Chapter one forgotten treasures
She sat silently at her desk sipping her favourite raspberry tea while trying to stir up her creative muse. Today for some reason, her writing routine that she followed to help her get in the creative mind frame was not working.
Desperate to get her juices flowing, she replayed all her steps in her mind on the off chance she forgot something. “First, I gathered my favourite candles, favourite mug and favourite classical CD. Then I shut all blinds, turned on laptop and let it warmed up and turned on stove and placed my grandmothers antique kettle on burner- I made sure I filled it earlier when I made hot chocolate in morning. Once water was ready, I prepared tea, turned on favourite CD and lit my candles. All steps have been completed, then why am I so blocked!”
“Damn it Melinda, why are you struggling with this?”
Frustrated with her inability to jump start her mind and release the block stopping her from working on her project, she decides to stray from her usual routine and goes for a walk in the park near her country home.
Walking up her winding stairs she enters her spacious and antique designed bedroom. She heads to her extremely organized and roomy closet; she picks out her mother’s pink cashmere sweater and slips it on.
Once she was had grabbed her tea and was ready to embark on her walk, she took a deep calming breath and repeated to herself “one
step at a time!”
After ensuring her alarm was on and doors were locked, she slipped the pewter key chain into the pocket of her favourite grey slacks and started walking along her brick walkway. She was surprised at how beautiful it was outside for a spring day and how she was delighting in the sounds of spring all around her.
“I haven’t walked this trail in so many years. “
Although it was one of the reasons, she bought this old house and fixed it up to her liking it was almost forgotten about it and neglected. Her gardener kept all her shrubs, flowers and trees looking immaculate and this was something that made her proud to have this beautiful picturesque yard.
Looking around at all this majestic beauty, she couldn’t help but think back to how far he had come in the last few years. It had been a very turbulent four years and it had almost broke her spirit and destroyed her sanity, but with faith, prayer and determination as well as professional help she had climbed her way to where she was now.
As she walked down the cobblestone walk way, images of the past began to flash through her mind and flooded her thoughts. Overwhelmed by what was taking place, she decided it was best to go sit down in the most peaceful and serene place she knew – her perennial garden.
Hidden among the tall cedar hedges in her back yard was a beautiful perennial garden that she designed, and selected all the flowers, shrubs and decorations for it as well.
She smiled at who proud of this garden and herself that she was as she had researched each aspect of it, as well as she even planted it herself. This hidden beauty now seldom visited was still immaculately maintained as she left specific instructions with the gardener on how to care for it and paid him handsomely to come in an extra day a week to care for it alone.
Once she reached the cedar hedges, she felt around for the carefully hidden and trimmed entrance. Taking a moment before entering, she took in the beautiful smell of cedar which always reminded her of her grandparents’ house and then she carefully looked around three times to ensure she was alone and entered her forgotten gem.
Walking to her granite bench she took a deep breath and looked at all the flowers blooming and admired all the radiant colours. She felt a wave of sadness as she thought to herself, how she had neglected to spend any time here in the last couple of years. She made a mental note to try to visit her space at least once a month.
As she sat down on her bench and took a sip of her tea, everything began to flood back to her and she began to feel trapped in the flash backs.
“Why is this happening now?”
“It has been years since the memories have haunted me!”
She searched frantically through her pockets, in hopes that her cell phone was with her and then she could call her therapist but her efforts were futile as she came up empty handed. Attempting to calm herself she took a slow breath and said quietly to herself, “only choice is to ride through them, but I am not sure if I am strong enough to handle the outcome”
Taking one last sip of her tea, she placed her mug down on the antique table beside her bench and took a deep breath then closed her eyes while waiting for the flash flood of memories to wash over her.
Chapter Two FLASH FLOODS
There were no specific defining moments just a pattern of events and experiences that rattled around in her soul like loose screws in an appliance. They were always present in her mind, but usually she could redirect her thoughts when something triggered her mind to relive them. It had taken a long couple of years for her to finally find the strength, peace and tools needed to get normalcy back into her life not that her world would ever be truly normal again.
Melinda had what some of her friends called a “respectable” and “envious” lifestyle before everything had been upheaved on her. She had a great job that paid her well, a beautiful apartment in the downtown area and was very active in her community. She had been in a few relationships but she wasn’t ready to settle down as she was focusing on her career first.
She remembers vividly when her life seemed to take her off the original course she planned for herself. How she wished she could erase the memories that were embedded in her mind, but like many experiences in life there was many complicated emotions woven together.
Her day started off as usual as all her day offs from work as she always planned them out as she had only every second Monday off and wanted to ensure she made most of day.
Sunday night after she was done work, she perused her cupboards and fridge to see what groceries and supplies were needed as well as browsed the online ads from her favorite super markets and wrote down all the sales. She made sure it was ready for Monday morning’s grocery run so she wouldn’t waste valuable time this morning.
She woke up and pulled on her favorite fleece house coat and slippers and then headed to her kitchen to make her breakfast of toast with honey and banana slices. While she was waiting for the sound of the toaster, she started her kettle and grabbed a tea bag and mug. Once everything was ready, she headed to her small wood kitchen table to sit down and browse her favorite column in newspaper.
Once she was finished eating, she placed her mauve plate and mug in her sink and headed to her bedroom to get dressed in her previously set out clothes to wear grocery shopping. “Comfort is the most important element of grocery shopping because you do not want to be all stiff and uncomfortable pushing through aisles” she always told her friends and family. Ironically although they teased her about it, they couldn’t argue with her logic as it made sense.
Once she got dressed in her pink leggings and knitted pink and white top, she slipped on her black loafers and headed to the counter to grab the necessary items that she had set out for her day – grocery bags, lists, car keys, house keys, cell phone and her matching pink purse. On her way out the door, she grabbed her warm black poncho and headed outside. Locking the door, she took a step ahead and took in all the aromas of springtime surrounding her neighborhood.
Melinda’s first stop was to the supermarket to gather supplies plus get some new ingredients for a recipe she wanted to try. Cooking and experimenting with new foods and flavors was something that she loved to do especially in her time after work.
Some of her favorite things to make were bread, scones and soups. She always found it so relaxing and therapeutic when she spent time working in her kitchen. Many of her most precious memories from childhood were rooted around spending time in the kitchen with her grandmother
. One of her favorite things to make was her grandmother’s “Blackberry Scones”.
She had made the recipe so many times that she had it memorized. As she pulled up to the super market, she began to scan the parking lot for a space that did not have any cars near it as to not have to worry about anyone hitting her car. It was her pride and joy and her first brand new car and she spoiled the car and always kept it immaculate inside and outside.
Once she was parked and had grabbed her cart inside, she began her favorite part of the day grocery shopping. She loved the feeling of browsing the aisles as she picked out her favorite items and picking up new coupons for her next shopping trip.
While she was reading her list and walking the bakery department, she accidentally bumped into someone. When she looked up, she saw a tall, slender man with deep blue eyes and short reddish blond hair.
“Oh my goodness, I am so sorry.” she said “I was kind of absorbed in my list!” “I am such a stickler for lists, it can overtake me at times” she chuckled. She could feel her face redden as she spoke, she was so embarrassed.
“It is okay ma’am it happens to us all. Are you okay, did you hurt yourself?” He smiled at her with such a beautiful smile and a sincere look of concern.
“I am okay only thing bruised is my ego”
“Thank you for asking though!”
“My name is Melinda by the way, nice to meet you”
She figured she should at least introduce herself as he was so kind and understanding.
“Name is Jobe, but my friends call me Jo and it is a pleasure to meet you as well.” he extended his hand to shake hers.
As she caught a glimpse into his eyes, she felt so drawn and captivating by the beauty they held.
As her hand touched his she felt a weird sensation and feeling run through as if they had a deep connection.
There was something about him that drew her to him and she couldn’t put her finger on what. A strong sensation pulsed through her veins as if this encounter was not coincidence, but she dismissed it.
Chapter Three – RECIPE FOR CHANGE
Melinda ran into Jobe again a few weeks later on her usual Monday errand run in the baking aisle while she was picking up ingredients to try a new bread recipe.
“Hello there stranger”, she said happily. “Fancy meeting you here again!”
“Why hello Melinda, it is nice to see you as well” “and to be seen” he said. Then winked and chuckled softly.
Melinda couldn’t help by laugh along with him and almost blush at how captivating she found his smile and laugh.
“So do I get a pass since I didn’t try to run you down with cart again” she teased.
