The hardest thing she had to do that day was to swallow hard, tuck away her pain of deceit under her ribcage and wait until she found enough courage, forgiveness and peace. She was hoping she could find some peace here in her new apartment in her new building. She hoped that Apartment 3F would bring her some sense of normal back into her life.
It was October 4th, 1977 and Katrina was more than ready to move forward after divorcing her husband of 8 years. That was the biggest and hardest decision of her life. She had to do it though for the sake of her sanity. She knew that when she married Robert that they were too young, too inexperienced and just not right for each other but she was three months pregnant and they felt like they should get married for the sake of the baby. Her mom asked her if she was sure marrying Robert was the right thing to do and if she was in love with him before the wedding. Katrina told her mom not to worry she was making the best decision for her and her unborn baby.
Kartrina didn’t know how wrong she was. She miscarried the baby a month later and she fell apart and so did her marriage. She felt like she was living in slow motion for the next eight years. During that time she had gone to college, got a degree in social work, got a job and they had purchased a small house. Even with all of that Katrina didn’t feel like she was living her best life. She knew that there had to more. But, she didn’t know where to find that more. Then one day she had no choice.
On August 4, 1977, a day Katrina will never forget. She came home early from work. She had a hard day at work where she was interviewing clients all day long and was just mentally tired. She only wanted to come home, have a glass of red wine, turn on some jazz music and take a hot bubble bath before Robert came home from work. She knew something was wrong when she noticed that the front door was unlocked. Robert always locked the door and checked it about five times per night to make sure it was locked. She didn’t understand why her door was unlocked. She hadn’t seen Roberts car in the driveway so she thought he wasn’t home. She thought maybe a burglar was there. She thought she should call the police but what if she was wrong it wasn’t a burglar and Robert simply just forgot to lock the door this morning when he left for work. Katrina took the pepper spray out of her purse just in case and tiptoed inside her apartment carefully looking around the living room. She didn’t notice anything missing so she tiptoed to the kitchen which was in order except for a few dirty dishes from breakfast. Next she checked the bedroom and that is where she saw them. Robert and some woman she didn’t know were in her bed naked. She couldn’t believe her eyes. She even blinked a few times thinking that maybe it was a dream but she was wide awake. The woman screamed in horror or the shock of getting caught. She jumped out of the bed and grabbed a sheet to cover her body and ran into the bathroom.
Robert got out of bed too and tried to cover himself with the other sheet which was left on the bed. Katrina didn't say a word she just ran out of the apartment and got in her car and drove. She just drove for hours and when she was finished driving she was at her sister’s house almost fifty miles away. She told her sister what she just saw and a few months later she had moved out of the house and filed for divorce.
Now, here she was in her new building and new apartment moving boxes up three flights of stairs alone. She didn’t mind doing it alone. She had only taken her clothes when she left and few other things like lamps, the microwave, tv and some nicknacks she had brought from various thrift stores over the years. She would go to the furniture store later and get a couch and bed.
Katrina tripped over her platform shoes walking to her apartment carrying a light box and almost fell right into the arms of a stranger. She looked up and there was a tall, handsome man with an afro to die for holding her arm. She blinked her eyes and said a silent prayer that he was real and not part of her imagination.
“Excuse me.” She said to the stranger.
“No, excuse me.” He said still holding on to her right arm. The box she was carrying was on the ground, marked “underwear.”
“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have worn these shoes trying to go up all these stairs. Don’t know what I was thinking.” She said smiling.
“No, it was my fault. Do you need some help? My name is Blu by the way.”
“Nice to meet you. I’m Katrina. I am just moving in as you can probably tell.”
“Oh do you need help getting stuff off of the moving truck?” He asked.
“No, I don’t have a moving truck. Just my car. I didn’t bring a lot of stuff.” Katrina said, trying not to blush.
“Oh, I see. But, I would be happy to help with anything else you have to carry up.”
Katrina looked at this man closely at his muscular arms, his fine brown face and his nicely combed afro. She only wished her hair looked as good as him and that she hadn’t worn torn jeans to move her stuff. What a sight she was standing there in front of Mr. Handsome, Blu.
