General Non-Fiction posted June 8, 2023 Chapters:  ...14 15 -16- 17... 

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Tom reflects on finding himself isolated and alone

A chapter in the book Angels Unaware

The Miles Between Us

by forestport12

Tom grows up with a fractured family, convinced that an angel appeared with a message of hope for a future. One mans true story of faith, providence, and finding true love.

In a letter to Mary, I explained how the ministry school in Colorado was where I needed to be. I should have told her the truth, that I didn't know how to be close to her and accept her love without conditions. At times the distance between Texas and Colorado seemed a chasm of miles where our love could be lost forever.

My memorable ministry and work at the nursing home was coming to an end. Summer shone bright in the blue sky against the Rocky Mountains. The scenery was something that often kept me spellbound. Then along came Coreen. She was a dark-haired, blue-eyed girl who would graduate from Castle Rock high school. She worked at the nursing home and would wheel the elderly down to the chow hall. She'd wear those tight white pants with an athletic fit. She laughed at my jokes, and she invited me to have dinner at her parents if I wanted to date her in the future. They appeared to like me enough, especially when they learned I studied for the ministry.

She lived in a big house on a hill, a perch really, tucked away against the mountains. Her father was a wealthy business owner of warehouses in the city of Denver. Before long, I spent the summer working for her father in the big city. It was hard labor, lifting and loading conference tables and sometimes water heaters. The warehouses were old and musty. Some floors looked like they'd collapse without warning.

Coreen's father was a hard man. Once he spied the vagrants propped against his building, he disappeared up another flight of stairs and poured a bucket of water from the window, giving his version of baptism for the homeless. Many Mexicans used the rail cars behind the warehouses to get inside the USA and now and then you would find them hiding in one of the buildings behind boxes.

As the summer slipped by, I became lost in Coreen's world, wanting to be more than friends on dates. Wanting to belong in her crowd. We'd spent our nights going out to eat or playing basketball at one of the local gyms with groups of others. I wasn't sure what I loved most, the fact that she was pretty and fit or the fact that she loved all kinds of sports. She could have been in the Olympics on a softball team or track. As the summer months waned, I wanted her to love me.

When Coreen rejected a serious me, I found words meant to leave a scar when I told her during one of those nights with a billion stars in the sky. "I can't be your friend. I've gone too far in love with you. It wouldn't work. I told her it would be the last time we could see each other, because it would hurt too much." I was true to my word until we ran into each other at one of the gyms. In our forever goodbye, I watched tears fill her eyes for the whole world to see.

By the end of summer, I found myself too late to get into another year of college. I was living in Denver without any true friends, without true love, never more alone. It proved to be a crossroads living in an apartment with nothing more than a mattress on the floor and a phone on the wall.

A phone call changed everything. It was Mary from Texas calling me during her lunch break in high school.

"I miss you. I'm worried about you alone in Colorado. Are you okay?"
Mary wasn't from a wealthy family like Coreen, but her love was no fools' gold.

There was a heavy silence between us. "I know. I'm not in school. I'm going to look at another place in Texas. Maybe, you can go there too one day when you get out of high school."

"I'm failing the typing class, but it's just an elective," she said. "I spend most of my time in it typing your name. I can't get you out of my head or heart. I love you and miss you. You sound lonely, and you don't have to be. Please write me when you get the chance."

She didn't know it at the time, but I needed the call, an awkward call, a call that was easier to read between the lines, but one that would set me on the road to closing the miles between us. One day, some day I would see her and do more than hold her in my dreams.

I fell hard for Coreen from a wealthy family. I was too young to realize I didn't really fit in. It was time when lost my zeal for the ministry and listened to the feminine sirens leading me into the abyss. Then one phone call brought me back from the edge. If it was possible for one woman to save another man, for me, it was Mary.
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