We stood staring at each other in the elevator. Obviously in my haste to close the doors on Quinn I had neglected to push the floor button. So there we stayed, watching intently the tension melt away between us.
Then in a flash, Quinn extended his hand to me as if in a handshake. Shielding the disappointment I felt over his choice of reconciliation I joined my hand with his. Only he didn’t shake it. He tipped my hand over and kissed it. Then in a whirl, he turned me on my feet in a sway of rhythmic movement and somehow my hand ended up draped over his opposite arm again. It was so fluid and precise I had no idea it happened until it was done. He clicked the ‘ouvrir’ button and escorted me out of the elevator. I was floating on a cloud. It felt like I was walking off the stage in a Humphrey Bogart movie.
“And your sister said you cannot dance.” He said with a wink.
“I can’t.” I added softly.
“So, Cherie, may I take you somewhere special this afternoon?”
“I- uh ...”
Quinn paused and faced me. “Unless your quick departure to the elevator was a in fact an attempt to return to your room and not just a decoy to avoid facing me.”
I am sure I blushed red again. “Hmm, busted. Sorry Quinn. I would love to go somewhere special with you.”
He smiled big and bright.
As we drove through the streets of Paris, I couldn’t help soaking all the sights in.
“It sure is beautiful here.” I said to the window that my nose was nearly pressed to.
“So what attractions and sights have you seen already?” Quinn asked.
I thought for a moment. “I’ve seen the airport, the hotel, a pub and a broken down bakery.” I offered my best sympathetic smile.
“That’s it?” Quinn reached over and touched my hand on my lap. “Well, I intend to add to your list then. I may even improve upon it.”
As his hand gently caressed mine I felt the desire to fill in some of his hurting places. To offer him a balm that could heal his pain. Although I did not know what it was, aside from Anna’s condition, he certainly alluded to a hidden reservoir of pain when he spoke of his Father. It is not uncommon for people whose earthly father failed them to find it extremely difficult to love a heavenly Father.
“You know Quinn, we cannot know what God has willed and planned for our lives. Or the lives of the people we love most. But, ...”.
I paused. How could I offer hope? I wanted to more than anything else, but I lacked my own. God had been silent in my life for years since Mitch’s passing. I tried questioning Him. I tried worshipping Him. I even tried ignoring Him. There was no response. I don't believe God was ever really gone – just silent.
“But, what?” Quinn asked.
“But ... someone used to tell me something over and over again when I felt hopeless or confused about what God wanted to do in my life. He would say,” I took a deep breath before reciting Mitch’s words. “Nothing is impossible with God.”
We were stopped at a red light at the moment and I could feel Quinn’s prolonged gaze. His eyes penetrated through my wall. For the first time since I’d known him I wanted to hide from his eyes. He could see through me and there were places inside me that I wasn’t ready to share with him.
His fingers glided effortlessly over my left hand. He caressed my fingers one by one from knuckle to nail. When he reached my ring finger I could feel the unspoken question emerging beneath his touch. Why is this finger bare? Surely there is a man that loves this woman?
Now I know I am not a spinster yet. However I am not a young vibrant woman facing a future that is bright either. I am trapped somewhere between those two entities. I’ve had my moment in the spotlight and I often wonder what happens now to a thirty-two year old widow that is childless?
Finally the scrutiny of his touch became unbearable and I pulled my hand away.
The light turned green and the car lurched forward. Quinn spoke softly above the hum of the motor. “Those are powerful words. They must have come from someone you cared about.”
I could jump from the moving car I suppose. I would likely be hurt but I would invariably survive. But would I survive the pain of saying the words out loud? My husband is dead. No, I am not ready yet.
It is not a secret. In fact I longed that Quinn knew already because then we could talk about it. There is just something so gruelling about saying those four words out loud. So I nodded my head instead. Thankfully Quinn left the conversation there, hanging in the precipice between his seat and mine.
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