“Well, unfortunately ma’am I don’t have any stickers but how about lunch” he said invitingly. “Know any good places to eat?”
“I was only joking, but if you are looking for a great place to eat there’s a deli I know that serves the best pastrami on rye sandwich. It is on Meadowlark Lane.” She could almost smell and taste the sandwich just thinking about it – the fresh homemade bread and pastrami slices freshly sliced.
“I am still learning all the streets, would you mind accompanying me so I can find it my way and in return I will repay your kindness with a free lunch. “He asked with a boyish grin that nearly pleaded with her to say yes.
“Of course, I am so sorry in a small town like this I sometimes forget that not everyone was born and raised here. My apologies and yes lunch sounds good, how about we meet back here in a few hours?”
“I have a few errands that I have to finish first, if that’s alright?”
“That would be fine with me. I will be here with bells on” he said sweetly as he winked and waved good-bye.”
After her shopping was complete, Melinda headed to her house and put away all her groceries. Checking her watch, she decided that she would have time to go for a workout and still have time to meet Jobe for lunch.
She grabbed her work out great, a bottle of water and a change of clothes for afterward
. “I can save time if I get ready at the gym.”
While she was running on the treadmill, she started to question why she spontaneously agreed to lunch with an almost stranger. This was so out of character for her as she was always the cautious and reserved type who preferred the company of her cat Celestica over people but there was something so captivating and genuine about him.
She couldn’t put a finger on it but it was almost like she was drawn to him by Divine Intervention.
After she washed up and got dressed, she pulled out her lipstick and hair brush to finalize her appearance. Looking at herself in the mirror she took a long deep breath and said to herself “here goes nothing!” She went to her locker and grabbed her stuff, headed out to her car and threw her belongings in back seat.
Before she headed to the supermarket, she checked her watch and noticed she still had twenty minutes left. She sat in her car for a few minutes and collected her thoughts and her composure as her heart was racing wildly. She could feel herself blush as she realized this was the first time her heart beat so crazy.
“Ok gran, keep me safe”, she said looking at the chain with the locket hanging in her mirror and then looked up to the sunroof and blew a kiss to the sky.
Driving to meet him, she turned on her favorite jazz station and began to sing along as she let her worries slip away to the sound of musical notes dancing in the air.
Waiting at the supermarket, Jobe paced back and forth holding a bouquet of yellow roses. He could not believe how nervous he was for a casual lunch date – he was never nervous around woman.
Although it had been a few years, since his last relationship – he had been dating on and off but no one struck him as “future” worthy.
“There is something about her,” he thought to himself “she is mysterious and charming”. He laughed softly at himself for sounding so corny.
As he waited, his insecurities started to run through his mind “what if she doesn’t show?” “What if she doesn’t like roses or hates the colour yellow?”
Before he could go crazy with anxiety and insecurities, he saw her black Honda pull into the parking lot. He could feel himself grin with pleasure and tried to act cool and calm.
“Man up, Jobe”, he told himself as he walked to meet her at the front doors of super market.
“Hello again, stranger”, she said teasingly as she walked up to him and waved.
“Hello lovely lady, you look very nice. These are for you”, he said shyly as he pulled out the flowers from behind his back. “I hope you like them!”
“Oh my goodness, they are so beautiful! I don’t know how you knew but I love yellow roses!” She went up to him and gave him a hug and a kiss on his check.
He couldn’t believe how sweet she smelled and how nice she felt in his arms.
He smiled at the thought of getting to know her on a more personal level.
“Shall we head to lunch? It is just a few blocks away, is it okay if we walk? It is such a beautiful day!” she asked.
“Sounds great to me”, he said “Lead the way, my lovely guide!”
They began to walk toward the deli and started talking as they walked along in the warm, sunny afternoon.
Chapter Four – Divine Connections
During lunch, they talked about their lives and their goals for the future. Both Melinda and Jobe were surprised at how easy the conversation flowed as well as the depth of sharing that was exchanged as they talked about things they had not shared with anyone else in their lives.
It was almost as if someone or something else was in control of conversation and the direction of which the outing would take. As they enjoyed lunch and chatted, it seemed as if no one else was around them and time seemed to just fly by without anyone realizing.
Melinda and Jobe talked so freely and openly to each other as if they had known each other their whole lives. It was the easiest and most honest, in depth conversations either of them had ever engaged in.
Looking up while taking a sip of her latte, Melinda realized the clock and was shocked at the time they had been there talking.
“Oh dear, I never realized time! I have a soup cooking on slow cooker for supper.” she said apologetically.
“I hate to end such a great afternoon” she said disappointingly.
“I know what you mean”, Jobe said “it is alright you should go check on your supper and I should go start mine too.”
Jobe stood up and went to move out her chair to help her from table and then helped her with coat. Manners were instilled in him at a young age and he knew how to be what his momma called “a proper gentleman”!
“Thank you for a wonderful afternoon and being such a gentleman” Melinda said sweetly as
she leaned into hug him. “I had a great time!”
“You are most welcome! I had a wonderful time as well – I hope we can do this again soon!” He kissed her on the check sweetly.
“This is going to sounds forward, which believe I am not usually but I had a crazy idea.” “Why don’t you join me for supper as it is such a beautiful night and we can eat in the backyard of my apartment? There is a nice patio area!”
“I would love to join you and do not worry I did not find it forward and I will be on my best behaviour!”
“Great, we can walk back to super market and grab some wine and you can follow me in your truck!”
“Sounds great to me! I will spring for desert then.” He said smiling at her.
As they walked back to the super market Melinda and Jobe continued talking and laughing. You would think that they would run out of conversation, but the words flowed like a soothing river that ran through a picturesque countryside.
Once they arrived at the super market, Melinda headed to the wine section to pick out a bottle of wine. Once she got there, she realized she never asked him what his preference was and started chuckling at herself.
“I will just have to buy one of each” she said and she picked out her favourite Zinfandel wine, a red wine and a white wine.
Jobe had picked out his favourite peach cobbler for desert and a box of “After Eight” chocolates and was at cash register paying for the items when he spotted Melinda.
He waived her over and advised the cashier to put all items on his bill. When he saw the three bottles of wine, he laughed a wholesome laugh and said to her “Plan on getting me drunk do you?”
She blushed and giggled at his comment and then said “No silly, I just didn’t know what you liked so I decided to cover all of my basis. Besides, if you pick just one the other wines get jealous so I thought it better to be fair!”
They both laughed and headed to their vehicles and as she waved him on to follow her, the thoughts began to race through her mind as if finally hitting her. “This could be a bad decision, I know gran but I don’t get that vibe from him!
“Please watch over me just in case”, she whispered to herself looking toward the blue sky. She reached into her pulse as they approached the town’s only street lights and pulled out one small pink tablet and grabbed for her water bottle. “This should help take the edge off”, she said to herself.
Once they reached her street, she signalled when she got near her house so he would know where to turn. He was looking around at the neighbourhood, so he had time to head toward her apartment door and unlock the dead bolt. He joined her a few minutes later with the wine and deserts.
“Quant little neighbourhood you have here” he said admiring all the old style houses.
“Yeah, I love it here almost like you become a part of history living here”, she said taking a deep breath. She loved the smell of the lilac trees that surrounded the houses.
“I have always loved lilac smells since I wore pigtails and ribbons!
They remind me of summers visiting my grandmother’s house!” she said smiling at the memory of drinking sweet tea with her grandmother in the garden as the sun danced amongst the sweet vegetables.
“Sorry for not having the apartment clean. I wasn’t expecting company.” As she opened the door to her apartment, the smell of her soup danced in the air, making their mouth water in anticipation.
As Jobe looked around, he was amazed at how neat, orderly and cleaned her apartment was and baffled at how she thought it was messy! Everything was placed concisely and labelled perfectly.
“Hun, your apartment is far from messy and dirty! You should see the state of my small bunk house I rent.” He laughed and then said “if this is your version of messy, you can mess up my place any day!”
She showed him to her small, wooden l kitchen table and went to gather two bowls and spoons as well as the rest of her dishes. She placed all of the dishes on her antique serving tray and headed to the table. When she started setting the table, Jobe insisted on helping so she went to stir her homemade soup and turn off the slow cooker. She grabbed her soup serving bowl and ladle and began pouring the soup into the delicate china bowl.
Before heading to the table, Melinda went into her fridge and brought out her homemade wholegrain buns and placed them in oven for 5 minutes on low to heat up. Once the buns were ready, she gathered up everything and headed into the dining area she created for herself out of the small nook area in her kitchen.
