Lora’s Lesson

If you had asked Lora she would have told you that there was nothing wrong with her. In her eyes she was perfectly alright and in no need of change. But if you asked those close to her they might have said, “She can be cold and prickly.” Or “Sometimes she seems rather hard.” Only one person really might have understood her. One who had been so close at one time that instead of calling each other friends they referred to one another as sisters. But Lynn had been out of the picture for over four years now.

Lora was a conscientious employee and worked very hard for nine years but in the past four years she had become more and more cantankerous, and critical, often blowing up over minor mistakes by fellow employees. In fact lately the other employees had started to avoid her. She’s noticed that she was spending more lunches alone. Puzzled by this, she couldn’t put her finger on the reason why. She had always seen herself as gregarious, outgoing and a lot of fun, all of which were true as long as you didn’t cross her. It was sometimes very tricky to pinpoint what she’d done. She was very charismatic and cut you with humor while smiling all the time. While you’re left wondering what just happened?

Lora didn’t always abuse her charisma. In fact it is was what attracted Lynn to her in the first place, as well as her humor, playfulness, compassion, loyalty and empathy. Lynn’s heart broke when their friendship fell apart. She has been hoping that they could find a way to reconcile. Her nightly prayer was; “Lord, I know what I did was wrong and I have asked Your forgiveness, which I thank You for giving me. Father, I have tried to speak to Lora to apologize and ask her forgiveness but she won’t take my calls; she returns my mail and refuses to open the door when I go to her house. Lord, please soften her heart that she would be willing to accept my apology and that our friendship would be restored. I so miss the old Lora.”

The two women had been friends since that first day of first grade. They met on the play ground when bullies were taunting Lynn a spunky and feisty Lora came to her rescue. This sealed their friendship. Not that Lynn needed defending but even at that tender age Lora had a tender heart coupled with a take charge streak.

Time went on, and when the girls reached high school they blossomed into beautiful, popular, young women. They were both on the girls varsity volleyball team. Lora was of course the team captain. They were also very involved in the drama department. This is where Lynn shone. She got the lead in nearly every production, and Lora was always there to cheer her on.

In her junior year, Lynn fell madly in love with Curtis Madding the varsity quarterback. They started dating in November and things started getting serious by Christmas. She started feeling pressured to go all the way. Curtis had big plans for New Year’s Eve. When he let Lynn in on the scheme she felt half exhilarated but mostly terrified. She had visions of how the night would go; dinner at a fancy restaurant, going dancing afterwards, and then a romantic intimate encounter in the hotel room. Things were going just as Lynn had imagined. They had a lovely dinner at “Pierre’s” the most expensive restaurant in town. Curtis had arranged for fake ID’s for them and Lora and her date Tom. So after dinner the four of them met at the “Club Venice”. Lynn was apprehensive about this because she had seen Curtis overdue on alcohol before and really didn’t want to be around him when he was drunk. As she suspected the first thing Curtis did at the club was to order a beer and chasers. She went to Lora and said, “I’m getting scared, Curtis keeps drinking and he is getting more and more aggressive, and demanding. I tried to get him to stop but he pinned me against the wall. Can you and Tom please give me a ride home?” Lora was distracted by the party atmosphere had no desire to leave so she replied, “Oh, Lynn don’t be such a baby. It’ll be okay. He’ll probably just pass out and sleep it off” Lynn pleaded, “Do you have your cell phone or can I use Tom’s phone to call my dad to pick me up?” Lora responded, “No I didn’t bring a purse with me I knew Tom would be taking care of everything and I’m not going to bother Tom with your hysteria! Honestly, buck up everything will be okay, you’re such a worry wort.” Lynn walked away feeling deflated and abandoned. She realized she was stuck, that Curtis was her only way home, perhaps she could reason with him. Deciding to numb her fears she ordered a rum and coke. She was still nursing it when midnight hit and Curtis pulled her toward him and gave her a sloppy French kiss then said, “Come on baby it’s time to go.”

He grabbed Lynn’s arm hard and dragging her out of there, much to her dismay. Before she knew it she was in his truck on the way to the motel. All the way she kept telling Curtis, “Please, no! I don’t want to anymore! I’ve changed my mind! Curtis, please take me home! Oh, please, please, no!” Curtis replied only once, “Look you stop being such a tease! I’ll take you home when the evening is over and it’s not over yet you bitch!”

They pulled into a sleazy motel on the far side of town. The parking lot was almost deserted. Curtis told Lynn to keep her trap shut or there would be hell to pay. He threatened her that while he got the key if she tried anything he would make her life a living hell. “You know that there is no way you can out run me,” he terrorized, “so don’t even try.” Once at the room, she was in such a state that she didn’t even think to lock her door before he came around opened the door and jerked her out of the truck. Again dragging her this time into the motel room, she cried, “No, no, no, please no!” Once in the room Lynn continued to try and reason with him, “You don’t really want to do this Curtis. Please think about it.” Curtis replied, “You knew that tonight was the night. You’re nothing but a tease. I held up my part of the evening. I gave you all the romance you wanted; an expensive dinner, dancing and now it’s your turn!”, as he threw her on the bed and covered her mouth to muffle her screams. Lora cried through the whole ordeal. When it was over Curtis said, “Get yourself together and I’ll take you home!” The hatred and coldness in his voice scared Lynn. She sat in utter silence all the way home. Nothing was said by either of them once the truck stopped in front of her house; she just jumped out of the vehicle and ran into the house and upstairs to her room.

Thank God mom and dad weren’t home yet, they were still celebrating. Lynn was not ready to face them. She got her night clothes and went to the bathroom for a long hot shower. She scrubbed long and hard to get the scent of Curtis off of her and wept the entire time. An hour and a half later she was in bed still weeping more softly now than when she was in the shower. She wasn’t sure how long she lay in bed trying to muffle her sobs with her pillow. Eventually she fell into a fitful sleep.

