Friday, February 22nd
Evie sat on her bunk, her thoughts on Carlo, as they had been lately, quite frequently. She missed him something terrible, but fought back the sadness and emptiness she felt. It was after hours and she decided to walk to the Post Exchange on the Army Base.
She walked in, and came upon the Greeting Card section. Just for the fun of it, she walked down the aisle, seeing many different types of cards: some for Birthdays; some for Feeling Better; some for Congratulating someone for a particular accomplishment in their lives. The Sentiments section caught her attention. A card about relationships interested her; she smiled as she started reading the cover. A puppy dog was on the cover, and the caption read:
It’s not just puppy love
She opened the card, and on the inside it said,
You make my tail wag.
Come here and give me a wet sloppy lick!
“Aw-w-w-w! That’s so sweet.” The words no sooner came out of her mouth, than Carlo came to her mind. She couldn’t avoid the glow she felt in her heart. “Yes, Carlo. This card is so you.” The envelope in the cubby, and the card made their way to the cash register. On the way back to the barracks, a smile on her face replaced the lonliness, if only for a while.
When Evie entered her room, E.V. suddenly appeared to her. “E.V. how have you been?”
“I’ve been doing well, adapting to your human routine. It is actually quite interesting. I dare say it’s almost as interesting as being a warrior.”
“So has Carlo asked you out on a date, yet?” she asked, happily smiling.
E.V. blushed bright pink, and didn’t answer right away. “I’m not sure how I want to handle such a thing. But I do like him a lot, I’ll admit.”
“Well, get him to ask you out, if only for my sake. I really love him, and miss him badly. Besides, you and I are the same person. I’m the woman, and you’re the angel.”
“I’ll see what I can do,” E.V. said, her face void of emotion. “But there something I need you to know: the receptionist at the Institute, Ashleigh is taking drugs: cannabis, Methamphetamine, and Cocaine. I smell all of them on her breath, coming out of her pores, and on her clothing. I’m very concerned this young lady is destroying herself.”
A pause followed as Evie digested this news. “I suspected this a while ago, but I wasn’t sure. One day when I walked in, she seemed unusually sensitive to light. She also seemed a bit hyperactive, and talked a mile a minute.”
“That was the effect of Cocaine,” E.V. said. “I’m thinking seriously about confronting her about it; I’m just not sure when or how.”
“I’d say consult an therapist who specializes in drug addiction, and seek their advice. Then take it from there.”
“Alright, Evie. I’ll do that. It sounds like the wise thing to do.”
A few moments later, E.V. sat there, staring at the wall. “E.V. you’re blushing again,” she said. “Go on: spill. What’s going on? Are you afraid of Carlo asking you out?”
“Well, let’s just say, that I won’t refuse him if he does.”
She just grinned. “You’d better not…”
Saturday, March 1st
Gracie sat in the passenger seat of Shane’s car. They had ostensibly made plans to grab dinner and see a movie. Shane turned to her, his face animated. “Hey, let’s order take-out, and spend an intimate night in,” he suggested.
“The deal was dinner and a movie. I’m not about to be alone with you in your apartment: it’s a recipe for disaster. We both know that in such a setting, things get quickly out of hand.” Pausing for a moment to let her ultimatum sink in, she said, “So which is it. Do we stick with our original plan, or do I go home?”
Shane stared back at her, disappointment in his countenance, and finally said, “Okay. We’ll stick to our original plan.
“And may I remind you to keep your hands to yourself. No hugging; no wrapping your arms around my shoulders, and no kissing. Am I understood?”
“Sure. No problem.”
The night over, Shane helped her out of this car, and escorted her to the lobby of the condo building. “Thank you for being a gentleman, Shane. I actually enjoyed the evening.”
“You know, Gracie. You’re the only woman I’ve dated that seems to have a clear understanding of what they want. I’ve actually enjoyed this evening as well. Would it be okay if I called you again sometime?”
“Sure. But do me a favor: don’t call me at work; it disrupts my concentration. Call me on my cell phone in the evening.”
“Fair enough. See you Gracie.”
“Good night, Shane.”
A few minutes later, she walked through the door of the condo, and headed directly for her room. In the corner of her eye, something brightly shone in the center of the living room. Brought to a halt by this strange apparition, she stared at it, not quite believing her eyes.
