Taylor felt an electric chill run through her body at the sound, touch, and smell of him. He had been the love of her life, and at the beginning of their relationship, they had vowed to love each other forever. Standing outside the theater, she couldn’t remember how many years had passed since she saw him, yet she remembered everything about him, including the tingling sensation she was feeling as he touched her arm from behind.
“How’ve you been the past, I don’t know, five years or so?” He turned her around so she was facing him, the love of her life. His eyes were still an entrance to his soul, telling her things words could never express. The same eyes that pierced though her in an intensely euphoric way as if he was the puppet master of Taylor’s emotions. Getting over him was one of the hardest things she has ever had to do.
“So are you still a church fanatic?” Ben asked in his typical derisive manner. “Or is it another phase you threw aside?”
Taylor was uncomfortable with his closeness, concerned Sommer would see this older man with his hand on her arm, murmuring in her ear. He turned her around to give her a hug, yet failed to release her.
“Ben! Stop! What are you doing?” Taylor pushed him away in anger. Anger because he obviously assumed he could walk back into his former role, neglecting to consider the words, emotions, and time that had separated the present from their years together.
Unphased by her rebuff, Ben smirked condescendingly. “Is that anyway to treat ‘the only man you will ever love’?” She had described him accordingly throughout their 6 year romance. While he never claimed to love her exclusively, he had vowed to love her forever as well. Taylor foolishly believed him. She was so naïve, so stupid… so blinded by her emotions.
“That was a long time ago, Ben!” Suddenly, she looked at him, really looked into his eyes, and felt herself reverting back to the crazy thoughts she had fought so hard to divest. He still was incredibly attractive. She was still mesmerized by his charm. They did have some great times together…
“Taylor! Taylor?” Sommer appeared from out of nowhere and was alternating glances between Ben and her. “Are you ready to go in?”
Ben continued staring into her eyes despite Sommer’s interruption. It took every bit of strength Taylor had to step away from Ben. Her eyes remained locked with his as he asked if he could call her sometime. When Taylor said she didn’t think that would be a good idea, Ben disregarded her wishes. “I’ll call you, Taylor. I’ll call.” And before she could respond, Ben was gone.
The next thing Taylor knew, Sommer was waving her hand where Ben had been standing moments before. “Hello?! Who the heck was that?!”
Kate breezed through the interview with no problem. She loved her job, loved the research, and loved knowing her efforts helped change the lives of people with disabilities. Her latest movement was to close down every last ‘sheltered workshop’ in the country. For so-called professionals to support these ‘sweat-shops’ where adults were herded in like cattle in the name of ‘self-sufficiency’ was completely atrocious! Kate made it her mission to bring awareness and education in an area so void of justice.
Three years ago, her father’s stroke propelled her in the fight for neuroanatomy research and awareness. Watching the strongest man in her life fade within a matter of hours deeply impacted her. Thankfully, his stroke occurred when she was back home so she was able to rush over to transport him to the hospital. Her dad progressively lost his ability to speak, write and remember who he was, and he had terrible headaches, making dim surroundings a necessity. While she was thankful she was there to support her father, that day haunted her constantly. The father she knew died that day.
With the interview behind her, she called her kids to arrange for a family gathering over Spring Break, to which both agreed. Then she made her doctor’s appointment. As someone who was so vocal about maintaining health check ups, Kate sure didn’t maintain her own. But she was trying to change. She had to stay healthy for her kids, and for her dad. And even for Sydney. They all needed her. As for Kate, she needed no one. She worked non-stop to make sure it stayed that way. Never again will she depend on another person… especially a man. Sydney made sure of that both financially and emotionally.