The next morning Lynn awoke in pain from the forcefulness of Curtis and exhausted. Her mom told her that Lora was on the phone, Lynn responded, “Tell her I’m not interested in talking with her.”; realizing this might make her mom curious. She added, “Tell her I’ll call her back later, I’m just too tired still.” She was conflicted, Lora was her best friend and she desperately needed someone to talk to but Lora was also the one that had bailed on her last night. She couldn’t help but feeling angry at Lora. “How could she leave me in his company? After all, she’s seen what he’s like drunk. What would make her think last night would be any different and I told her about the plans for the evening? How could she not know what happened was going to happen? I hate Curtis and I never want to see him again and I think I hate Lora and I don’t really want to see her!” Lynn spent the majority of the day in her room in bed. She had come down to have a light breakfast and lunch for she truly wasn’t hungry and was only keeping up appearances. Mom had made some comment about her still being in her pajamas at breakfast, so Lynn dressed not wanting to arouse suspicions.

Later in the afternoon while Lynn was still lying on her bed in bounced Lora. Lynn’s mom had let her in not knowing anything was wrong and told her that Lynn was in her room. Lora was all excited, completely oblivious to Lynn, “Tom asked me to go steady last night isn’t that just great? I couldn’t believe it when I heard it! I even said, ‘What?’ Can you believe it? How embarrassing! But he said it again and it was true after going out only two weeks he wants to go steady! Jeez that man moves fast! And he made it the best night ever! When he came to my door he had a single red rose – isn’t that romantic? Then he took me to the “Quiet Cannon” it had a beautiful ocean and starry night view. After dinner we had a delicious dessert a chocolate mousse that had so many layers of flavors in it, it was amazing! I’m sure I could taste hints orange and maybe some raspberry as well, dark chocolate blended with real whip cream and whatever else they put in it. It was stupendous! Then of course we met you and Curtis at the Club and danced the night away. We didn’t see you leave but when the club closed we went to a scenic point and talked and talked. That’s when he asked me to go steady with him. And of course I said yes.” Lynn had been ignoring Lora and her borage of words, for that’s all they were to her. Finally Lora realized that Lynn was not acting herself. “Hey, what’s with you?” asked Lora. Something broke in Lynn and she was no longer sad and stunned, now she felt rage. “I asked you to take me home and you wouldn’t!!! And, and, and, oh, why couldn’t you have listened to me and done what I had asked?!?! You were so in to Tom that you totally ignored me!!” She screamed. Luckily for Lynn the rest of the house was empty: her mom had gone shopping, her younger brother Georgie had gone to his friend’s house, her older brother was with his girlfriend and dad had gone to his Brother Bob’s house to watch the games, so only Lora was privy to her screaming. “What has you so upset? What on earth did I do? As I recall we were all having fun.” said Lora dumb founded. “Don’t you remember me asking you and Tom to take me home? That I was afraid of Curtis and his drinking? You basically told me I was being hysterical and a worry wort!” yelled Lynn. “I vaguely remember something to that effect but I was having so much fun I wasn’t ready to leave. Plus Curtis didn’t seem all that bad to me. I don’t know what you’re in such a tizzy about!” replied Lora. Lynn could barely contain herself, “I told you that Curtis had plans for last night to be THE night! It wasn’t romantic like I imagined it – far from it! It was horrid! I begged him not to, but he wouldn’t listen to me! No one listened to me last night! It’s like I was mute and invisible! Lora interrupted, “Lynn are you telling me that Curtis forced himself on you?” Lynn shook her head tears started rolling down her face. Lora continued, “Let me make sure I understand you. You are saying that Curtis raped you right?” Lynn went hysterical at the sound of the word, the one she had been trying to force out of her mind, to no avail. Lora ran to her friend to comfort her. She had no idea how to soothe her, with this retched revelation. She had never known anyone who had gone through such a horrid thing, so she just held her and stroked her hair as she wept and sobbed. Lora did some weeping herself. “I’m so sorry Lynn that I didn’t pay more attention to your needs last night. I’m so sorry that I had a part of what you were put through. It makes me sick just thinking about all you’ve been through.” commented Lora. About 30 minutes into this Lora had a practical thought about protection but decided this was not the time to mention it. Another 30 minutes later Lynn was again spent from crying and looked a mess. Lora decided it was time to leave her room. The house was still empty so she suggested they go down stairs to get something to eat.

Lora felt as at home in this house as her own home, so when her companion just plopped herself on the kitchen barstool and her head fell into her arms, Lora just started perusing the pantry and refrigerator for something to eat. “Hey, what about some Tostitos or Pringles?” asked Lora. Lynn mumbled, “No.” Thinking she had found another good option she asked, “What about some pizza and coke?” Again Lynn grunted, “No.” Not to be defeated Lora asked, “How about some hot coco and some cookies? At this Lynn perked up. “I don’t care about the cookies that much but hot coco sounds scrumptious. Do we have any whip cream and any leftover candy canes?” asked Lynn. Lora scrounged around and replied, “Well I found the whip cream but we may be out of luck with the candy canes. Wait a minute I have an idea!” She ran to the living room where the Christmas tree was and there hanging on it were the needed candy canes. She came running back saying, “Eureka! I found them!” While enjoying their coco Lynn seemed relaxed enough to ask her some tough questions, so Lora took a deep breath and dived in, “Lynn I know you may not want to think about this let alone talk about it but have you decided if you are going to press charges or not?” Lynn suddenly felt like a caged animal, she dropped the candy cane she was using to stir her coco. It is not that the thought had not occurred to her but so many other thoughts came with it: everyone would know, how would they react, especially my parents, there would be a trial, and could I really go through a trial, would I be made out to be a vixen? She finally replied, “I have thought of it and all the repercussions and I’m not sure I can press charges.” “Is it that you’re afraid that you’ll be the one put on trial? Or is it that you don’t want your parents knowing what happened to you?” asked Lora. “Those and so much more, it’ll be public knowledge. You know that all of Jefferson High will be taking sides on who to believe, not just the school the whole community will be taking sides. I don’t think I can go through all of that. He’s too popular and more likely to be believed than me. I think I just want to forget about it and go on with my life. All anyone will know is that we broke up in the New Year.” said Lynn. Lora dared their friendship some more, “Lynn, did he use protection?” she asked tentatively. “Nnoooo!” Lynn wailed. “And yes I know full well what that means! What will I do if I am pregnant?!?” she continued to wail. “We will cross that bridge when we come to it.” assured Lora. “We’ll just wait and see if you miss your period and if you do we’ll get a pregnancy test.” “But what if it comes out positive?” cried Lynn. “Then I’ll go with you to Planned Parenthood and they will let you know what your options are. I understand you don’t need insurance or parental permission there.” Lora said trying to calm the panicky Lynn.