“Hi, Gracie,” it said. “I’m Ever Vigilant, the one who indwells Evie, your sister.”
“You’re Ever Vigilant…the angel? But how…why would you leave her?”
“Because, Evie is busy going through military training, and I’m here to sort of…take her place.” Ever Vigilant looked at her with brows furrowed and said, “You look angry and upset. What’s wrong? You look like somebody hurt your feelings. Do you want to talk about it?”
Gracie, caught by surprise from her unusual visitor, stared at her, still somewhat unbelieving, but realizing this was basically her sister, she said, “Yes...I’m upset...I miss Peter; badly. On top of that, my sister is stubborn and prideful, and refuses to see the truth about salvation.”
Ever Vigilant sighed. “Yes, I know. I live in her and can’t believe she won’t see the truth. It’s right in front of her nose.”
She paused for a few moments, thinking about what to say. Finally, she said, “I don’t know what to do about Evie. She won’t listen to me. And Shane is nice enough, but I still want Peter back. Shane is like a little boy who needs to be taught a lesson.”
“I think our Lord is using you to teach Shane about being a real man. He will minister to Shane through you; and honestly, you’ve done a good job of thwarting his advances. Continue to be strong, and make sure Shane doesn’t talk you into something you know you don’t want to do. Trust the Lord for this situation. Let the Lord be strong on your behalf.”
“Boy, Ever Vigilant. It’s difficult. I’m sure I’m not crazy about him at all, but for some crazy reason, I let him take me out. Am I crazy, or do you really think the Lord is reaching him through me?”
“I do. Don’t think of your time with Shane as a date; think of it more as an opportunity to let the Lord work through you. As you give love away, the Lord will fill you with love.”
“Thanks, Ever Vigilant,” she said, sighing. “I guess I’ll just give him to the Lord, and leave it at that.”
Ever Viligant just smiled at her and said, “That’s a good choice; and call me E.V. It sounds more friendly, and isn’t such a mouthful as Ever Vigilant.”
“Thanks, E.V. It’s nice to meet you. Is Evie okay? I miss her a lot.”
“She’s fine, but continue to pray for her salvation. She and I have a lot to lose if the doesn’t find it.”
“I will,” she said.
“Oh…and one more thing,” said E.V. “Trust the Father for Peter as well.”
Tears pooled in her eyes, while she could only stand there, helpless. “I’m trying, E.V. It’s hard but I’m trying.”
As Gracie settled in her room, the loneliness in her heart however, would not abate. With her gaze facing nothing in particular, she talked to her Father in Heaven. “Father: I’m feeling so alone. I can’t stop missing Peter.” She stopped, realizing what she had just said. She could no longer deny the feelings she had for him, even if she had chased him away. “Please tell me what to do Lord. I’m getting so discouraged, I...well, I don’t know what I’ll do. Please help me Father. I’m so heartbroken I can barely function.”
The Father decided to talk gently to her soul.
Turn to me, my beloved.
“I want to, Father. It’s hard, especially when I feel so sad, How do I?”
I’m right next to your heart.
“Stay there, Father; hold me. This is hard.” With that, she gave in and sobbed heartbroken tears. When she calmed, she felt that somewhere in the midst of all her sadness, that she was worthwhile, somehow. She couldn’t see very clearly right now, but the tiny spark of hope was growing into a flame.
“I feel you getting closer, Father. Guide me. Help me. Help me overcome the sadness in my heart.”
You will be. Soon, I promise you.
“Thank you, Father...” Tears ran down her face. “I desperately need you to hold me so I can know you love me.”
Are my words not always true?
She resigned herself to listen to the Father’s words. “Yes, Lord. You are true and faithful to your word.”
Monday, March 3rd
E.V. walked into the Language Institute, thinking about her lesson plans for the week. Most of them had been finished last Friday. She had made an appointment with a counselor in a Drug And Alcohol Awareness program in Tenleytown for this afternoon at 3 p.m. “Heavenly Father: please lead me to a therapist who loves you, and is skilled dealing with drug addiction.”
The hour came to leave, and she hopped on the Red Line to the Tenleytown/American University station. Walking into the building, she asked for Dr. Susan Rogers. A short while later, Dr. Rogers led her into an office where bookshelves contained hundreds of books.
