Under the Sunglasses
Terry got on the bus and settled down in a seat. It wasn’t long before he fell asleep on the long trip between Atlanta, GA and Kansas City, MO. He finally woke up and saw a young woman sitting near the window across the aisle from him. He could see that she was upset about something.
It was night time and she was wearing sunglasses. Terry thought that was very odd and it looked like she was crying. As the bus was passing some street lights he could see tears running down her cheeks. Terry felt bad that such a young woman was definitely having some kind of a problem. It was no way that he was going to ignore it. The seat next to her was empty so he moved over and sat down next to her.
Terry said, “I see you have been crying. What is the matter?”
“Nothing,” she said, “Just please leave me alone. I don’t want to be bothered.”
“My name is, Terry. Please tell me what is wrong. Maybe I can do something to help you.”
“No, please,” she repeated.
Terry just sat in the seat next to her and didn’t say a word for about five minutes. Then he said, “Why are you wearing sunglasses at night?”
“That is none of your business. Please just go, I don’t want you to get hurt,” she said.
“I have no intention of getting hurt.” He reached over and pulled off her sunglasses. She turned her head toward the window, but Terry saw why she had the glasses on. She had a black eye. “Who did this to you?”
“It was my husband if you must know. He has been beating me every night. I just couldn’t take it anymore, so I left him and got on the bus.”
“Does he know you left”
“Probably not, he was drunk and passed out on the bed when I walked out of the apartment,” she replied. “I know he will come looking for me.”
Terry said, “He won’t have any idea where you went.”
“Believe me he will find me and he will drag me home and beat me again and again,” she said as she started to cry uncontrollably.
“I’m not going to let that happen,” Terry said.
“What could you possibly do, he is big, strong, and mean.”
“Where are you headed?” Terry asked.
“I’m going to Kansas City. I only had enough money to get that far”
“I am going to Kansas City too. Maybe I can help you when we get there.”
“I don’t even know you, why would you want to help me,” the woman said.
“What is your name?” Terry asked her.
She wasn’t sure if she should answer him or not but finally, she said, “My name is Jennifer.”
Terry said, “It is nice to meet you, Jennifer. I am glad we are traveling together. Now we each have someone to talk to.”
Jennifer and Terry talked for the longest time. Finally, Terry could see that Jennifer’s eyes were starting to close so he let her fall asleep. For the next few hours, he kept looking over at Jennifer and was wondering what she was planning on doing when she got to Kansas City. She spent all of her money on the bus ticket so she was going to be homeless.
Finally, they arrived in Kansas City and he let her get off the bus first. She said, “Thank you, Terry, for talking to me on the trip. Honestly, it helped me a lot.”
Terry asked, “Where are you going to go”
“I don’t know, maybe I will just sit in the bus station until morning and then see if I can find a job to make some money,” Jennifer said.
“Look,” said Terry, “I have an apartment about two blocks from here. It is only a one bedroom, but you can sleep on the bed and I can sleep on the sofa.”
“Terry you seem like a sweet guy, but I want to be honest, I don’t know if I can trust you.”
Terry looked at her and asked her to go into the bus station so they could sit down and talk. She told him, that would be alright. So they went inside and talked for the longest time. Finally, after an hour or more, Terry had her convinced that it would be alright to spend the night in his apartment.
They walked to it and went inside. Terry said, “As you can see it is small. It is just me, so I didn’t need much room. If you go through that door the bedroom is in there and the door to the right before you get there is the bathroom.”
“Thank you,” she said. Jennifer went into the bedroom and looked around for a minute or two. She could see that it was a room for a man and she smiled to herself. She went into the bathroom and brushed her teeth and combed her hair. She looked at her eye and took off her shirt. She took a good look at the other bruises on her body and wondered why she ever married such a monster. She walked out of the bathroom and asked if she could sit on the sofa with Terry and talk for awhile. She said, “I have a lot of other bruises where he beat me.”
“I thought you probably did,” replied Terry. “Are you going to be alright?”
“Yes, it will just take me some time.”