Four weeks later with a positive pregnancy test Lora and Lynn found themselves at Planned Parenthood. They did their own test on her and it confirmed what the girls already knew. They talked to her about the option of abortion and gave her pamphlets on it to take with her. They learned it would be $350 for an early abortion and it would cost $400 if she waited pass nine weeks. She would have to make a decision quickly she had limited funds from her after school job and after 12 weeks it increased by a $100 every 4 weeks. “I’ve got $200 in Christmas money and $70.28 saved from working but that leaves me shy almost $80. I have to make car and insurance payments and gas. If I use the car to get to and from work that will only leave me with a grand total of $290 in my bank account. I can’t afford an abortion and I can’t bear the thought of going through with the pregnancy. It’ll be a constant reminder of that night! Everyone will know that we did it even if they didn’t know how it really happened. They will think I actually enjoyed it! They’ll expect me to love this thing! How can I do anything but hate it and what it represents?!?” bemoaned Lynn as they head for the car. Lora hurt for her friend and offered, “Don’t worry Lynn no one has to ever know what happened. There is no need for your secret to get out. I’ll never say anything to anyone. You can count on my solemn promise and our friendship. As for the rest of the money I have the additional $60 you need. So you see everything will be alright. Would you feel better if we went back and made an appointment right now for four weeks from Monday? We will have the money that we need by then.”Lynn replied, “Yeh, let’s go and get this over with.”

Afterwards, Lynn felt dead and empty inside. She was feeling awful before the abortion but she never imagined that she would feel even worse afterwards. When she tried to explain it to Lora all she got was trite sayings that did her no go. The only person she could go to with this retched pain was totally oblivious to what she was going through. She finally gave up and buried her feelings as deep as she could. It became something that Lora and Lynn never talked about again.

They both went to the local University and there met Diane. They all took the same general education, biology class. They would meet in study rooms in the Library. Diane had a natural talent for biology where Lora grasped it fairly well, but Lynn struggled with it. Diane was intelligent, wise, discerning, compassionate, thoughtful, funny, a good cook, pleasant to look at, an excellent listener, and she was rather popular. In dorm life those that were intelligent, listened and could cook it lent themselves to popularity. Diane also had a deep abiding love for God. It was her discernment and wisdom that kept her from being black balled for her beliefs. She knew when to speak and what to say and when to listen and pray. This became an endearing quality in her. Diane had a very special affinity for Lora and Lynn. All three lived in the dorm and quickly became inseparable. Diane could tell that something was deeply disturbing Lynn but despite all her prayers for an opening she never found the right time to ask Lynn what weighed her down. The Sisters Three, as they grew to call themselves, graduated college. Lora had interned with a prominent advertising firm and had a job waiting for her upon graduation. Lynn had majored in education and was hired as an English teacher at a Jefferson High School. Diane had majored in nursing with an interest in psychology. Sisters Three would have weekly lunches varying on Diane’s schedule at the hospital.

Lora and Lynn frequented bars in an attempt to meet men. One night Lora met a guy named Rob. There was an instant connection. Lynn was not nearby when they met. She was busy talking to another man, Rob walked by and Lynn gravitated to him immediately. She couldn’t help the feelings she was having even as she saw Lora interacting with him. She decided staying clear would be the safest thing to do. The feelings were so intense she couldn’t risk getting to know him.

The next day was their weekly lunch. Lynn ventured to ask Lora how her evening went. “At first I thought it was going places but my date Rob turned out to be a disappointment. “Just a one night stand?” Lynn inquired, “What made him such a disappointment? And if he was a disappointment why did you sleep with him?” Lora responded, “As you know I am not ready for any kind of commitment. This guy is looking hard for Mrs. Right and I don’t want to be Mrs. Anybody. I’m all for living for the moment and having fun. He doesn’t want to do that so he’s not the guy for me.” Diane ventured, “Did you find this out before or after you slept with him?” Lynn was so grateful for Diane’s question, she wanted to ask that herself but thought that might give too much away. Lora responded indignantly, “After of course! What do you think I am? What are you getting at Diane?” Diane asked God for wisdom, discernment and love, took a deep breath and responded, “I believe when you are intimate you give part of yourself away and one day you may look back and find you’ve lost too much of yourself.” Lora turned away from the others, looking out the window, a solitary tear rolled down her check. Pondering Diane’s comment she connected the feelings of emptiness with long forgotten pieces of herself.

Knowing that Lora had no feelings for Rob Lynn mustered up her courage to ask Lora if she could pursue Rob. “Lora I know this may come as a surprise to you but when I saw Rob last night I had very strong feelings for him. I didn’t come and introduce myself because I knew the feelings were beyond my control and if I got to know him there would be no denying them. You were engaged with him and I wasn’t going to cross girlfriend boundaries. Now that I know that you have no interest in him, I’m asking for your permission to pursue him. I’m hoping that this will turn into something great but I don’t want to step on your toes.” Lora answered, “Lynn, I have no interest in the man, if you want to pursue him that is fine with me. I have his phone number would you like me to set the two of you up.” “Would you? That would be great! You can give him my phone number.” said Lynn. Their relationship never clicked it was one sided on Lynn’s part.