“Why don’t I help you with the rest of your stuff and maybe take you out to get some coffee at the place around the corner?” Blu asked.
That day they had coffee and breakfast the next day and many many more days of coffee and breakfast and dinners. Who would have thought that she would meet her soul mate.
November 23, 2007
She was so close he could smell the cheap perfume she was wearing. He could hear her voice whispering in the breeze. He could almost reach out and touch her. He shivered at the thought. He held himself in his own embrace and waited until the feeling of her, the thought of her passed. He had moved to apartment 3F for a reason and she was the reason.
Devon was living a quiet simple life in his small hometown in the middle of nowhere country when one day he ran into her and his life changed forever. She was new to his town. He didn’t even know why she would want to move to his town of Port Berk. After all, nothing happened there and most people who grew up there wanted to leave eventually. But, Devon wasn’t one of those people. He always wanted to live there always. He wanted to get married, have a family, buy a house and live the dream. She came to the little country store he was managing. She was stunningly beautiful. She had the longest legs he had ever seen and her brown skin glistened in the sunlight. He had to admit he was smitten by her and a little more than curious of why a beautiful stranger like her was in his town. He must have still had that dumb smile on his face, the one that his mom teases him about whenever he sees something or someone beautiful. He was over near the frozen section, where they had the small selection of frozen vegetables and a small assortment of TV dinners.
“Excuse me, Sir, can you help me find the milk?”
Devon looked over his shoulder and saw her. He couldn’t believe that she was talking to him. He tried to be cool and pointed over his shoulder and told her it was on aisle 5. She casually walked over there in her bright blue sundress and high heels as her long hair just touched the top of her sexy shoulders. He wanted to ask what she was doing in his little country store. He wanted to know her name. He wanted to know everything about her. Little did he know in time he would know more than he ever wanted to know about his mystery lady.
Six months later after she came to town he had known her name, Lila, and she had moved from New York City to find a more peaceful way of life. She had dropped out of the rat race, as she put it. She was 30 years old and had been married once and divorced. After the divorce she wanted a fresh start. She literally looked on a map and found Port Berk and decided that she would check it out. Once she got there she fell in love with the little country town. She rented a room at Miss Parker’s Inn and was looking for a permanent place to stay. It all sounded pretty normal to Devon. He knew a lot of people who wanted fresh starts in life but not many made their starts here in his town. He was glad that Lila decided that she did.
Devon and Lila were practically inseparable. They did everything together. He even helped her find a job at the local library. Eventually, he had invited her to move in with him. He was in love with her and in fact, everyone in the town loved her. Her smile could light up several rooms. She even got along with his Dad and his Dad didn’t like anyone. His mom called his dad a grumpy old man. Things were good for the first year. Devon was even thinking of proposing to Lila. His mom even gave him his grandmother’s ring.
One day it all came apart. Devon had come home from work and Lila was lying on the kitchen floor covered in blood. Devon ran towards her body and tried to take her pulse to see if she was alive. He screamed in horror. He didn’t feel a pulse. He screamed for help. His neighbor came running over and called for help. Lila was taken to the local hospital and was clinging to life. She lived long enough to tell him that she was sorry and that she loved him. Devon didn’t know what she had to be sorry about but he told her he loved her too and kissed her good-bye. She went to the angels a few minutes later.
Ten days later there was a knock at Devon’s door. It was the local sheriff. He had some news about Lila. It seemed that she was not the person she told everyone she was. Lila was in serious trouble. Lila was married to a mob boss. Her ex-husband had done a lot of bad things to a lot of bad people. Lila knew a secret about him and his crimes and she was running. She was running from him and from the secrets. She chose this town because it was small and she didn’t think that he would find her there. She was wrong. He found her and now she was no longer alive. He was found too and was put in jail.
It was Devon’s time to leave town. He couldn’t stay in town any longer. He had too many memories there, too many bad memories of things that didn’t happen. He packed his bags one night and left. He said goodbye to his parents and nobody else. He knew that they would explain to anyone who wanted to know.
Now, Devon was 90 miles away in apartment 3F unpacking his suitcases and imagining what his fresh start will be like. He took a deep breath and looked up and said, “Lila, baby, I am here. I will never forget you. I love you always.”