“This is a new recipe for me, so I hope it is okay.” she said as she placed the bowl on her table
“It sure smells wonderful! I am sure it will be great!” Jobe said as she sat down and he poured some soup into each bowl as well as pouring some wine.
Taking a spoonful of soup, Jobe smiled and said genuinely “This soup is delicious, where did you find the recipe?”
“Thank you, I actually kind of made the recipe up myself. I am kind of fascinated with mixing flavours in food experiences.”
“I love cooking and exploring foods!” Melinda confessed proudly.
“You should be a cook – people would pay to eat soup this good! It is the perfect mix of flavours with a subtle surprise twist!” he exclaimed excitedly.
” I am glad you like it! Actually one of my pipe dreams since I was 18 has been to actually be a chef either that or write a cookbook!” “I know a silly dream as there are so many writers and chefs out there already!” She sighed.
Unable to believe that she shared that with him, she blushed and looked down pretending to take some more soup. She had only shared that with her grandmother in the months before cancer would rob her of her best friend.
Sensing her shyness and reluctance about sharing the secret with him, Jobe decided it was time to open up and share his pipe dream with her too. “Dreams are nothing to be embarrassed about, they keep us hoping and make the spirit soar.”
“Since you so bravely shared such a persona story and dream, I will let you in on a little secret – I have a pipe dream too that no one knows about! I love antiques and old architecture buildings and homes and I would love to one day either build or design a dream house that looks antique. I saw a picture of an old doll house my mother ha growing up and I would love a house that looked like that! I always thought it would be cool, turning a new house into something antique looking.” Jobe said proudly and then he reached into his pocket and pulled out a picture of his mother standing beside the doll house.
“This is my mom – she was a stand up lady with a heart of gold. She passed away 2 years ago of a heart attack!”
“I am sorry to hear that” Melinda said “I know how hard loss can be when it is someone close, my grandmother died last year after battling cancer. She raised me because my mother was hit by a drunk driver when I was 6 months old!” Melinda reached for his hand and squeezed it affectionately.
During dinner, they continued talking about their families and the people in their lives who have influenced parts of their lives seem to flow so easily.
Melinda and Jobe talked into the late evening until she realized the time and began yawning. Remembering her meeting tomorrow that her boss arranged so that she can pitch her latest project, Melinda said apologetically “Wow – it is 10:00 and I have a big day tomorrow at work!! I hate to end this evening, but I still have a lot of work to finish before tomorrow!”
“It’s ok; I should head out anyway and go get some work done around house. I had a wonderful day with you!” He said as he leaned in and kissed her sweetly on her lips. “I hope that we can do this again soon!” he said as he grabbed a pen and wrote his number down on her hand.
“I would love to! I had a wonderful time. I will have to call you once I am done working on this account. I am hoping to have it wrapped up in the next week or so!” she said.
“I will await your call, my lady” he said as she walked him out to the car and handed him some left over soup and buns.
“Have a good evening and thanks again for tonight”, she said hugging him at his car.
As she watched him drive away, she found her mind replaying the events of their time together and how smoothly everything flowed together. It had been the first time in a long time that she let someone so close to her inner circle without having self-doubt and insecurity plaque her mind. It felt nice to let her guard down, but a part of her hoped that she wasn’t foolish to do so.
“I guess only time will tell, right gran!” she said to herself as she looked out the evening sky filled with stars. All of a sudden as if an answer to her internal questions and doubt, a small sparrow flew toward her and landed right beside her. “Nice to meet you little fella! I think you are the only bird I have ever come visit my yard” ” I guess I’ll have to put bird feeder on grocery list for next week” she said smiling at the little bird.
While Jobe was driving back to his bunk house, his mind began day dreaming. All of his thoughts seemed to be about her – there was something special about Melinda. Something was so innocent, yet so complex about her!! He worried that kissing her may have been too forward and may have scared her off, but she didn’t push him away.
Chapter Five – New Beginnings
Over the course of the next couple of months, Melinda and Jobe grew closer and spent as much time together as possible. Both had crazy schedules which left them working long hours, but they tried to call and talk at least twice a week.
In beginning, there were so many time contrasts and obstacles making it hard for them to figure out the rhythm of their relationship. Their courtship had went from spending as much time together as they could fit in to phone conversations every second night. The distance and void was felt by both Melinda and Jobe and it was creating them to slowly drift apart.
To Melinda, she always felt torn between her work obligations and getting quality time with Jobe, even though a part of her had lost her passion for her job. Jobe was always busy working for the farmer he rented off and although he loved the fresh air and outdoors – it began to feel less like home and more like a lonely building.
The two lovebirds struggled to find a balance and desperately clung to the hope that life would allow them more time!
Then on of their precious moments together, they had taken a long walk together in one of the adjoining neighbourhoods and came across a for rent sign on an old brick house. Out of curiosity and out of a crazy sense of adventure they decided to go look through the window of the house and gather a small peak.
As luck would have it the landlord was there and had just finished up repainting two of the rooms, when he saw them perusing and approached the window. He was an older man with grey hair and deep brown eyes and opened the window.
“You are more than welcome to come look around. All I ask is take your shoes and watch the walls – I put a new coat on them!” he said proudly. “Name is Bill; it is nice to meet you both.”
“Howdy sir, my name is Jobe and this lovely lady is Melinda. Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to look and it is plenty nice to meet you as well,” he said shaking Bill’s hand.
As the couple browsed the house and got a feel for the rooms, a sudden “this is it!” feeling overtook them and both almost in unison stated “We will take it!”
Bill being an older and much wiser man, as well as a firm believers in signs and Devine Intervention , smiled and warmly and said “I will hold house for 24 hours, think it over and if it was meant to be yours – you will be here tomorrow at this time (6pm sharp). Agreeing to his deal, they shook his hand again and headed off for the rest of their walk.
While walking further they mulled over the idea and whether it was too soon or the right choice.
“While Melinda, it is a big decision to make as it could really change things for us. It could also be what we need as well as it would allow us to spend more time together!” Jobe toyed with the idea back and forth in his mind as he talked out loud.
“It is such an important decision; life changing that is for sure. Part of me is worried we are jumping the gun as we have been taking slows and haven’t even… Um you know been intimate,” she blushed as she spoke.
“But there is another part that is so pulled to this house and it feels right! I think we should sleep on it and discuss it tomorrow at lunch,” she said and put her hand in his “For now, let’s just enjoy the moment.”
“Sounds like a plan besides I am enjoying this moment immensely,” he smiled. He kissed her gently on the lips and they continued their walk.
At the end of their walk, he walked her home and kissed her good night making a date for lunch the next day. Agreeing to sleep on the decision and discuss it over lunch the following day.
During the evening, both Melinda and Jobe pondered their decision and whether they were ready for the next big step in their relationship. Melinda had so many friends whose relationships ended just as quickly as it began over “jumping head first” and she saw the devastation, but she feared that if the continued living their lives like two ships passing each other at sea she would lose him.
That night Melinda’s dreams were filled with visions of what their future would hold along with the journey. Melinda’s dreams seemed to race between heart break and happiness for the two of them. While her heart longed for Jobe in her life and was overjoyed with the prospect of a future of waking up to him every day, her mind was plagued with the worry about hurtful endings and broken hearts. She tossed and turned for hours until finally she couldn’t stand it anymore and turned to what she did at times where confusion left her scattered. She went to her kitchen, lit a candle and grabbed the picture frame with her grandmother’s photo and talked to her and God for guidance.
After what seemed like hours of a “one sided” conversation Melinda sat silently in hopes of finding or hearing answers. The only words that she heard sounded like more of a whisper telling her to sleep. Blowing out the candle, she tidied up the kitchen table, turned off the lights and headed to bed.
“Hopefully the answers will be clear in the morning”, she whispers to herself as she gets comfortable in her bed.
Jobe spent the night pacing his bunk house while replaying the day they spent together and the choice that was facing the two of them the next day. Concerns of messy endings and broken hearts bounced around his mind while his heart played with the possibilities of future moments.
Feeling weak from lack of sleep, he grabbed his cup of tea from the counter and went to rest in his chair.
Closing his eyes to rest, he could feel his racing heart slow down and his muscles relax.
As the sun rose, Melinda and Jobe both woke with the first rays of light anxious about what their lunch date would reveal.