As close as “The Sisters Three” were their dating practices were very different. Lora was a casual dater, occasionally she would get serious about someone, but usually it was one or two dates and on to the next guy. Lynn was an old fashion girl. Yes she went to the bars with Lora but when she found someone that she was interested she hoped and prayed that he would notice her and waited for him to make the first move. In contrast Diane wanted a man who loved God so she did her looking at church, took her time and observed the man’s character to see if it was something that she desired.

Sisters Three were at a bar one night, this really wasn’t Diane’s thing but she enjoyed the company and was the designated driver incase Lynn decided to drink. At their table they had a great view of the majority of the patrons of the bar. Lynn immediately noticed a man with an enchanting smile, luscious deep brown hair meticulously coiffed. His eyes danced as he laughed at the joke he had told the woman he was standing beside. He was dressed in Florshiems (reminiscent of her father’s favorite shoe), dark jeans, a lavender dress shirt with a v-neck lavender sweater that had yellow trim accents on the v-neck and cuffs. As Lynn drank in the sight she couldn’t help but think that this was not only a man that knew how to dress but was very assured of himself, two qualities she found very attractive. She checked herself in her mirror, was she presentable enough to catch his eye? Oh, how she hoped that he might notice her. Much to her dismay later in the night Lora set her sights on him. She flirted enough to get him to come to their table. Lynn wished so that he would notice her and he did but only after being entangled by Lora, she could be possessive when she wanted.

He introduced himself as Kenneth Randolph. Lora had commented, “Please join us. That’s a rather peculiar last name is there an interesting story behind it?” putting her hand on his forearm. “Well,” started Kenneth, “some might say it’s interesting. My great great grandfather fought in World War I. He was found in Germany by the Brits, unconscious with no dog tags; no helmet, only an American uniform on. They took him to one of their hospitals and all he did was mumble Kenneth Randolph. They figured this was his name and wrote to the American Authorities to see if they could find his family – none was ever found neither was any recruit by the name of Kenneth Randolph. He spoke perfect English in his mumblings and never any other language so no one even considered that he might be a spy. When he finally awoke they greeted him as Kenneth but he had no recollection of that name or for that matter any name. They worked with him for nearly a year trying to help him to regain his memory, but, he finally gave up and took the name Kenneth Randolph. My dad wanted to honor all he did for our country and all he lost in the process so after all these years I’m the first to bear his name” “How thoughtful and loving of your father.” said Lynn. “It looks like you work out. Where do you go?” quipped Lora. “I go to the YMCA near my place” responded Kenneth. “Well, it has given you a great physique.” flirted Lora.

Lora continued flirting with Kenneth and after 30 minutes of this Lynn could see that it was useless to think she could get his attention. She did question herself, “Did he really look at me and smile? Was that a wink he gave in my direction? Surely I must have been mistaken. He’s flirting with Lora, if he were interested in me surely he would approach me rather than continuing with her.” Lynn couldn’t take any more of this, it was too painful, so she turned to Diane and asked, “Would you mind taking me home? I’m ready to call it a night.” Diane responded, “Sure Lynn no problem. Bye Kenneth nice to meet you. See you soon Lora.” “It was nice to meet the two of you.” Kenneth said. “Bye.” Lora gushed. Kenneth watched as the two left, he couldn’t help but feel this night had somehow gone terribly wrong.

Realizing that Lora may have no way home Kenneth asked, “Did the three of you come together?” “Yes” smiled Lora as if he had fallen into a trap. “I guess you’ll just have to take me home.” Kenneth responded casually and cautiously, “Taking you home would indeed be the gentlemanly thing to do. Shall we go?” Lora was beside herself with her good luck. This scheme hadn’t always worked but when it did it was always to her satisfaction.

On the ride home the conversation going on in the two minds couldn’t be more different. Lora was thinking, “He’ll open my door. We’ll walk up to my condo and I’ll invite him in for a night cap and then the fun will begin.” Kenneth was thinking, “I hope she isn’t expecting anything. Although some flirting is fun this girl is just to forward for me. I can’t wait for this evening to end. I’ll take her home; make sure she gets in safe and leave.”

Once at her condo he opened the door to his car for her and walked her up to the front of the high rise complex. He stopped at the door and thanked her for the evening. Lora was stunned, “Don’t you want to come up?” Not wanting to be rude Kenneth rationalized, “It’s getting late. I just want to go home.” Lora wanted more from Kenneth than just a night of innocent flirting, “Well, don’t forget to take my number so we can get together again.” Lora handed Kenneth her business card, turned it over and wrote her cell and home numbers on the back. Kenneth thought boy this girl is pushy she isn’t even letting me make the move, she is not the girl for me, so he just said, “Thanks,” turned towards his car quipped, “I had a nice time, bye.” and got into his car and drove off.

As Kenneth was driving off reflecting on the evening he realized that although he had enjoyed the compliments Lora was giving him and the flirting they did all evening he couldn’t help but think of the sweet Lynn who had gone home with quiet Diane. How was he going to get in contact with her without going through Lora? 

