Chapter 17: Days of Awe

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She picked up the phone again, this time with a new plan. She would fight: and trust.

Drawing a deep breath, she dialed Marie's number, digit by digit, her slender fingers shaking.

How the hell would she explain this?

She had always only had herself. Disconnected. There were connections, logically. Somewhere. But how to make them real when they were not with her in person? A restlessness jarred her, her nerves jangling together despite the dead still air.

She felt as if she were back in the fencing salle. This time it was the entire community that she was being refused. Even the one who promised to stand by her.

She had wanted to fence epee, but girls only fenced foil.

-Attack, Attack!

She preferred counter-attacks.

How could she use that now to fight off this desire to murder herself?

Marie had said she must trust. The only person she could imagine trusting was Marie. No more escape.

The voice shook Nanyehi from her thoughts:

-Marie's Dresses, Good Morning, hon.

It was her telephone voice for the shop. Nan shook her head: how did Marie get away with calling all of her customers "hon?" She had no idea what to say.

-Hello?

-Uh, sorry Marie.

-Nan, hon!

She nearly dropped the phone. That was not Marie's shop phone voice.

-Are you alright, hon? You don't sound good. You need me to come over?

-Well, I know it's a working day for you-

-Don't you even go there girl, I will be right over, don't you move, and that is an order, Missy!

-Ok.

She sat down on the couch, bone weary.

When Marie arrived, soaked and expressing surprise that Naamah wasn't in shul, Naamah had confessed. Trouble trusting, feeling abandoned, even to wanting to die. The reasons would have to wait.

-Did you ever tell Mike any of this, hon?

-I tried, but...

Her energy gave out every time she thought of him.

-I know, hon, or I think I know. You can't trust someone who barks at you. That dog just might bite.

Naamah noded:

-Sometimes I'm afraid he will.

Marie looked at her, hard: -Has he hit you?

-No, Marie, never!

Marie looked skeptical. -Hon, you look to nervous for him not to have touched you.

-Ok, he did shake me a couple of times, but that's all.

Now Marie looked ready to storm a citadel.

-But he apologized and it never happened again.

-That dog needs a muzzle.

-It was a long time ago, Marie.

Marie shook her head: -If you say so hon.

She had to tell Mike, but how? Nothing she could say would change things. He had gone from being a friend to being a stranger she hardly knew. The Mike she had agreed to marry had been gentle and reassuring. She had married someone she thought she could grow old with, and discovered an alpha male who flaunted his wife when all was well, but pouted when she fell ill, which was more and more often. These past six months had simply put the last nail in the coffin.

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