage to stand her ground. To say I won’t take it anymore; either treat me with some respect or I am out of here. She would always talk about how this time he had gone too far and that if it didn’t get better she would be out of there. But it was always just talk and never anything more. For in reality she never had the courage to see it through, and beyond that she still loved her husband. Even after everything he had done and put her through, she still loved him.

Truthfully she was in love with the man that he used to be. The one she had fallen in love with. She would think back to how they had met all those years ago. She had been a young woman at a university and in her opinion prettier and more confident. She had been in the line at the dining hall when he had walked by with his football buddies. He had looked at her and smiled and she was taken by his handsome face and presence. He had been tall and strong and with this blonde hair and baby blue eyes. All of her friends had turned their heads and said wow when he had smiled at Jen.

“He is so gorgeous,” one of them said.

“He is quite handsome,” Jen said with an excited giggle.

Scott and his friends had their own little conversation.

“Who is that pretty girl?” Scott asked?

“That’s Jen, she’s a friend of my girl Katie,” one of his friends stated.

An introduction was soon arranged and thus their courtship started. Scott had been sweet and such a gentleman during that time. Plus he was a handsome football star and this allowed Jen big access into the social scene, and significantly elevated her status. They had been exclusive all through college and one of the most recognized couples on campus. It had been a wonderful time in her life and she longed for those days. She longed for them with all she had. Jen remembered senior year homecoming. It had been a brisk fall day as she sat in the stands watching the big game. Scott had scored the winning touchdown and the crowd had gone wild. Later that evening they had been walking back from a party, where on the main quad, by the light of the moon and stars he got down on his knee and proposed. It had solidified the relationship they had been building over the years. She could not believe sometimes where that man had gone and who he had become. Just when had her husband transformed into the overweight and insensitive jerk that cared nothing about her feelings?

She thought also about herself and wondered when she had gotten so old? Jen found herself to be aged and unattractive as if her youthfulness bursa escort had all vanished. She would look at herself in the mirror and think; did I get too big? Are their hints of gray in my hair? Is that why he doesn’t look at me the same?” However, in truth she was only in her 40’s and still a beautiful woman underneath it all, but she just didn’t see much reason to show that anymore. She felt the efforts to take the time and preserve her beauty were simply lost on her husband and her family. No one ever took any notice and this discouraged Jen, so only on rare occasions did she allow her true beauty to shine through. However, still it was there for anyone who cared to notice. She had silky brown hair that fell about her shoulders and was soft to the touch. It looked really nice when she let it grow and be well cared for. However, sometimes she didn’t have the strength in her, and she would cut her hair short, and it with it would go all of the potential. In addition, Jen had these deep dark eyes that allowed you to look into her soul. She had become more reserved over the years and it had been a long time since she had allowed anyone to look at her that way. She also had this beautiful smile that was accented by her glistening white teeth. Her body may not have been what it used to be, but it was full and shapely. Of course there were some signs of aging and Jen dwelled on these rather on the fact that she still looked quite good considering all she dealt with on a regular basis.

But there was so much more still. Jen’s so-called friends really didn’t know who she was. What they knew was nothing more then an act in which Jen and her husband would play their respective roles. If you were to imagine them as merely actors you would have to say that they were of Oscar quality. For Scott seemed like such a regular guy with always something witty to say. But in truth behind closed doors he was no more than a pompous asshole. His muscular frame had turned to fat and flab over the years. After college Scott had thrown many of his exercise and eating habits away. He now ate what he wanted and drank too much beer and rarely exercised outside of his construction work business. Jen these days had learned to smile on the outside when she was crying on the inside. She was in no way completely innocent because no one is perfect. She knew she had somehow unwittingly contributed to her situation, but she also knew underneath it all she was a good person who just wanted to be understood and loved.

Few people knew the real Jen and the truth of what went on inside the household. Brian was one of these people who really knew Jen better than most. He liked to believe that he was a true friend to her and someone that she could count on. He had been around her and her family for quite sometime now. Their families had all met each other through common free time activities, like tennis and other sports. Brian was now a young man in his early twenties and of average height. He was not overly attractive nor would he have stood out in a crowd. However, he was lean, strong and handsome in his own way. Brian had a thick head of dark hair and blue eyes that stood out against his hair. When one first met Brian they would notice his strong hands and firm handshake.