Lynn had heard Jefferson was getting a new student counselor, but it wasn’t until Monday morning she learned his name. One of her students, Angela, had been acting out for weeks. The old counselor had been unsuccessful at getting to the issue, so Lynn hoped that the new one would have better luck. She dropped by the office before classes to introduce herself and make him aware of her problem. The door had no name on it, so she would have to ask. She knocked and was welcomed in. She was so surprised to see Kenneth Randolph standing before her that she lost all her senses; she was stammering, stuttering, and stumbling at what she had come to talk to him about. Kenneth very kindly said with an enchanting smile, “Why don’t we try this again. Hello Lynn. I’m so glad to see you again. How may I help you?” Again in control of her emotions Lynn responded with a smile, “Forgive me; I didn’t know you were the new counselor. I have a student. Angela Browning is her name. The old counselor met with her and couldn’t get her to confide in what was troubling her. I was hoping to bring her by today and see if you can help her. Something has her very upset I’ve tried to get her to open up to me but nothing works. I’m concerned that something very serious is going on. She has been acting out for quite some time.” “Well, I’ll do my best. I’m no miracle worker but I’ve been told that I have a way with the kids.” Kenneth said half joking, trying to lighten the situation. “On the lighter side of things, what are you doing for lunch Miss. Fields?” Her mind went reeling; how did he know her last name, lunch, what would Lora think, who cares, I care about this man, does he like me, oh, when he says my proper name my knees go weak, how can I be this fortunate? “Miss Fields, did you hear my request for a lunch date?” Kenneth reiterated. Oh my gosh he said it again, thought Lynn. Shaking her head to clear her mind Lynn answered blushing slightly, “I’m so sorry. Yes of course we can have lunch together. I’m curious how you learned my last name?” Kenneth answered, “Oh that was easy. I like getting an early start on my first day at a job so I’ve been here since 5:30 am to get my office together and I was sitting in the office as everyone clocked in and either introduced myself or asked the secretary their name. You fell in the latter category.” “Why didn’t you introduce yourself?” said Lynn coyly. “It’s not like we haven’t met.” “No, I didn’t see you until you were leaving the office. The secretary recognized you from behind. I never put you and the name together. Where’s a private place to have lunch I would like to talk to you without interruption?” questioned Kenneth. “Well, on campus the only place that I can think of is the boiler room but that isn’t very pleasant.” Lynn softly laughed, and then continued, “However, off campus there is a park nearby with a lake and benches around the lake. If you didn’t bring lunch there are some sandwich shops and fast food restaurants nearby.” informed Lynn. Kenneth responded, “I brought my lunch, not knowing what was available in the area.” He beamed, raising his eyebrows, and his eyes shining mischievously as he said, “If you brought your lunch I would opt for the lake.” Lynn wondered with that look in his eyes what she was getting herself into, but there was something about him that made her trust him. She thought why not have some fun? Lynn informed Kenneth that she had brought her lunch, it was agreed Kenneth would drive as Lynn navigated to the lake. “By the way,” Kenneth said, “have Angela come and see me during class.” Lynn responded, “I will, thank you so much.”

Diane, Lora and Lynn had been unable to get their schedules to work for a “Sisters Three” lunch in two weeks. Lynn really wanted to tell them face to face who the new counselor turned out to be. Lora had been making excuses, yes work had been busy but in reality she was holding her breath and waiting for Kenneth’s call. He intrigued her.

Ken and Lynn’s first lunch went swimmingly. Lunches at the lake became a daily occurrence. By the second week Ken was talking about going out to dinner and dancing on Saturday night. “Ken I’m concerned about what Lora will think about you and me going out. She’s given permission in the past but I haven’t asked. Lunch was so on the spur of the moment and during school hours that, although I hoped it was going somewhere, I told myself don’t this is just a friendship thing. As our conversations progressed I realized that we were going beyond friendship and now the very thing that I deluded myself of, I can no longer. I hope that you can understand that I have to talk to Lora first about this. It’s not that I don’t want to go out with you, I do!” voiced Lynn. “Do you really think it will be such a problem? All we did was one night of flirting together. Nothing happened besides the flirting. Do you think she will put a claim on me because of that?” Ken responded. “That’s what I’m afraid of,” said Lynn “that she will think she has a claim on you and I’m stealing you from under her nose.” “That’s ridiculous!” shouted Ken. “It may seem ridiculous to you, but there is an unwritten code for women and the dealings of men. I’ve broken that rule since I didn’t get permission first.” Lynn said calmly. “I’ve grown to care for you and our lunches and I’d like to see where this could go, but I must face the very real fact that by doing that I may be jeopardizing a lifelong friendship, something I mustn’t take lightly.” Ken responded, “I have grown extremely fond of you Lynn. Something tells me given a little more time that fondness will not be the right word. I knew while I took Lora home that I wanted to see you. You have qualities that drew me to you that first night. How I wish I hadn’t gotten hung up on the flirting. Your sweet, caring spirit was evident that night. So for me there has never been anyone but you, not anyone of true value and real interest. I can’t tell you how thrilled I was when you walked through my door that Monday morning. I knew immediately that I wasn’t going to waste any time like I had with Lora I was going to take the bull by the horns. I knew what I wanted was you. Does this information help you in making your decision?” Thrilled at his words, with angst Lynn replied, “I realize now that if I was going to take Lora’s feelings into consideration I should have done that with the first lunch. I was attracted to you the moment I saw you at the bar, your smile, the way your eyes danced at a joke, your beautiful hair, something that I could see deep in your eyes and the way you dressed, a complete package, but I’m not one to make the first move so Lora was the first to catch your eye. So you see at that first lunch I wanted to get to know you and make up for lost time. Had I stopped and thought I was already possibly getting into deep waters with Lora. It would have been better if I was up front and asked her if she would mind.” Ken commented, “Sounds like we’ve gone past the point of asking for permission.” Lynn agreed, “I know that. I’m not sure what I would do if she said no at this point anyway. I care for you too much to just go to a colleague relationship.” There was a tear in Lynn’s eye. Ken with his his hand cupping her face his thumb wiped the tear from her eye and then took her hand and said, “Me too. I can’t go to a colleague relationship with you. It would hurt too much to see you every day and not to have our special talks or our lunches here in the park, they have become the highlight of my day.” Lynn continued, “All the same I have to at least somehow try to get Lora’s permission.”