“Jennifer, you are welcome to stay here as long as you need.”
“Thank you,” she said. “I’m so tired, I’m going to bed.”
“Goodnight, sleep well,” replied Terry. He just sat there looking across the room. There was something that she didn’t know about him and there was no sense in saying anything now. He stretched out on the sofa and fell asleep himself.
It was mid-morning when he woke up to smell bacon. He sat up from the sofa and saw that Jennifer was at the stove. “Well hello, sleepy head. Are you hungry?”
“Why yes I am and I could go for a cup of that coffee.” She poured him a cup and then laid a plate of eggs, bacon, and toast on the little table in his kitchenette. “It smells and looks delicious.”
She poured some coffee and made a plate for herself before sitting down in the chair across from him. “What are you going to do today,” she asked.
“I just have a few things to take care of. However, I know that the little restaurant on the corner needs a waitress. Would you be interested,” he asked.
Jennifer got dressed and walked to the restaurant and got the job. She would be starting the next morning.Things were pretty much the same for the next few weeks. Jennifer went to her job and Terry said that he went to his job. He didn’t talk about it much and that got Jennifer very curious. There was something different about Terry, but Jennifer just couldn’t put her finger onto as what it really was. She was curious about something and one night she just had to ask him.
They were sitting in the living room watching some TV and Jennifer said, “Terry, do you think I am pretty?”
“Yes, I do, I think you are very pretty,” he replied.
“Why have you never tried to kiss me or anything? I just wonder why?”
Terry just smiled and said, “Soon you will know why? Believe me, you are very pretty but there is a reason that I can’t get romantic with you.”
“I just don’t understand.” She looked kind of sad.
Terry was thinking to himself that this was the hardest part.
It was three weeks later when Jennifer was looking out of the window onto the street. She screamed and said, “It is him, Terry, he has found me again.”
Terry said, “Go into the bedroom and stay there no matter what.” She did as he asked.
Soon there was a pounding on the door and a voice yelling. “Open this door, Jennifer, open it now. You are going home with me and I will teach you never to leave me again.”
Terry opened the door and saw a huge man, one of the biggest he had ever seen. “What is your problem? Why are you pounding on my door?”
“I want Jennifer, where is she?” he bellowed.
“She isn’t here and besides, she doesn’t want to see you.”
The man said, “Either you get her out here now or I’ll teach you to mind your own business.”
Terry said, “You don’t really want to try that.”
Jennifer opened the door just a crack and was looking out watching in fear. The man took a swing at Terry and his hand just went through Terry like he was a ghost. The man then grabbed a hold of Terry’s head and pulled on it. It came right off. Terry was standing there with no head. The man screamed and ran out of the building, jumped in his car and took off as fast as he could.
Terry reached down and picked up his head and put it back on. Jennifer walked out of the room and said, “Who or what are you. I was looking out from the bedroom.”
He said, “Jennifer I didn’t get on that bus by accident. I knew you would be on there and I knew why you were trying to get away. I am an angel, Jennifer, I was sent by God to watch over you. My mission, as they say, was to look out for you and get your life back on track. Your husband will never come back, I think he was as scared as could be when he ran out of here.”
“I did laugh when I saw the look on his face when he pulled your head off,” Jennifer replied.
“Jennifer, I guess you understand now why I didn’t kiss you or try to do anything.”
“I understand. I guess you will be leaving now,” she said with sadness in her voice.
“Yes, I will,” he said. “My work is done here now. Jennifer this apartment is yours and the rent is paid for a year. I hope you like the waitress job.”
She said, “Oh, thank you so much and yes I like working there. I do really well in tips. I’m going to miss you, Terry.”
“I’m going to miss you too,” he said. “This has been the nicest time I have ever had.” He took Jennifer in his arms and he kissed her.
“Isn’t that against the rules”
“Yes, it is, but I am sure God will understand.”
Terry walked down the stairs and out to the street. As he walked across he faded away. Jennifer was watching him and she started to cry. She said, “I will never forget you, Terry. You saved my life.”
© 2017 Larry W Fish