“Please, sit down, Ms. Chen. What can I do for you?”
“Dr. Rogers: I know a young lady who I know is very addicted to drugs, and is obviously in need of help overcoming addiction. I just don’t know how to go about it.”
“Well,” said Dr. Rogers, “we offer many different kinds of treatment here, including group, individual and family counseling. We also have various ways to check on their sobriety, including organizations that help with alcohol and drug addiction. If the client does not feel like talking about certain things in group therapy, they can attend individual counseling. There are various ways to keep track of their progress. There is just one small problem, Ms. Chen: the individual must voluntarily desire to be helped, otherwise the treatment is not effective. Those kinds of people aren’t willing to give up their habits.”
“Then how do they find the motivation to try to break their addiction?”
“Well, there are also interventions, where the patient is confronted by a therapist, family and friends. Hopefully, the outcome will be positive; but isn’t guaranteed.”
“Well, thank you for your time, Dr. Rogers. I’ll look into this further.”
Friday, March 6th
It had only been about three weeks, but Carlo missed her a lot. Then, while staring off into space, focusing on nothing in particular except his lonliness, his phone rang, and he recognized the number. “Evie?”
“Yes, honey. It’s me. I miss you desperately. Carlo, when I’m done with Flight Training, I want you to date me, and make me fall even more in love with you.”
“You’re in love with me? You want to start dating me? Are you sure?” Carlo asked, incredulously.
“I’ve never been more sure.” She succumbed to the smile involuntarily. “So what do you say? Would you like to take me out sometime?”
Silence. When he finally answered, he practically shouted. “’Would I like to?’ Evie, wild horses couldn’t keep me from taking you out. I’d love to. The first night you’re home, if you’re not too tired.”
“That would be great; Gives me a little time to do some shopping.”
“Get something pretty, will ya? You’re very pretty, and I’ll bet you’re amazing when you’re dressed up.”
“My, Mr. Bocelli. A girl could get used to such compliments. I look forward to that night.”
“Great. See you then.
The End button terminated the call. He smiled, feeling more genuinely happy that he’d felt in a long time.
On her day off, Evie decided to head off base to a fashionable contemporary clothing store, about ten miles away. Having no car, she called a Transportation Network Car, and arrived about fifteen minutes later. As she stepped out of the car, the hot, humid heat assaulted her, so she walked quickly into the department store and headed for the womens section, smiling and practically bouncing as she walked.
Visions of her date with Carlo played in her head like a favorite movie. She perused the skirts and tops until she found a combination she really liked. A most interesting aroma filled her nose as she wandered towards the exit. The attendant at the counter spritzed some perfume her way. Her curiosity aroused, she asked, “My but that’s a wonderful scent. What is that?”
“That’s the latest perfume from Michel Jardin, ma’am. Would you like to try some?”
She let the clerk spray a small amount on her wrist. Within seconds, that enticing aroma gained entry into her senses. The price of the perfume made sense, and she wanted to impress Carlo in every way. The perfume paid for, she gathered her belongings, and headed back home.
Monday, March 3rd
Evie sat at her bed, absentmindedly staring into space, preparing for the next days rigors. She She missed Carlo and called him every chance she got, and wished she could be back in D.C. A frown covered her face as she thought about her situation. The other reasons for her disturbed state of mind lived down in that deep, dark chasm in her soul, which she had learned well to ignore. She had given up her relationship with the Father and the rest of the Trinity – and she knew it. “I know my pride is keeping me from seeing my way back to the Father. I need to deal with that.
More importantly, she just wished those empty, lonely feelings would leave her alone. They seemed to hit her hardest late at night, when she was alone and had to face her thoughts, which came relentlessly.
Later That Night
She lay on her bed, unable to sleep, and becoming more agitated by the moment. “Father, why won’t you take this emptiness away from me? It’s not fair. If I had known how awful this experience was going to be, I would never have done it.” Her pride kept her from solving the breach between her and the Heavenly Trinity that loved her so much. Yet, her heart quaked in fear, and she found herself trying to find solace in the One who had always loved her.
“I hate having to figure this life out. No one seems to help you in this lonely world. Abba...please...I don’t know how much longer I can do this. I’m going crazy, and it hurts. Please...please...”