Lynn asked, “Do you think telling Lora is something I should do on my own or should we go to her together? I’m not trying to wimp out. I just value your opinion on this Mr. Counselor.” giggled Lynn. Ken replied, “If it were just the beginning of our lunches I would have said this is between you and Lora.” Ken paused. “The more I think about it the more I still think it should be between you and Lora. If I were there she might feel ganged up on. Yes, we have grown very close and it is our relationship involved but it is your friendship at issue here. Know that you will be in my thoughts and prayers as you talk to her.” Lynn said, “Thank you for your wise counsel. Just one of many things I cherish about you. Thank you for the prayers also. I have a feeling I’m going to need them.

Lynn gave Lora a call before school was out and asked her if they could meet for coffee somewhere thiat evening. Lora suggested a local place called, The Coffee Hut, “I’ll meet you there at 5:30 pm.” Lynn responded, “I’ll see you there.” Lynn had made emergency prayers in the past; asking God to stop the rape, hoping she wouldn’t get pregnant, hoping no one would find out about the abortion, but she now realized she was falling in love with Kenneth and she was begging God that Lora would give her blessing or at least understand. When the girls met they hugged and exchanged the usual greetings. They asked how one another’s day had gone and what was new since they had last seen each other. Lora had big news of a promotion in her advertising company. Lynn mentioned that they had a new counselor at the school. Lynn added, “The new counselor is the reason why I wanted to get together with you.” Lora questioned, “What have I to do with the new counselor?” She then took a closer look at Lynn, “Are you or have you fallen for him?” Lynn answered, “We met his first day and he invited me to lunch, we went to the park so we could talk. We have been having lunch together every single day now for two weeks. In answer to your question yes I have fallen for him. I fell for him even before we met at school.” “How can that be?” interrupted Lora. “If you’ll let me finish I’ll tell you.” responded Lynn. “The first time I saw him was at a bar, one look and I fell for him hard. You know me Lora I’m never one to make the first move so I waited begging God that he would notice me. He didn’t, he noticed another girl.” “Well, what does that all matter, you have him now.” interrupted Lora again. “I hope you feel that way when you here the rest of the story.” stated Lynn. “Lora, the guy I’m talking about is Kenneth Randolph. I know that I didn’t ask permission to date him. But it didn’t seem like dating at first. I truly couldn’t put my mind around the idea that he was interested in me. I guess that is why I didn’t come to you immediately.” “How dare you go behind my back! I thought you were a better friend than that! I’ve never dated someone you’ve dated. I surely wouldn’t even consider doing so without consulting you first! All these years of friendship and you’re just throwing them away for a guy!” screamed Lora. By now Lora had the attention of everyone in the coffee shop. By the end of her tirade she was storming out the door. Lynn picked up her things and sheepishly exited the coffee shop. Once in the safety of her car she let the tears flow. When she looked up again it was dark. She called Ken to see if she might meet him and talk about what happen. He invited her over for dinner.

Lora was still beside herself the next day with anger. She fumed and fumed debating about how she could get back at Lynn for this betrayal. It was obvious that Lynn was madly in love and unwilling to give Kenneth up but that is exactly what she wanted Lynn to do. She was hurt to the core by this betrayal and she wanted to make Lynn hurt. Then it came to her, she had the perfect weapon to wound Lynn to her very marrow. She would broadcast Lynn’s rape and abortion to anyone that would listen. First thing to do was to write her family and let them in on the news. Then she’d let Flossy know an old high school acquaintance that was known for gossiping. Flossy would be certain to get the news around to all of the old friends. Maybe I should even tell Flossy that she told me she was raped and I don’t know for sure, Lora thought. Yes that’s it she would simply let everyone know that Lynn told her that she was raped by Curtis and that she was with Lynn when she had the abortion.

Lynn gave Lora a call before school was out and asked her if they could meet for coffee somewhere this evening. Lora suggested a local place called, The Coffee Hut, “I’ll meet you there at 5:30 pm.” Lynn responded, “I’ll see you there.” Lynn had made emergency prayers in the past; asking God to stop the rape, hoping she wouldn’t get pregnant, hoping no one would find out about the abortion, but she now realized she was falling in love with Kenneth and she was begging God that Lora would give her blessing or at least understand. When the girls met they hugged and exchanged the usual greetings. They asked how one another’s day had gone and what was new since they had last seen each other. Lora had big news of a promotion in her advertising company. Lynn mentioned that they had a new counselor at the school. Lynn added, “The new counselor is the reason why I wanted to get together with you.” Lora questioned, “What have I to do with the new counselor?” She then took a closer look at Lynn, “Are you or have you fallen for him?” Lynn answered, “We met his first day and he invited me to lunch, we went to the park so we could talk. We have been having lunch together every single day now for two weeks. In answer to your question yes I have fallen for him. I fell for him even before we met at school.” “How can that be?” interrupted Lora. “If you’ll let me finish I’ll tell you.” responded Lynn. “The first time I saw him was at a bar, one look and I fell for him hard. You know me Lora I’m never one to make the first move so I waited begging God that he would notice me. He didn’t, he noticed another girl.” “Well, what does that all matter, you have him now.” interrupted Lora again. “I hope you feel that way when you here the rest of the story.” stated Lynn. “Lora, the guy I’m talking about is Kenneth Randolph. I know that I didn’t ask permission to date him. But it didn’t seem like dating at first. I truly couldn’t put my mind around the idea that he was interested in me. I guess that is why I didn’t come to you immediately.” “How dare you go behind my back! I thought you were a better friend than that! I’ve never dated someone you’ve dated. I surely wouldn’t even consider doing so without consulting you first! All these years of friendship and you’re just throwing them away for a guy!” screamed Lora. By now Lora had the attention of everyone in the coffee shop. By the end of her tirade she was storming out the door. Lynn picked up her things and sheepishly exited the coffee shop. Once in the safety of her car she let the tears flow. When she looked up again it was dark. She called Ken to see if she might meet him and talk about what happen. He invited her over for dinner.

