“Am I worthy of love again after all these years? I think I am, but it sure hasn’t worked in my favor,” Kate said.
“If you believe, that’s half the battle.”
Kate found herself stopped in the road of the campground, wondering whose gentle voice that was. Turning around, she looked into the handsome face of a man with a splash of graying hair. His azure blue eyes expressed sincerity and caused unexpected butterflies in her stomach.
“I can’t believe I said that out loud!” Kate was mortified!
“It’s okay…I do it all the time. My name’s Jim, by the way,” he said while holding out his hand as he climbed out of his golf cart. “I work here, but I’m actually retired. I keep telling myself that, but tending to these grounds is just something I love to do so it’s hard to let go.” He smiled and those butterflies became active again.
“I can see why you love working here – it’s so beautiful. I’m only staying for the weekend…my name’s Kate.” She shook his hand unable to ignore the powerful surge of electricity. Butterflies and electricity. Where in the world did these come from? Jim also felt that spark, a feeling he hadn’t felt in over two years. But by the few words he accidentally heard her say, he knew she was upset about something. He probably heard too much already and it was certainly none of his business.
Within seconds, Kate’s mind drifted to when she arrived earlier that afternoon. After unpacking, she sat in the rocker by the window and opened up the Sandra Brown book she’s been reading. She read the same line twenty times and still couldn’t recite it by memory. Kate thought the silence and peace would be good for her. Instead, the quiet was more pronounced in the small cabin than when she lived in the big house with her ex. Words between them were anything but present – which led to this temporary get-away. It took both partners to communicate in order for any relationship to work, yet, she was the one doing all the talking.
Getting away for a few days to regroup was a perfect prescription for her heart and mind. She wanted to rent a cabin with a front porch and was able to find one. Even if uncertainty joined her for a sip, she couldn’t wait to enjoy a glass of wine that evening on the porch while attempting to combat the turmoil in her life. Kate was not going to let her ex control her self-esteem, and she certainly wasn’t too old to let love in her life again. She’s often read encouraging stories of people finding romance later in life. So why should she be exempt? Not that she’s looking this very moment, but it wouldn’t matter. The candle went out years ago in her marriage. She just kept looking for the good and fighting for this relationship that may soon end.
Before Kate left for the campground, she called her sister, Jane, who lived an hour away.
“Hey, Sis, how’re you doing?” Jane asked as she put the call on speaker phone.
“Hi Jane. I’m alright, but I need your advice because you’re the more logical one.”
“Uh oh, what’s this about?”
“Well, honestly, I don’t know what to do. Should I accept my marriage as it is with hope that it’ll get better? Or would it be best for both of us if we divorced? I want to keep my marriage going, but if I’m the only one trying, then I feel like I’m stuck with no way out and I don’t want to settle. What do you think I should do?”
“Oh, Kate, you know I can’t tell you what to do. But I know you’ve been unhappy for years and nothing’s going to change on his end. I think deep down inside you know that, too, even though it breaks your heart into tiny pieces. I honestly believe the ball is in your court – the decision has to be yours for any changes to occur, and whether you know this or not, you are worthy of happiness! He’s a good man, we both know that, but couples grow apart over time. So, if you acknowledge this, then it’s okay to move forward. You’ve given your marriage your all and it’s been twenty-two years! When will it be time to think about your happiness? Guilt shouldn’t be your best friend.” Jane sighed, hoping beyond hope that she didn’t say anything she’ll regret. All she heard was silence. “Kate, are you okay? Are you there?”
“Hmm…I’m here, just thinking over your words. You’re right; it’s just that taking that step feels like walking in sinking sand. It’ll be a slow process.”
“And that’s okay. Go at your pace, but once you make the choice, everything will become easier and fall into place.”
“I know. Oh, and by the way, I hung up my RN uniform for the weekend, heading to Pine Lakes.” Kate and Jane shared fond memories of the lake when they were little. Those memories evoked many great times that they wanted to carry the tradition into their adult lives.
“That’s good to hear. Nature’s always good at clearing up messy minds, Kate.”
“Yeah, I can’t wait to be in the mountains, walking among the pines and hanging out with the birds and squirrels. I should probably go, so I’ll keep you posted. Love you, and thanks for everything.”
“Love you, too, and you know I always have your back. Stay safe, Sis!” Jane wanted nothing more than her sister to find joy and love again and she had no doubt that it was more than possible. But it would take her sister to open her eyes to new possibilities. Right now, Kate had the shades of possibilities closed securely because she had drained all of her energy into her marriage that became stagnant. She’s exhausted. However, she deserves to have that same attention by someone who truly cares about her.
Suddenly, with a soft touch on the arm from Jim, Kate returned to reality. “Kate, are you alright?” he asked, sounding a little worried. It was too soon to know why he felt concerned since he didn’t know her, but the feeling was significant. “You were in another world.”
“Uh, yes…yes, I’m okay. My mind just wandered. It does that sometimes,” Kate answered with a nervous chuckle because embarrassment rapidly washed over her. She hoped her face wasn’t the shade of a pomegranate!
“Those things happen. My mind drifts all the time, so don’t worry about it. Look, we hardly know each other, but I wonder if you’d want to go for a walk sometime? I know the grounds pretty well around here,” he said with a smile. “Unless, of course, I’m being too forward. I know we just met,” he added, but his baby blues were a bit too irresistible.
She has no reason not to trust Jim, but she has no reason to trust him, either, so it’s a fifty-fifty chance either way. Kate chuckled at his subtle humor – of course, he knew his way around the campground. She also admired his welcomed honesty, not to mention again, her interest was surely piqued by this sudden attraction. Her messy mind deserved some good company and an interesting distraction from the rocky road ahead. After getting the green light from her sister and now meeting Jim unexpectedly, she gladly opened up those shades of possibilities and could already feel warmth from promises on the horizon.
“Sure. I’d like that. I’m still settling in today, though, so would tomorrow afternoon work?”
“Tomorrow afternoon would be great. I work in the morning, so the afternoon is free. Why don’t we meet in the lobby at 3:00?”
“Sounds great,” she replies. Kate, what are you doing?!
Lauren Scott (c) 2020