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The Lady From Amsterdam


When the phone rang, Doc was watching football on the television. He almost let it ring, as was his habit. It was a pleasant surprise to hear Eline’s voice when he answered. He and Eline had met some six months earlier while he was in the Netherlands for a Jazz Festival. When she dropped Doc off for his return flight back to San Francisco, she told him she would visit him at his home. At the time he did not think much of it, but there she was on the phone asking for a ride from the airport. It was a typical rainy and foggy San Francisco evening as Doc made his way south on the 101 towards the airport. His dogs had created a fuss when he left his home because they had been waiting for their evening walk. He thought to himself that the dogs would have to wait for their walk on this day.

When Doc slowed his car near the KLM terminal, he saw Eline sitting on a suitcase, waiting. His thought back to the time they had shared months earlier, and they were fond memories. As he pulled the car to the curb, their eyes met. Without speaking, they both knew they were happy to meet once again. Doc did not trust anyone, but he trusted her. He just knew instinctively that he could. The two of them actually liked each other and were friends. That is something that has become rare over the years.

The relationship scared Doc. He had spent most of his life getting hurt, betrayed, and misunderstood. She understood him and they connected in every way. Doc would learn later in life that these things are rare in a couple.

That trust created a problem for Doc. He trusted no one, but she had got on the other side of that enormous wall he had. She was getting too close, and he was feeling things he did not want to feel. He knew he had to walk away.

There were a lot of reasons Doc was the way he was. As a boy, he had endured a house of horrors. He lived in a house where the people were monsters. What he experienced was the exact opposite of love and caring, and as a result he let no human get close to him. He lived on the street for a couple of years and it taught him to trust no one, not even one’s family. As a young Marine, he saw and did things that made him realize just how vile and ruthless humans can be. His view of humans was not in any way complementary. If one can understand how his experiences shaped him, then one might understand why he was the way he was.

Doc purchased her a ticket back to Amsterdam and told her it would not work out. Doc walked away without giving her much of an explanation. Years later Doc realized he had made a terrible mistake. He missed her and that which he was feeling towards her never went away. It was torture to know that he walked away from the one person who actually understood and cared about him.

Ten years later, Doc went to Amsterdam to look for her. He found her living in a village in France. She was happy to see him, but the damage told the story, and there was no fixing it. Doc went back home with the realization that he would never see her again. It's said that time heals all. Maybe it does. But Doc would have a lasting scar he could never erase.

© 2022 Don Robbins

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