Lora was still beside herself the next day with anger. She fumed and fumed debating about how she could get back at Lynn for this betrayal. It was obvious that Lynn was madly in love and unwilling to give Kenneth up but that is exactly what she wanted Lynn to do. She was hurt to the core by this betrayal and she wanted to make Lynn hurt. Then it came to her, she had the perfect weapon to wound Lynn to her very marrow. She would broadcast Lynn’s rape and abortion to anyone that would listen. First thing to do was to write her family and let them in on the news. Then she’d let Flossy know an old high school acquaintance that was known for gossiping. Flossy would be certain to get the news around to all of the old friends. Maybe I should even tell Flossy that she told me she was raped and I don’t know for sure, Lora thought. Yes that’s it she would simply let everyone know that Lynn told her that she was raped by Curtis and that she was with Lynn when she had the abortion.

Lynn had a fitful night’s sleep. Drank a cup of coffee and headed out for school. Things didn’t get much better there. Curtis was waiting for her at the parking lot. “What’s all this talk about me raping you?” he shouted. “I never raped you, you tease! You know you wanted it just like I did! You lying slut!” Ken had driven in as Lynn did and was privy to most of Curtis’ tirade. He was coming to Lynn’s aid as quickly as his legs would carry him but he didn’t reach her and Curtis until Curtis had called his precious Lynn a slut, this got Ken’s blood boiling, “Look you lousy scum of the earth don’t you dare call her that! You’ve already done quite enough to my woman I won’t stand for you continuing to persecute her any longer! So get into your car and get the hell out of here before I have to get physical with you!” Lynn adored this manly protection never before had anyone stood up for her in such a manner. Oh, how she loved this man. Lynn swooned. Ken caught her before she hit the pavement. As she awoke, Ken asked, “With the stress of all this are you getting enough food? I know you usually eat like a bird but sometimes I wonder if you aren’t too petite?” Lynn replied annoyed, “Oh, you and Diane are such worry warts! I wish you both would just lay off!” Ken could see that this was not the time to discuss this; Lynn was in no way ready.

Dealing with the fall out proved to be very challenging but the support of Ken and Diane, and her family, Lynn made it through. The hardest part was dealing with Curtis. He insisted on a public retraction of the rape charge but she found the courage to tell him that she would not deny the truth and if he didn’t stop harassing her she would press charges; for both the rape and harassment. As she found her voice her eating got better. She also realized what Diane meant that first day by this was an opportunity for healing. It took two years of therapy before she could really grieve all her losses. With the help of not only her therapist but Ken, Diane, and her family, she found healing and came to a point of forgiveness. Lynn realized that She and Lora had their own demons and each needed to forgive the other. She prayed daily for an opportunity to reconnect with Lora. She longed to let Lora know she had forgiven her and to seek that forgiveness from Lora.

While Lynn was healing and growing, Diane continued to remain friends with Lora in hopes that she might be able to one day bring “Sisters Three” together again, especially since she knew this was Lynn’s desire. As much as Diane was attempting to stay close to Lora, she was pulling away. Finally four years after the incident Diane saw something more than just pulling away when she looked in Lora’s eyes, while having Saturday lunch with her. She silently offered a quick prayer to God for wisdom on how to precede, “Lora, I see something when I look in your eyes. I’ve sensed you pulling away from not just from me but it appears everyone now. I see pain and loneliness. Can you tell me what is going on inside of you?” Lora replied, “I’m not positive what is going on I know that the girls at work avoid me and don’t include me for lunch. I used to be popular but over the last three or four years I’ve become more and more isolated.” Diane ventured, “Do you think that the timing of the change could have anything to do with you letting Lynn’s secret out and not forgiving her?” “That was between me and Lora I don’t see what that has to do with the girls at work! Just what are you getting at Diane?” snarled Lora. Oh Lord, please help me with the right words, prayed Diane, “Let’s look at this objectively. You say this started three or four years ago that would put it around the time of you revealing Lynn’s secret. Such an intimate confidence being divulged may have the girls at work worried that if they share anything with you, what will happen if you get mad at them? That is easy enough to understand, isn’t it? Now, as for the pulling away, have you noticed that your language has gotten more and more cutting over the years? This could be a reason why the girls don’t invite you to lunch with them. I love you and I’m here for you in good times and bad but these girls aren’t as invested in you. Even I have been a victim of your increasing harshness but I love you and know how you are hurting.” Lora had a shocked look on her face. Diane took a deep breath and continued, “But my friend you are letting your hurt turn to bitterness and that is an ugly thing that no one wants to be around. It is time to let go of the anger and bitterness. You have let this brew in you long enough and now you are seeing the repercussions of jealousy. It’s time for a new beginning its time to forgive.” The years of hardness of heart was cracking, Lora answered, “I don’t know if I know how. I’ve been living so long with it.”

Still praying, Diane replied, “There is One who has forgiven you for everything you have ever done and He will teach you how to forgive. Would you like to meet Him and start a relationship with Him.” Something in Lora’s heart leapt as she spook with in an innocent childlike voice, “You’re talking about Jesus right?” Diane beamed, “Yes, He is the author of forgiveness. If you want to learn how to forgive He is the one to go to.” Lora questioned, “What do I need to do?” Diane was elated, “All you need to do is ask Him to forgive you for your sins and come into your life and believe. It is that simple.”

Lora bowed her head and said, “Jesus forgive me for my sins especially for what I did to Lynn, come into my heart and help to make things right with Lynn. Thank you Jesus.” Almost instantly Lora felt a difference in her heart, the coldness and hardness seemed to be melting away. Looking at Diane for approval Lora asked, “Was that alright?” Diane smiling with a tear in her eye, “Lora that was beautiful and perfect, it came straight from your heart and that is exactly what God wants. You know now “Sisters Three” are sisters in two ways emotionally and spiritually. Lynn became a Christian before she and Ken got married 2 ½ years ago. Ken shared Christ with her and 4 months into their dating she accepted Christ.

