From the ashes
Chapter 25: The meeting
Ten minutes later he pulls into the parking lot of the church where we met last week. Conflicting feelings of happiness from our chance meeting and coldness from the dreaded realization of what being here meant.
Willow: Why are we here?
Liam: I was forced into doing this for the sake of my job. I’m not forcing you but sometimes we need a little push. I want you to trust me enough to open up to me. Not to them. In there all you have to do is sit and listen.
I close my eyes taking a deep breath. Liam gets out of the car and opens my door. Leaning down looking into my eyes with nothing my heartfelt compassion in his.
Liam: You don’t have to do or say anything you don’t want to and I will be with you the entire time.
Feeling somewhat betrayed I clench my jaws slightly angry but It quickly dissipates with the gentle touch of his palm in my cheek.
Liam: I promise I will not leave side for a second.
He kisses my temple then holds out a hand. I suck it up and take his hand letting him lead me into the church.
I shake my head no as we take a seat in the back row, me taking the closest chair to the exit.
An older woman approaches us with a smile.
Liam stands to greet her and I follow suit.
Woman: Liam nice to see you again so soon. And who’s this lovely young woman beside you.
Liam: May good to see you. This is my girlfriend Willow. She’s my support tonight.
May: It’s the greatest thing to know you have someone beside you to support you.
Liam looks down at me with the biggest smile.
May: my O my!!!! I have never seen this boy smile like that before. Honey whatever it is your doing keep it up.
My cheeks flush red hot as an unintentional giggle escapes me. Liam chuckles vibrate through me.
May: Will either of you be speaking tonight?
I feel the color run out of my face. Liam gives my hand a reassuring squeeze.
Liam: Not tonight May.
May: Alright. Well it was nice meeting you Willow.
Willow: Nice to meet you too.
Once the doors have closed and everyone attending has taken a seat May stands in front to give a speech.
Overtime few people stand to tell their stories about losing their wife, husband, grandparents, then a couple stands in their early 30’s. The husband holds his wife in a strong loving embrace as if to keep her from falling.
My heart slows as a hold my breath dreading the story, I can foresee them telling.
The woman speaks softly yet with confidence.
My heel begins taping, knees begin shaking. Nervousness sets in I don’t think I can handle what I’m about to hear. Suddenly I stop shaking when Liam places his hand on my knee. I swallow hard feeling a chill pass through me.
The woman’s words echo in my ears as she continues about the loss of her three-year-old daughter to cancer.
Unable to bare the sound of sniffles and sobs and awes I run out of the room and away from the church through the parking lot with nowhere to go I just keep running till I find myself lost in a garden standing before a fountain with a sculpture of young angle reaching for the heavens.
I drop to my knees slumped over the brim of the fountain unable to hold back tears.
Through my sobbing meltdown I can sense Liam approaching, as he speaks my name softly alerting his presence.
His strong arms wrap around me as he sits cradling me. Without speaking a word, he simply holds me tight soothing my uncontrollable shaking.