Brian in the past had become a good friend with Jen’s oldest child Kevin who was about his age. Kevin was a nice boy, but he was very moody. Sometimes he would become upset and go off somewhere alone and pout. He would have his mini tantrum and return again sometime later like nothing had happened. He was an odd child and it was not until years later that Brian would realize why Kevin had acted the way he did, and that Kevin had only been a product of his household. Brian, his best friend Melissa and Kevin had all traveled with the same circle of friends at the time. They had spent much time together during summer camp and having parties at the houses of different people in the group of friends. They were all carefree young teenagers who had their whole lives ahead of them and they just wanted to have a good time. But much time had passed since then, things had changed and the three of them really weren’t so close anymore. The whole group had grown up and gone their separate ways. But that was really not of any importance to either of them. It was a whole separate story that would have to be told in its own time. Now Brian and Melissa were older. They had managed to stay friends over the years. Brian and Melissa had known each other almost their entire lives and there was not much that could hurt their friendship. Brian thought of her like a sister and he vowed that he would always be there for Melissa if she needed him; always as a true friend whom she could count on and nothing more or less. Brian valued friendship and he knew how hard friends like that were to find.

Over the years Melissa had been working for Jen and Scott watching the younger son and driving him around in high school and later in summer break during college. Due to the fact that she was Brian’s best friend bursa escort bayan he also became more involved with the family. Brian found himself hanging around them more and spending time at their house. Back in the beginning of it all he had noticed there was something special about Jen, but he never understood what. When they were younger the group would sometimes go to Kevin’s house. Jen would always be there with a smile on her face and a big bow in her brown hair. Brian had been too young to see through Jen’s glittery exterior. Now he knew that she had wonderful grace under pressure having survived all those years in what was obviously an unhappy marriage.

During the time that Brian spent around their family Jen became rather fond of him. To her he seemed to be a sweet and genuine young man, very different then her husband and sons. Perhaps this is what helped their friendship to grow. She had seen Brian grow up into the kind of man she wished her sons to be; one who was compassionate and understanding, but also smart and independent. Brian was someone who did not harbor feelings of anger and was capable of expressing his emotions at the appropriate times. As Jen became closer to Brian she allowed herself to open up to him. Well, at first she simply stopped playing the role of the happy wife. Brian saw inside of her and realized that there was so much pain and hurt in her life. Her husband had stopped loving her years ago and she was still clinging to the hope that he would come around. Brian felt a need to be there for Jen to show her that someone cared. Brian felt that Jen deserved so much more that her husband was providing her. She deserved to be respected and loved. To be seen for the beautiful and desirable woman that she was.

Jen picked up on this and tried to show Brian that she appreciated his kindness. She would talk to him about her life when they were alone.

“Things have been pretty bad these days,” she would say.

“You don’t have to tell me Jen, I have been here, I have eyes,” Brian would say.

“Yeah, I know you hear the arguing. It is so embarrassing.”

“Well what do you plan to do about it?”

“I have no idea. I can’t leave him, I do know that much,” she would say with a sigh.

“Well, that’s your choice, I guess,” Brian would say redirecting the conversation.

Jen would confide in Brian but only to a certain degree. She would make references to actions, events, and things said. She would never go into detail and never become overly emotional. However, she did not need to tell Brian all the details because he knew all too well how it was for Jen. Jen never could hide the truth from Brian because he had been witness to one too many arguments. After his presence became more common place in the house, Scott no longer felt the need to contain himself around Brian, and the true colors of their marriage started to show. This was most likely why Jen felt so close and comfortable with Brian because he knew who she was on the inside, and the outside, and how distinct those two personalities were.

Sometimes Brian would come to ride the horses with Melissa and Jen would say “he’s not here,” signaling she wanted to talk, and they would sit, Brian listening, while she vented. Sometimes he would offer Jen his hand and she would take it holding it ever so gently. When he had to leave she would give him a loving hug and softly kiss his cheek.

“Can’t you stay awhile longer?” she would ask.

“I have to get home and get ready for work, as I am on evening shift today,” Brian would say.

“Well, you are coming back tomorrow sometime right?” she would add, showing her desire to spend more time together.

“Not sure what my plans are or what Melissa is up to,” Brian would answer, not sure if he should commit or show excitement at seeing her again.

These conversations and requests for visits gave Brian mixed emotions because he really cared about Jen, but he also knew that inside she was still attached to her husband. He wanted to protect her, but he also knew that he could not force her to make any decisions that she was not ready for. The decisions could only be made when she was able to deal with the consequences. But still he stayed by her side as the friend that she could lean on.