 Lora asked tentatively, “Do you think that she would want to talk to me? For years I’ve not taken her calls and returned her mail and never answered the door when she came.” Diane assured, “Lora, Lynn forgave you ages ago and her fervent prayer has been that you would forgive her and welcome her and Ken into your life.” A relieved Lora stated, “Do you think that she and Ken would be available today? I really don’t want to wait, our relationship has been horrible long enough.” Diane smiled, “Why don’t you call her cell?” “It is the same number?” Lora admitted sheepishly, “After four years of no contact I’ve forgotten her number.” Diane replied, “I understand give me your cell and I’ll dial it so it will be on your phone.” As the phone rang Lora’s nerves were beginning to get the best of her, but she took a deep breath and mustered up all the courage she could find. Finally Lynn answered and Lora responded tentatively, “Lynn, its Lora I was wondering if I could talk to you and Ken today?” Lynn was ecstatic to hear Lora’s voice, “Sure Lora, how about coming over for dinner at 6 pm? Ken and I have been doing yard work all day so that will give us a chance to clean up and change. I already had a menu planned that was going to leave lots of leftovers so you’re more than welcome. Oh, you don’t know where we live do you.” “No.” answered Lora. “We live at 1425 Randolph St., isn’t that a hoot that the Randolph’s live on Randolph St. When we found the house I fought against it just because of the street name but in the end the house won me over it is so perfect for us. Well I look forward to seeing you at six. Do you need directions or can you find it by the address?” gushed Lynn. Lora laughed to herself, “No, I’m good my car has a GPS.” “Okay then we will be looking forward to seeing you.”

As Lora got off the phone she couldn’t help but think that Lynn sounded like the girl she knew so very long ago. The one she first met and knew until Curtis got his hands on her. Up until this moment she had never realized just how much that night changed her. She couldn’t help but smile at the thought of seeing the old friend that had been gone for so long. Then she remembered her talk with Diane. She couldn’t help but wonder what Lynn would be seeing in her. She prayed a quick prayer that it wouldn’t be bitterness and coldness. Six pm came and as usual Lora was right on time and a bit apprehensive about the night. When she got to the house she noticed it was a modest ranch style home. The stucco was painted a grayish Wedgewood blue, the door, shutters and eves were dark slate blue with white on the wood pane windows and garage door. The yard was immaculate. It had gray slate slabs for the walkway from the sidewalk to the front door and wrapped to the right side of the house where a rod iron bench stood. Tree roses flanked the walkway to the front door and driveway. Either side of the walkway was a fresh cut lawn the aroma was still in the air. There was a window box under the kitchen window filled with herbs. There were pot lights that accented all the right areas. As Lora walked up this very welcoming walkway she couldn’t help but compare the sterile atmosphere of her modern condo and become a little jealous. Once inside the smells of dinner and the friendly host and hostess completed the feeling of being welcomed.

“Dinner will be ready in 10 minutes. Would you like some wine while we wait?” Lynn said gaily. “Yes that would be lovely” replied Lora, “What are we having? It smells absolutely delicious.” “Oh it’s a dish I created. I call it Polynesian Stuffed Pork, the stuffing is brown rice with apple, crushed pineapple, white currants and dried cranberries with a sauce of Teriyaki, orange juice, apple juice, and pineapple juice. Some of the sauce goes in the stuffing but most of it is thickened and poured on the pork then the remainder is used for gravy.” Lora smiled, “It’s hard to imagine that the girl who barely ate in college is now creating her own gourmet recipes.” “Well I wouldn’t call them gourmet but I do have a lot of fun cooking now. I’ve changed a lot in many ways. Lora I’m not the same girl that you used to know.” Lynn confessed. “I can see that Lynn. It’s like you’re the old Lynn I first knew the one that was carefree and happy. The girl I knew before that awful New Year’s night. That’s what I wanted to talk to you and Ken about. Can the two of you sit down for a minute?” Ken and Lynn sat beside each other on the love seat. Lora sat opposite them and continued. “Thanks. The reason I wanted to see you is because I realize that I did a horrible thing to you by betraying your trust and I want to ask the two of you if you can find it in your heart to one day forgive me. No matter how mad I was at the time, my actions were inexcusable and I don’t blame you if it would take a long time for you to forgive me, but that’s okay I can wait.” Ken looked at Lynn and smiled, knowing how much this meant to her. Lynn responded, “Oh, Lora I can’t tell you how long I have wanted to talk to you to ask your forgiveness for hurting you. I wanted your blessing on Ken and mine’s relationship but things had gone so far that I couldn’t just give him up. The only thing I could do is hope that someday you would find it in your heart to forgive me. Of course I forgive you. Actually what you did is what started the change in me that you now see. I had stuffed all that pain inside me and it was eating away at me. It gnawed at my heart; I was acting out in my eating though I didn’t want to admit it at first. I’ve been doing a lot of work to get to where I am today and it all started with being forced out of hiding. You did that for me. Yes it was in a very painful way at the time, but God turned it to my good. I’m a better woman for it, as you have seen. So the question I must now ask my dear friend is, can you forgive me?” Lora astonished and relieved said, “Of course I can forgive you, but are you really sure everything is alright with us?” Lynn smiled, “My dear sister come with me.”

She walked her down the hall to the bedrooms. As she got to the intended door she turned and put her finger to her lips and said, “Ssshhhh” She opened the door quietly and motioned for Lora to follow her into the dark room. Coming to a crib Lynn motioned and said, “This dear sister is your niece, her name is Lora Diane Randolph; honoring the two ladies that helped me rediscover the person God made me to be.”

2 thoughts on “Lora’s Lesson

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