Trying to concentrate on the tasks ahead for the day, Melinda heads to the shower to clear her head and prepare for her morning at work. She had to make sure that she was focused today as her presentation for the new client’s advertisement campaign was today at 11 in the morning.
Jobe woke up in the chair stiff and still tired from only having a few hours of sleep. He stood up and stretched and then headed to the bathroom to have a hot shower to ease the aches.
He had a busy morning today that involved repairing the farmer’s tractor, tending to cattle and breaking in a newly bought horse. There was no time to think about pain and he was not about to let it control his day.
Once Jobe was showered and dressed, he started his morning stretches and then headed out to the farmer’s field to begin his morning inspection. While walking through the scenic fields and taking in the country air Jobe suddenly remembered it was his grandmother’s birthday and picked up his cell phone to order her a bouquet of her favorite flowers.
This was a yearly occurrence and had become routine for him, so it surprised him that it had slipped his mind the last few weeks. Every year he sent her a bouquet of daffodils at the nursing home for her birthday and every year the nurses would explain to her who he was and why she had flowers in her room.
Alzheimer’s disease had destroyed her once viral and active mind and left behind an empty shell of a woman who no longer knew how to care for herself, a fact that broke Jobe’s heart so in exchange for a visit flowers were sent. He never talked about his grandmother, not even to Melinda as talking about it made it all too real for him.
While on the phone with the florist, Jobe decides to order two dozen yellow roses for Melinda as a surprise to be delivered to her office. He wanted her to know he was thinking of her during her presentation and that he was anxiously awaiting their lunch date. The beauty that surrounded him this morning reaffirmed his decision and he knew that it would be the right thing to do for both of them.
When Melinda was showered and dressed she decided to head to work early, so she gathered up her brief case, lunch and coffee thermos and purse and locked her apartment door behind her. Once she had put everything in her backseat of the car and settled herself in the front, she headed to her favorite coffee shop to have her thermos filled and order her favorite breakfast treat – blueberry muffins. When Melinda pulled into her office, she let out a sigh of relief “No one here, yet! It will be nice and quiet while I am preparing for the presentation.” she whispered to herself.
Gathering her belongings, she shut the car doors and locked the car and walked up to the glass doors and unlocked them, entered the building security code and headed to the small elevator on the left of the reception desk doors.
Once she had arrived on her floor, she headed to her small office to hang up her coat and check her messages and then gathered up the presentation material and went to the board room to sort all the material out and rehearsed what would be one of the biggest presentations she would have made in her career and there was a lot riding on it both for her and for her firm.
Melinda usually was filled with excitement and pride when she was facing a presentation for ad campaigns, but lately something felt different in her and she could feel her passion slowly fading away for her chosen career choice.
Melinda finished tidying up the boardroom after her presentation was over and everyone had departed. It had been a tough sell as the CEO of the company she was pitching her campaign to have come with a lot of questions and possible scenarios. He definitely had done his research on the firm and their politics.
Although she usually thrived during the Q and A
T. section of her presentations, today for some reason she felt like something was wrong with her presentation. She could feel her heart race and could feel her knees shake and she hoped no one noticed.
Once she was done gathering her presentation material, she headed to her office to relax and regroup. As she approached her desk, she saw a huge bouquet of yellow roses waiting to greet her.
Instantly she could feel herself blush as she looked around at her co-workers. Walking up to the beautiful flowers decorating her desk, she paused took in a deep breath to smell the fragrant flowers and delicately removed the small card.
“Thinking of You Love Jobe! See you at lunch xo” was written in the tiny card. She smiled, held it to her heart and checked the time – 11:45 AM, he would be here at 12:30 which gave her enough time to freshen up and gather her thoughts before he showed up.
Today would determine the course of their relationship and her emotions were all over the place. Taking a deep breath she walked to her chair, grabbed her purse and headed to the bathroom to ready herself for their lunch date.
After Jobe was done tending to the cattle and livestock, he glanced at his watch and headed to the bunk house to clean up and dress in his best outfit.
This day would have to be special and he wanted to look his best for her, which baffled him because never before had he cared about how he looked on a date.
Once he was ready Jobe grabbed the truck keys and headed out the bunk house to go pick up Melinda for lunch. His nerves were all over the place and his heart was racing as he pulled up to her office.
He parked his truck and walked up to meet her outside the main entrance of the building. His mind racing as he waited for her to exit the building – he was so nervous about what her decision would be. He was so worried they wouldn’t be on the same page and what that would mean to their relationship.
Just at the moment he was getting lost in his thoughts, she appeared and caught him off guard. He was taken aback by her beauty – so simple, yet elegant. The instance he looked into her eyes when she kissed him, every doubt he had vanished.
When she walked out of the building, she couldn’t help but smile. He looked so dapper and handsome dressed up.
“Such a sweet gesture,” she thought to herself “although it is a little fancy for a deli date”.
Chapter Six – Rendezvous with Fate
Once they were seated and buckled in. Jobe proceeded to drive in the direction of the deli. He wanted her to think they were heading there and at last moment he would insist on “going for a drive.”
He wanted today to be special for her no matter what she decided.
Melinda gently took Jobe’s hand in hers as he was driving – it felt so natural and yet it still sent sparks through her spine. She had to admit to herself that she was falling for him hard and fast, which on one level scared her but also felt so natural.
As they approached the deli, Jobe suggested a little drive to tour the area. Melinda was curious as to why but she trusted him and thought it may be fun pretending to be a tourist and agreed.
Driving around, Jobe kept her on her toes as he would talk about the houses and guess their values. Once they got closer to the restaurant, he mentioned he had a surprise for her and asked her to close her eyes. At first was too curious and kept probing for hints before she would close her eyes but Jobe was patient and would only answer with a simple phrase “hints ruin element of surprise.”
Realizing that she would not get any clues as to what lay ahead; Melinda finally decided to play again and closed her eyes.
“What was he planning, she wondered to herself quietly. Patience and spontaneity had never been her strong suites, but she would try her hardest to play along as she could see the excitement in Jobe’s eyes and did not want to ruin it for him.
Upon arrival at the restaurant Jobe further instructed Melinda to keep her eyes closed as he parked his truck and then guided her out the truck and through the doors of restaurant? Seeing his arrival, the hostess escorted them to the table and assisted Melinda on sitting down.
Once she was seated she was allowed to open her eyes and when she did, she was in awe of the elegance and beauty in the atmosphere. He had brought her to one of the finest restaurants in town and also the hardest to get into as they are always full.
“This place is beautiful, Jobe! How did you get a spot on short notice, this place is always full to capacity?” She asked in awe as she looked around and noticed all the full tables.
“It is my secret to know my lady besides if I told you I would have to kill you!” He chuckled and winked at her. “A man has charms too, you know!”
His smile almost lit up the room and Melinda couldn’t help but be in awe of this wonderful man in front of her.
“However you did it, thank you for bringing me! This place is so beautiful!” She exclaimed excitedly.
She was amazed by the elegance and simplicity of this perfect little restaurant – its ambience was so majestic and serene. The aromas that filled the air were so intoxicating s that you could taste the food without even eating anything.
“This is the place I would love to own and run someday, “she thought to herself.
She lit up the room with her smile and excitement when she opened those beautiful brown eyes of hers. He could feel the emotions radiate from her as she looked around the restaurant and then into his eyes.
It was magical and captivating to watch the surprise unfold through her expressions and eyes.
“I am so glad you like it and approve” Jobe said as he leaned over to give her a kiss. “I wanted this night to be special for you no matter what the outcome about where to go from here!”
“That is so sweet of you, but any day we spend together is special to me. This is incredibly wonderful of you to plan this” she said smiling at him from across the table.
After they had ordered their meal, Melinda and Jobe started to discuss the decision about whether to rent the house. Both of them had been filled with anxious excitement.
“This is going to be a big change if we go through with this and I do not want you to feel pressured in making a decision, Melinda” Jobe said in a sincere tone.
He wanted to be sure that she was not feeling rushed, pressured into making a decision. It had to be right for her and the choice must be hers without any stress and pressure.
Melinda silently listened to Jobe as she gathered her thoughts and tried to form in her head what she wanted to say. His concern for her was so genuine and touching that she had to fight back tears. No one except her grandmother had ever showed her so much love and concern. She could sense the love he had for her that was yet to be expressed verbally. This fact alone made her choice seem so right and easy to make and she was so excited to tell him.