However, at times he wondered what Jen wanted from their friendship and where it was headed. Did she want more than he was offering? Was that the reason for all her small gestures of affection? Or was it simply that she was happy that someone actually cared? Brian often found himself contemplating Jen’s actions and her feelings towards him. Brian had no doubt that there were emotions of some kind present between the two of them. He just was not clear about the depth of these emotions. Brian was also at the time scared to discover any hidden truth in those emotions. Jen’s marriage and home situation were very volatile and anything happening would have been disastrous to say the least. That was not even including the reactions of his friend Melissa and escort bursa both of their families. The whole dynamic that had been established over the years would have been forever broken if they started any kind of relationship, and Brian was not sure he wanted to be responsible for that.

With the passing years Jen’s younger son (Billy) had grown in age and Melissa and Brian begun to treat him as more of an equal. He was about 5 years younger but often times tried to be mature and polite. The three of them would spend late nights together at the house watching movies and playing video games. They always had good times together and enjoyed those times. Brian and Melissa wanted to provide Billy with times when he could forget about his parents and just have fun. Billy was a typical teenager who had his friends and his parties and pushed the limits at times. He was also a really good person at heart and that was obvious to Melissa and to Brian. Since the oldest son Kevin had all but cut ties with Melissa and Brian, Billy became the one that they were friendlier with. On nights when neither of them had the energy to drive home they would just crash there.

Brian never minded this and he enjoyed the mornings where he would wake up early and go to the kitchen. Soon after Jen would come in wearing her nightgown and they would talk as she fussed over breakfast.

“Good morning, Jen,” he would say as he waited for the pot of coffee to finish brewing.

“Morning Brian, you’re up early,” she would say with a smile, knowing full well it was for her benefit.

Jen looked so beautiful to Brian even before she had bothered to fix herself up. It was her natural beauty that he noticed. Her dark eyes, soft face and the way her hair fell recklessly around her face. That was Jen in the truest and most basic sense and Brian appreciated that side of her. Jen always felt relaxed and never felt the need to prepare herself in any manner for Brian. He doesn’t care that I look a mess, he likes me just the way I am, she would reason. This feeling of peace mixed with the aroma of cinnamon buns in the air was quite pleasant to Brian. It had all started to become quite common and comfortable for both of them. His presence at the house was never questioned by anyone and that summer he was just around most of the time. During those mornings no one else would be awake for a good while and the two of them enjoyed spending this private time together. Before everyone else emerged and before the inevitable tension began to rise around all of them. Those times were special to them and always much too short. They would talk over coffee and Jen would be relaxed and more like the person Brian imagined she could be under different circumstances. The person that he believed needed to come to Jen’s surface and replace this mask that she had been choosing to wear.

One of those many nights when Brian and Melissa stayed over ended in a way that would change their lives forever.

“Come riding today,” Melissa said to Brian over the phone.

“Sure, but don’t you have to drive Billy around today?”

“No, I dropped him off with friends for the day. I won’t pick him up until much later. Plus you’re off work right?”

“Ok, I’ll head that way soon. Yes I am off.”

Melissa and Brian would go to the house and ride the horses and hang out. There was this cozy barn and this whole beautiful field that almost never got used. The children hardly rode anymore and the horses needed the exercise. The free use of the grounds was very enticing to Brian and Melissa who loved horses. They would get the horses ready and ride them around the field running, jumping and feeling free.

“Jen and Scott are having a party tonight, we should offer to help,” Melissa said.

“I don’t know, you know how Scott gets about these parties,” Brian replied.

“All the more reason to help, Jen will need our support,” Melissa added.

“That is true, so I guess I’m in,” Brian answered.

The usually bickering went on between Jen and Scott as he hounded her about the preparations. It had been his idea to have the party, but somehow it was her fault that nothing seemed to be coming together the way he wanted. It was always her fault because Scott was never wrong.

After the work was done the guests arrived and dinner was served. Usually Brian and Melissa would eat with any of the younger crowd that was around. That was just how it was when they ate and Brian understood this. The meal was the more serious part of the dinner party scene. But afterwards Jen would always offer Brian a seat right next to her. He would join the conversation and notice how she would eventually be smiling, laughing and have her arm around the top of his chair. She looked almost happy during those moments. But if he looked close at her face he could see the tears waiting to come out; especially on this night when she had put on such a good show for her willing audience. They of course had unknowingly enjoyed every moment. It was as if they should have stood up and applauded while Jen and Scott took their bows. Later that night the guests all left and he had helped them clean up. When they had a moment to themselves Brian asked Jen what was troubling her so. She whispered to him:

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