Gabriela held her grandmother’s hand as they walked into the cafe on 12th and Broadway. Grandma Gabriela was Gabriela’s closest confidant her whole life. Even more so than her mother. Her mother, Diane, was too obsessed with happiness to give advice that might be somewhat risky or even the right thing to do if it meant walking on a diving board with your best clothes on. Grandma, although protective and caring also knew that in order to live you need to sometimes get hurt or risk it.
“What do I tell him? Do I tell him?” Gabriela asked her grandmother.
“Never say anything that is not true. Once you even suggest a lie it becomes your cell guard and you are forever beholden to that lie.” She said.
“OK but do I offer up decisions from my past or do I just let them lay there unspoken, unheard?”
“If he had made this decision – would you want to know?” Grandma asked as she slowly put down the hot black coffee.
“I don’t know. Aren’t the scenes from our past, once passed, better off forgotten?”
“Only if you can forget them. If not you are carrying around the weight and it will drag you down and eventually resurface. It will be like a snowball rolling down a hill of snow.”
“Grandma – why do we speak in so many metaphors?” She laughed.
“We are reciting words given to us by a writer – an author who knows the future and documents the past.”
“Oh Grandma – I love you.”
“Oh Gabriela – I love you too. My advice is to never deny the truth – you must trust the ones you love to accept you and understand whatever decisions you have made.”
It was a month – 10 dates and countless phone conversations, text messages and emails. She knew she was in love with him and knew that he was smitten with her. They had a connection. She did not want to lose it because of what she did before she was given the divorce.
Johnny was head over heals and had just decided to tell her that he loved her. He loved her – he was crazy over her. The way she looked, the way she dressed, the looks she gave and the way she laughed. She was sexy – and could not understand how anyone would want her to suppress that beauty. An insecure part of him understood the need to want to hide her under veils of silk and black colors. But how could he deprive the world of the beautiful Gabriela?
It was one night as he lay awake and began to contemplate marriage – when the thought hit him. He was a Cohen. A Cohen was a descendant of the High Priests from the time of the Temple in Jerusalem. They were not allowed to marry a divorced woman. Although Johnny was not religious in a Orthodox way – he was very spiritual and faithful to its traditions.
He began to feel as if the walls were closing in on him – for the first time in years he began to feel anxiety. He paced the floors until four when he put on some clothes and went for a walk. He was scared and had taken a Xanax before he left his apartment. He stopped by an ATM to get some cash as he walked out he was accosted by two men. They beat him up, forced him to give him his Pin and withdrew the maximum amount in four different banks within a ten minute span. He was unconscious and was found by a man walking his dog 30 minutes later.
Gabriela was kind of upset when Johnny didn’t respond to her text messages and his phone went straight to voice-mail. It was not him to ignore her – he was always the first to text in the morning and the last at night. The day went by slowly as she kept waiting for her phone to “ding” with Johnny’s words. Instead it was silent save for the usual alerts.
It was when she got home that she saw the answering machine blinking when she found out about Johnny.