“I have given it a lot of thought in the last night and I have to follow my heart in this matter. My heart is telling me that this was meant to be and that this house is perfect,” she said smiling “I say we go for it! What do you think?”
Jobe gathered his thoughts and took a deep breath, he was ecstatic that she said she wanted the house. “I want the same thing you do sweetheart and I say we go for it too” he said with a genuine smile and sparkle in his eyes.
He was beaming with excitement as he saw the emotion in her eyes and he ordered champagne from the server. It was going to be a special start to a new chapter in both of lives and cause for celebration.
The two were so excited about what would lay ahead for their future and how their relationship would progress.
Noticing the time, Melinda mentioned she needed to get back to the office and finish up loose ends from her presentation. They got up after finishing their meal and went to pay, thanking the waiter for excellent service.
Jobe dropped Melinda off at the office and went to prepare his next surprise for her. He was going to make this evening unforgettable for her.
Chapter Seven – Magic Moments
After Jobe had finished planning and preparing all his surprises for Melinda, he checked his watch and then headed to freshen up. He had an hour and a half before he had to pick up Melinda for supper and then head to meet Bill. Heading to the bathroom, he grabbed his towel and prepared the water so it was just right to ease his achy muscles.
Melinda had just finished up her presentation report, follow up calls and ordering the “Thank You” baskets that were customary for her office to send to potential clients. When she looked up at her clock she noticed that she had about an hour left of her day before Jobe would arrive, so she took the opportunity to organize filing in her desk and relax. She wondered what he would have planned next and smiled. “That man is full of surprises!”
At 4:30, Jobe showed up and pulled up to the front doors to greet Melinda. Getting out of the truck to help her in, he leaned over and gave her a small kiss. “Your chariot awaits my lady!”
“Why thank you kind sir,” she said shyly with a giggle.
After they both were buckled in, Jobe began driving to his first surprise for Melinda. He was confident that she would love what he had planned for their supper meal!
“So where are we grabbing a bite? I am famished,” Melinda inquired.
“Telling you would ruin my fun,” Jobe said and laughed “Just wait and see!”
“Oh goodness, you already made this day special silly! You didn’t have to go to so much trouble,” Melinda said sincerely.
“It is my pleasure making this day special for you” he said and then squeezed her hand.
As they continued along, Jobe came up to the super market where they met and pretended he needed to grab some personal items. Parking his truck he went to the passenger side and opened up the door for Melinda.
He could feel his heart race in anticipation for her reaction when she walked into the store. Unknown to her, he had planned a special picnic for her, of course with the owner’s consent. It had cost him a bit but he knew in his heart that it would be worth it.
As she walked up to the main doors, Melinda was surprised at how quiet it was in the store. It appeared they had missed the supper rush that normally happened. “What luck,” she thought to herself as she wasn’t in the mood to deal with crowds. It had been a long day with her presentation work.
As she entered the store, she couldn’t believe her eyes! The store had been decorated with all of her favorite things! Every detail was a representation of her down to the colours and lights.
She couldn’t help but smile and blush at the gesture. Looking around the store, she noticed in the very aisle they met was a picnic set up with all her favourite foods.
“Oh Jobe, this is incredible and so beautiful! How did you do this?” She was amazed at the breath taking site!
“I am so glad that you like it! I wanted to surprise you and celebrate the first day we met. Please don’t worry about the cost as you are well worth it and I love watching your expression. ”
“Shall we go eat?”
“Sounds good to me!”
“Lead the way!” She grabbed his hand and they walked toward the picnic that was set up for them.
Once they were both seated on the blanket, Jobe handed her a plate and offered her first choice of food.
Melinda sat in awe for a few minutes and took in all the aromas that were around her. She decided that she would start with her favourite soup and crackers first.
Jobe loved watching the expressions on her face as she tasted every flavourful food. He could see the excitement in her eyes as she ate everything – she was like a child tasting candy for the first time.
After they were done the main course, Jobe pulled out the dessert that he planned for them. He served Melinda first and then prepared his plate. Once they were done, Jobe tidied up their picnic and went to thank the store owner again for his help. The store owner was very pleasant and mentioned he had known Melinda’s grandmother and was more than happy to oblige.
After they were ready, Melinda and Jobe headed to the house trying not to get their hopes up in the case Bill was not serious or changed his mind. They had been so caught up in the excitement of what their future would be that it never crossed their mind that he could be joking until now.
Even though their minds were now questioning whether he was serious or playing a cruel joke on them they decided to take a leap of faith and continue through their drive to the house. As they turned onto the street Melinda squeezed Jobe’s hand and said gently “If he changed his mind, we can look for another house!”
“As much as I loved house, there will be more opportunities for us.”
Jobe sensing her nervousness and worry took her hand and said to her “it will be okay sweetie! I have a good feeling about him!”
He wanted to keep her spirit positive and hoped that more than anything her dream would come true.
As they approached the house their hearts almost jumped for joy, sitting on the porch with ice tea was Bill. When they drove up, Bill waived at them and smiled. Once they had parked, Melinda got out of the truck and walked up the drive way toward Bill.
“How did you know we’d return?” “What if we had changed our minds, you’d be waiting here?”
Bill looked at her and smiled and said confidently “I just had a strong and good feeling about you two, something told me this house was meant for you!”
Bill never talked about how he knew things as it was best left a mystery. It was a part of his life he never shared with anyone.
“So shall I re-show you the house now that all the rooms have been painted and dried?”
“We would love a grand tour!” Jobe said enthusiastically. “I am sure it is perfect!”
“Follow me young folks,” Bill said leading them to the front door. As he entered the house Bill had a knowing smile about the new changes he made. As they entered the house, Melinda looked around excitedly as she envisioned where her belongings would be placed. Every single room was so perfect and spacious which she never noticed before when they looked at it previously.
The one room that she was the most excited to see was the kitchen as her love of cooking kept seeping through her cool facade. As she entered the kitchen, she was taken aback by the sights that greeted her. Bill had installed state of art appliances, new flooring was laid down and rich colours were painted on the wall.
Melinda ran out of the kitchen excitedly and gave Bill a huge hug. “I love what you did in kitchen – it is so beautiful but it most have cost a lot of money! You must have worked so hard to get that all done in such a short time – you must let me pay you back for the work!”
“Nonsense my dear, I am an old, retired man and I enjoyed having it done besides the appliances had to be replaced anyway.” Bill knew while having the kitchen redone that she would love it – he had a vision of what should be done and followed the Divine Guidance.
“Let’s get all the formalities taken care of and you guys can join me for some sweet tea.”
“Sounds wonderful Bill and I have the perfect things to go with the sweet tea! I will be right back,” she said as she ran to the truck and got her bag. Reaching in the bag she pulled out her famous scones wrapped in plastic wrap and then headed to the house.
“I hope everyone is hungry. I brought a fresh batch of scones that I had left over from the office.”
“Looks wonderful, my dear,” Bill said as he smiled at the thought of his brand new kitchen being perfect for her.
While they were waiting for kettle to boil, the three of them went over all the paperwork and agreed upon monetary details. They arranged to drop by next day to put down deposit and then discussed rules for decorating in the house.
Once all was settled, Bill got up turned kettle off and prepared sweet tea and handed Melinda a silver platter for her scones. After enjoying the scones and tea Bill handed Melinda an extra set of keys and excused himself for some errands he needed to complete in town. Inviting them to stay longer if they felt like it and take in the whole picture.
While Melinda was tidying up and doing the dishes, Jobe excused himself and went to gather something that was in back of truck and brought it upstairs to the master suite. Laying out the contents, he began preparing for his final and what he believed would be the most memorable surprise. Jobe wanted everything to be perfect and for Melinda to know the depth of emotions he felt for her.
After she was done the clean-up, she suggested a walk around neighbourhood so they could orientate themselves with the neighbourhood. This would work perfectly into his plan as we would be able to surprise her once they got back from their tour for the evening.
Along their walk the couple excitedly discussed their plans for the house and the layout in each room.
Once they arrived back at the house, Jobe asked Melinda to close her eyes as he had another surprise for her. He led her upstairs as he dodged all her questions about what he had planned for her. Once he had guided her to the master bedroom he instructed her to open her eyes.
Melinda couldn’t believe her eyes there in front of her were rose pedals laid out, candles lit and champagne and strawberries placed on a blanket. Just when she thought she was going to explode with joy, Jobe pulled out an envelope and hands it to her.
“Oh my Jobe, you are spoiling me! What is this?” Melinda fingered the pink envelope and eyed him lovingly.
“Open in and find out my lady!” Jobe smiled and winked as he watched her excitement boil over.
When she opened up the envelope and pulled out the contents, she noticed that it was an invitation of some sort inviting her to a fancy event. As she read the words printed on this fancy paper, she couldn’t believe her eyes. Printed in gold lettering was the reality of her one biggest dream, cooking lessons with one of the famous chefs in their town and a two week trip to Italy to meet and cook with an Italian Chef.
“How did you do this Jobe, it takes years just to get into his restaurant and the guy is a recluse off work hours. He barely talks to anyone in town?”
“Let’s just say I called in a favour! Mom’s the word but he is a huge gardener and I helped him nurse his plants when they got leaf rot”
“Wow he must really love his gardens,” Melinda laughed and hugged Jobe. “This is the most beautiful gift anyone has ever given me. Italy wow- this must have been so very expensive.” Overwhelmed by joy Melinda reached over and gave him the biggest hug that her strength could muster.
Melinda and Jobe spent the night cuddling on the floor of the master bedroom sharing in the excitement of their new life together.
Melinda woke in the middle of the night startled by a flashback of an event that she wished could be wiped clean from her mind. Once she regained her composure she sat up watching Jobe sleep and trying to find the courage and strength to open up the dark secret that haunted her.
Melinda knew that tomorrow would have to be the day to tell him as she did not want to have it creep up on the future ahead. Feeling her anxiety start to rise and having a shaky feeling overtake her, she slowly and carefully got up and went to her purse to grab her medication.
When dawn broke, Melinda turned over and kissed Jobe awake as she felt it time to face her past and break the hold it had on her. “Jobe honey, are you awake?” Melinda asked quietly as she did not want to startle him awake.
“I am now, what is wrong? Are you okay?” Jobe asked with growing concern.
“Sorry to wake you up, but I need to talk to you about something.”
“Ok sweetheart, what is it? Are you ok?” Jobe said as he sat up and stretched.
Taking a deep breath, Melinda braced herself and then began telling Jobe about the event that set her life into a downward spiral years ago. The attack had taken so much out of her both physically and mentally, which had broken her spirit and her psyche.
Melinda explained how she had been in vacation with her best friend in New York and had befriended a man in his thirties. At first everything was going well, but one night at a party he decided that a platonic friendship was not enough for him and he had slipped something in her drink and raped her. She never pressed charges and told only her Gran about it. That night not only was her innocence stolen but her mental health was shattered.
After she was done telling her story Melinda broke down to tears and curled into a ball on the blanket. Jobe took her into his arms and let her cry while comforting her until she fell asleep in his arms. Laying her down on blanket he covered her up with a warm blanket and went downstairs to plan a special meal for lunch and supper.
Melinda explained how she had been in vacation with her best friend in New York and had befriended a man in his thirties. At first everything was going well, but one night at a party he decided that a platonic friendship was not enough for him and he had slipped something in her drink and raped her. She never pressed charges and told only her Gran about it. That night not only was her innocence stolen but her mental health was shattered.
After she was done telling her story Melinda broke down to tears and curled into a ball on the blanket. Jobe took her into his arms and let her cry while comforting her until she fell asleep in his arms. Laying her down on blanket he covered her up with a warm blanket and went downstairs to plan a special meal for lunch and supper.
As Melinda slept, she relived the attack but this time in her dream she was strong enough to fight back. Finally after years of solitude and inner turmoil she would have peace and most important love.
Chapter Eight – Precious Gifts
Melinda and Jobe sat in front of the fire place listening to music and cuddling while waiting for supper to be ready. Melinda closed her eyes and leaned her head into Jobe’s chest -his arms always felt like home where she knew she was safe.
It had been a whirlwind year for the young couple filled with many ups and downs as well as many growth experiences during their relationship.
They couldn’t believe that a full year had passed since they met. It had felt still so fresh and new like it was only yesterday that fate tugged on their hearts. So much had happened in a year and although not all was pleasant memories, Melinda would not have traded it in for anything.
To celebrate their one year together, Jobe had prepared a special supper. He had prepared all of their favourite foods alongside of a special desert he had ordered. He had spoiled her with gourmet treats and meals that he cooked every Sunday over the past year.
Melinda was very impressed at how far this once confirmed bachelor had come in the past year as not all his meals turned out in the beginning.
Over dinner, they reminisced about all that had occurred during the past year. They both agreed that the saddest moment is when Bill had passed away because he had become like family to them. It was the medically a shock when the autopsy had said he had died from cancer as there were no signs and symptoms of his illness. They missed him immensely, but knew he was in a better place.
Bill’s death had made Melinda realize how much life she was missing working so hard and so she made the choice to work part time only and spend more time exploring life. She had taken up gardening and rekindled her love of reading and for the first time in years she had felt alive and free.
Jobe had reduced his work load on the farm by delegating more tasks to the new farm hands, which worked out for everyone. He took more of a teaching and training role for the new help his boss recruited, although he still loved doing the hands on work.
Over the course of the evening they discussed their plans for the next couple of months including renovation ideas for a greenhouse and indoor vegetable garden. It had been Melinda’s idea as she had a plan to start a vegetable delivery for the less fortunate families in town.
Melinda had so many wonderful plans for the project and Jobe couldn’t be more proud of her, but he worried she was starting off to big it would overwhelm her. He had suggested starting it as a pilot project on a smaller scale until they got a sense of how neighbours would respond to it. He tread carefully when suggesting it as she had such passion and confidence in her voice that he didn’t want to break all the progress she had made with her counselling sessions.
She had agreed to downsize her plans and decided to spend more time researching demographics. It was the most excitement he had seen in her since they got the house from Bill. Seeing the spark in her eyes was so intoxicating that he swore that he could feel electricity when he touched her hand.
After they were done eating and talking by the fire, Jobe asked Melinda to get dressed warm and meet him outside as he had one more special surprise for her. Jobe headed outside to gather up everything he needed and waited for Melinda to exit the house. He was very excited and could not wait for her to see what was waiting outside for her. Jobe had been saving for her surprise for 5 months.
Little did Jobe know that while he was waiting for Melinda, she was preparing her own surprise for him.
“Melinda, are you coming my dear?”
“Yes darling, just another few minutes!”
After about ten minutes Melinda came outside in her warmest coat and began calling Jobe’s name to find where he was located. After several minutes of wandering she spotted him standing at the drive way talking to his boss. The two men were leaning against a trailer chatting it up when she approaches them.
“What are you fine gentlemen talking about,” she said as she went up behind Jobe and hugged him.
“Before I can tell you I insist you close your eyes!” Jobe was almost as excited as she was but had become a master at playing things cool.
“What do you have planned now, sir? You are so full of surprises,” she said as she closed her eyes.
“Now give me your hand,” Jobe said as he guided her to what was waiting. Placing her hand on the beautiful black mare, he then asked her to look.
“Oh my god, Jobe she is beautiful. Is she a new horse for your boss?”
“No sweetheart this beauty is yours – I wanted to fulfill a dream for you. I remember how you said your dream was to be able to ride.”
“Jobe you never cease to amaze me, but where are we going to keep her. Our yard is too small.”
“My boss has agreed to house him on farm and has given you full access anytime. All you have to do is name her and make her yours!”
Melinda walked up to the mare and ran her hands along her beautiful mane. Out of the blue in a voice that she was sure sounded like Bill’s a name came to her – Arianna.
Melinda hugged the mare’s neck as her heart was filled with joy and love and then ran into Jobe’s arms. “She is so beautiful! Thank you!”
“It was my pleasure darling,” Jobe said kissing her gently on her lips.
“Happy anniversary my sweetheart!”
Well Jobe was talking to his boss Melinda went inside to tidy up and prepare his surprise. She wanted it to be very special and meaningful both of them. She wanted to make sure that this would be the perfect night. She had wanted this for so long but her fear had blocked her from knowing she was ready until today.
Something inside of her said today was the day and she noticed that the fear and doubt were replaced with excitement and joy. She could envision every detail of how their first time would be and began to get caught up in day dream until Jobe’s voice pulled her back to reality.
“Melinda dear, where are you!?” Jobe asked her as he walked into the house.
“Upstairs darling, come and join me
I have a surprise for you!” She sang out to him. As he walked upstairs he was greeted by Melinda dressed in a lacy white negligee sitting on bed.
“Wow darling you look amazing” Jobe exclaimed as he gazed upon the beauty in front of you “are you sure you are ready for this, though? I don’t want to jeopardize your progress!” Jobe said concerned
“I am sure baby! Please make love to me!!” Melinda asked sweetly as she motioned for Jobe to join her on the bed.
Chapter Nine –
Looking back on the last 2 years that they spent together, Jobe couldn’t help but smile at the memories they shared together. Although there were moments of sadness that occurred, he wouldn’t trade these last couple of years for anything as he had such a great friend and lover in Melinda.
Their relationship had grown so much and their bond was so much stronger than before, Jobe knew in his heart that it was time to take the next step. He decided that he would drive to his grandmother’s grave site and tell her his plans, but first he wanted to stop by the jeweller and have him work on the perfect ring. He could remember Melinda talking about how beautiful her grandmother’s ring was and wanted to make hers as special. He hoped a jeweller could design something reflecting both her and her grandmother.
He drove to the local jeweller and headed inside the red brick building with ideas in his head and hope in his heart. Explaining what he could remember from the description of ring and what Melinda’s style was, he asked the jeweller to design a spectacular ring. Waiting for the jeweller to sketch out ring design, he browsed the gold bracelets and charms. He wanted to get a bracelet to go with the ring and have charms that represent her for the bracelet as well. As he was looking through the charms, he came across the two most perfect ones and picked them out to go with bracelet. He also took the piece of paper he brought with him and set it by charms.
Once the jeweller was done the design sketch he showed it proudly to Jobe. It was magnificent and would be perfect for her.
“It is incredible! She will love it!” Jobe said excitedly as he paid the jeweller.
“It will take about a week to make, sir!”
“That’s fine! I will swing by at end of week to check status!”
Just as Jobe was finished paying the farmer he worked for called advising him he needed someone to work this weekend as he had a family emergency. Jobe agreed to head over shortly and then called Melinda to let her know change of plan. As disappointed as she was she understood that something cannot be avoided and family always came first.
One of the endearing qualities that she loved about him was his dedication and loyalty, so it was hard to fault him for it. She told him she loved him and wished him a goodnight and they made plans for supper for the end of the weekend.
After they hung up, Jobe headed to the farm to see what needed to be done and see his boss off. Once he got there he headed to the main house and knocked on the door.
“Thank you for coming so soon, Jobe. I hate to bother you on your night off but my father just called as my ma is in hospital from heart attack!”
“So sorry to hear that, just let me know what you need work on and I will get it finished for you! Do not worry about a thing!”
“Thanks so much, you are a great friend and worker Jobe! I wrote out a small list of what needs done – repairs mostly and just animal maintenance. I should be back in about a week or two to check on things. Once I get there and know more about her condition I will call and update you”
“I will make sure it gets all done! You go and focus on her recovery, I will ensure it all gets taken care and complete an inspection to see what else needs done. “Jobe gave his friend a hug and wished him a safe trip.
Once he was alone, Jobe made himself a pot of tea and looked over the list that was left for him to complete in order to prioritize tasks and then he took a walk out to check on the livestock and make sure all was good for night. He decided it best to tackle repairs in morning, but before he headed to the guest quarters to wind down for night he added a few more things to list.
Satisfied that he had all necessary things covered on list, he grabbed his pot of tea and turned down lights for the night as he headed to his room to wind down for night.
During the night, Jobe tossed and turned as he was having trouble getting comfortable without Melinda beside me. Unable to sleep long, Jobe got up and rested in the lazy boy chair listening to radio until daylight sun rays broke through the darkness.
“Time to get the day started,” he said to himself as he got dressed and ready for the day ahead. He decided to start with the animals as they would probably be hungry first thing this morning, so he headed out to the barn and stable to feed the masses.
After all the livestock was fed he decided he would tend to the horses. This was his favourite chore to do as he found grooming these magnificent animals to be soothing and a great way to clear his mind. He had always loved horses since he was a child and started saving for one when he got his first job at 16, but the dream always got side tracked by some life event or another.
Once all the livestock and horses were tended to he headed into the farm to check off his list. Looking over the list of repairs, he decided to start working on the inside items first as the weather outside was heating up and would be too hot to work outside right now. He would tackle the outside once it cooled down later in the evening.
“Better get the windows weather proofed first,” he said aloud to himself as he headed to the tool closet. “Storm season will be upon us soon enough”. As he set off on completing the task he made mental note to call Melinda and remind her to get supplies for their windows. Inspecting and weather proofing each window as he went along kept Jobe busy for a good couple of hours. As he was going along he noticed the floor boards were a bit loose, so he took out the hammer and nails and began to secure them.
He wanted to ensure that his friend’s house was safe and secure for when he came back from hospital visit.
Upon completion of inspecting and securing the loose floorboards, Jobe stood up and stretched for a fee seconds as he could feel his muscles starting to throb. All of a sudden a dizzy feeling overtook him so he held onto the chair for a bit to get his bearings.
Deciding that it was probably because he hadn’t eaten since breakfast, he decided to go and fix himself a sandwich.
Once he had eaten and tidied up kitchen Jobe looked over tasks to be completed and made the choice to tackle the upstairs repairs as the outside was not cool enough to do work. Grabbing the list, toolbox and a bottle of water he preceded upstairs to the master suite which needed the most work according to the list.
When he entered the room he noticed a pile of supplies ready for the jobs at hand laid in the corner.
“Perfect,” he thought to himself and he went to gather up the materials and supplies he needed to get started on first task.
As he started replacing the hardware on the dressers and closets, he made a mental note to re-stain the dresser later once all other tasks are done. Working down on the list, he began replacing the old screens in the master suite window and replaced the window trim with the new trim that was purchased.
Looking at the clock, Jobe decided to take a short break and replenish himself so he went and sat at the antique desk that faced the bedroom window. Jobe loved this desk as it reminded him of the one his grandfather used to have when he was a child.
“This desk could use a new coat of stain and polishing, I will put that down on the list of to dos” Jobe said out loud to himself.
While Jobe was resting between chores his head started to pound and he was overcome by a migraine so he made his way to the upstairs medicine cabinet and looked for an aspirin. Starting to feel a bit dizzy, Jobe held onto the cabinet and waited for feeling to pass, which it did a few minutes later.
Once he felt steadier, Jobe decided he would finish up small tasks in room and then stain the dresser. He headed to the supply closet and grabbed the extra can of stain to apply to the dresser.
After all the small tasks were done, he prepared the stain for the finishing touch. When he was finished he stepped back and smiled with pride at the job he had completed.
“It will look amazing when dry”, he said excitedly and then blushed as he was talking to himself.
“Now for the outside tasks” he thought to himself “Should be cool enough plus there are only three left to complete”.
Heading outside, he grabbed his tool belt and jogged over to the wooden fence to repair areas with loose boards and posts. The sun had started to set and it had cooled down nicely with a gentle breeze whispering among the lilac trees.
Jobe loved being in the outdoors as it brought him a sense of peace and freedom that working inside behind a desk could not compete with. It was the one reason he left his last job in the city where he worked as an architect because his mind was restless and he needed to let himself heal. There were too many ghosts in New York and so many losses in such a short time – his mother’s death being the last nearly killed him.
Here there were no ghosts and it was a fresh start and he had found love again. He loved the people and this town as they had become like family.
As Jobe started to mend the fences and take in the fresh air, he swore he could smell his mother’s perfume. Shaking his head, he dismissed it as his mind playing tricks on him and then begun to get back to working.
A few hours of working outside, Jobe began to feel light headed so he decided to go and sit on the bench in the lilac orchard.
“I will just sit and close my eyes for a few minutes”, he said to himself as he felt his temples begin to pound.
Melinda was working in the kitchen planning her special supper for Jobe and whistling to herself. She wanted to prepare all his favourite foods and had also planned a surprise desert for him.
While she was stirring her special homemade soup, a sudden chill went through her and caused her to shiver. A sudden uneasy feeling began to overtake her so she went to grab a sweater and stopped to call Jobe.
“I am not sure why but something tells me to call Jobe. I am probably just being paranoid, but I will call to say hi anyway”, she thought to herself.
Heading to the phone, she turned the burner down and stirred the soup one more time.
“Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring”
”Hmm that is so strange he always answers on first ring especially when he is working on farm! I better call the emergency number his boss gave me and see if he heard from him!”
“Hello, Charles Chatsworth”
“Hello Mr. Chatsworth, this is Melinda Kydington I am sorry to bother you but I cannot reach Jobe have you heard from him?”
“No sorry, he is not answering either phone? Hmm well I will try to call him and I will call you back? Can I get your number again Melinda?”
“Thank you, I can be reached at 555-3131”
Melinda paced back and forth awaiting for the call and trying to remain positive and not panic. Images and disturbing possibilities ran through her mind as she fought back tears.
“Oh God Gran, what if something happened to him”, she thought frantically to herself. As she stood there wringing her hands, she swore she could almost feel her grandmother’s hand on her shoulder.
Waiting for almost an eternity, she tried to will the phone to ring silently. After what seemed to be an eternity the phone rang and what she heard unsettled her more as Jobe’s boss could not reach him on even his private line at the farm house so he had reached one of the junior farm hands who agreed to go check on the farm.
Unable to stay still Melinda paced her kitchen anxiously as she silently prayed that everything be alright, but deep down inside her soul she sensed trouble.
After two hours of waiting, which felt like an eternity her phone finally rang and a sense of doom seemed to fill the room before she even reached the phone.
When she heard the news, she felt her heart break and she fell to her knees shaking.
“No, this cannot be happening! How can this be real?” She sobbed and cried to herself “Why Gran, he wasn’t sick?”
Melinda was shattered inside but she knew she had to be strong because she wanted to do right by him. Putting herself in auto mode, Melinda began the lengthy process of funeral preparations.
Melinda knew she had to put on her bravest face and focus on making funeral arrangements for Jobe. She could feel her heart shattering in her chest as she got dressed and ready to head out to the bunk house.
As she drove toward the bunk house she could feel tears start to trickle down her cheeks. “Not now!” She begged silently as she wiped her face.
“I have to make it through today without crying.” As she pulled up to the building, she was awe struck at the beauty of the land and understood why he loved being out here so much. Walking up to the door she could almost feel his presence with her and this made her feel stronger.
There was so much she had to do today and she was not sure where to begin, but she was determined to get everything done and plan the best way to honour Jobe’s life. As she walked in and took a look around she began to feel lightheaded and decided it best to have a brief rest at the oak desk while planning where to start. She grabbed the bottle of water from her bag, took a gulp and headed to the desk.
Sitting at the desk, she reached for the drawer and decided to see what was inside. Fumbling with the handle she realized the drawer was locked, so she started to feel around for a key that may have been hidden on desk. Being unsuccessful at first, Melinda sat back and took a deep breath.
“Help me out Jobe, so I can find the best way to honour you”, she whispered to herself. All of a sudden she had the feeling she should move the shelf sitting on the desk and when she did the key glimmered in her eye sight. Reaching for the key and trying to remain calm as she steadied her hand to open the drawer Melinda said a silent prayer and began sorting through papers.
After sorting out the paper work into pills designated as bills, work information and personal items Melinda came across a large envelope that was sealed with a wax stamp. Curious she carefully opened the envelope being sure to preserve the envelope and seal as best as possible. Once she had pulled up the document tears began to stream down and she knew without a doubt the best way to honour whom he was. She knew what to do to ensure he would always be in her memory and everyone else’s who knew and loved him.
Melinda decided to start working on the funeral arrangements next and she grabbed her pad of paper and the phone book and began the long process that lay ahead of her.
After she had made the necessary phone calls to finalize funeral arrangements, she decided that it was best to take a break. She grabbed her water bottle and bag and headed out to the barn to see one of Jobe’s favourite horses.
“He always loved spending time in the barn,” she said to herself as he headed up to the beautiful red stained building. As she entered the barn, she started to feel the overwhelming calm and joy that he always talked about.
Walking up to the stables that were attached to barn, she could feel his presence around her and was overwhelmed with such a sense of love and loss.
Looking around at the horses, she could swear that they knew he was gone and that they too felt the loss because they were eerily calm and quiet. She could remember every time he called from stables on cell phone, the horses were always active and loud when he was there – as if excited to see an old friend.
She walked to the last stall and looked in and there was a beautiful white horse with a small brown patch on his back. The magnificent animal was lying down in the back of the stall and looked so solemn. She remembered Jobe talking to her about how this beautiful mare would not respond to anyone but him.
She could feel the mare’s sadness because it was as strong as hers – they had both lost someone they loved. She opened the stall door slowly and cautiously took small steps inside. Taking out an apple from her bag, she put it out in her hand and spoke softly to her.
“It’s okay girl, I won’t hurt you!! You miss him too, don’t you” she cooed at the animal. “He loved you so much and was so proud of you!”
Slowly the mare got up and reluctantly walked over to Melinda and put her head down by Melinda allowing her to pet her. Gently touching the mare, she whispered to her “you are not the only one who feels lost now!” Tears started to stream down her face as she laid her head against the horses.
Getting lost in her sadness and the calmness of her new found friend, she did not hear the stable door open. Startled to see Jobe’s boss she turned to face the open stall.
“Oh dear, I am sorry if I am disturbing a routine. I- I just needed to feel his presence and ended up here!”
“It is alright sweetheart, I miss him too – he was like a son to me! Take all the time you need – he always loved it here the most!”
Looking at how the mare was responding to Melinda, he quickly said “I see you made a new friend! Jobe was the only one who she would let care for her!”
“What happens now, I mean if she doesn’t respond to any other farm hands?” Melinda asked looking at the beautiful horse beside her.
”I am not honestly sure – if she can’t be cared for and broken into work on farm we may have to sell her.”
This broke Melinda’s heart as she knew that Jobe would not want that to happen. Out of the blue, almost as if someone else was pulling strings, she turned to the owner and said “give me some time with her and hold off on decision – I mean please wait”
“I don’t know what good it will do but out of honour for Jobe’s memory I will allow some time before I start looking for a new home for her,” he said.
“Thank you, I just – I can’t explain this but I feel like Jobe would want her to stay here with my horse and that we share a bond. I can feel her sadness” Melinda said as a tear rolled down her check.
Hugging Melinda he told that he understood and that she could try working with the horse for at least a few months as a trial.
Melinda looked at the beautiful mare and said lovingly to her “It is just you and me now sweetheart”. The mare almost as if she understood out her head on Melinda’s shoulder.
It had been four months since Jobe had passed and Melinda found the only way that seemed to ease the pain was working with her two horses.
She had taken a leave from work after the funeral and cashed in her banked vacation pay to keep her afloat financially. Most of her time was spent working with the youngest mare and training her to respond to cues. It wasn’t an easy task to complete but Melinda had done her research and eventually made small progress.
There were many times that she could swear she heard Jobe’s voice in her ear guiding her through the hurdles.
As she was sitting in the bunk house and reading, she heard a loud knock on the door, which startled her.
“Who could that be?” She wondered as she got up and threw on her sweater. “Just a moment”
“Who is it?” Melinda asked before she opened the door.
As she opened door, she looked at the courier and said “I didn’t order anything. Are you sure it’s the right address?”
Showing her the address and giving her envelope with Jobe’s name on it, he reassured it was already paid for.
“Thank you, but I am sorry he has passed away- I am not sure if I should sign for it.”
He flipped though his paper work and found a note saying it was a gift. Without telling her the exact details, he smiled and told her it was alright.
“Thank you” she said as he walked away.
Wondering whether or not, she should open the package she decided it to just set it aside for now.
“God will let me know what to do when as if it is right!”
Weeks passed and Melinda had forgotten about the package that was lying on her kitchen table until one day when she knocked it on the floor accident by accident while she was putting up the new curtains that she had sewn.
Picking up the package, she looked at the large manila envelope and fingered the package and noticed that there was something bumpy inside. Worried that whatever was in package may have been broken, she took a deep breath and began to open it.
As she was opening up package she heard a small thump and when she looked down to her amazement she saw a small jewellery box. Shocked at what was in front of her eyes, she stood frozen in her spot for several minutes.
“What did he buy?” she wondered to herself. Trembling she leaned down to pick up the small black box and began to open it. When she opened the delicate box she gasped as the jewellery box fell to the floor.
Sitting in the lined box, was a diamond ring that was an exact replica of her grandmother’s engagement ring. Gaining her composure Melinda took out the receipt inside the envelope and noticed that the ring was designed two weeks before he had passed away.
Melinda fell to her knees and wept for him, she missed him every day but for the first time she began to feel robbed. There were so many lost dreams and hopes that were broken when God called him Home.
“Now what do I do, Lord? Where do I go from here, please help me Gran!” Melinda said as she sat on the floor and hugged her knees.