The Heat of Passion

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“God please help me!  God please help me!” She repeated over and over in her mind as she walked briskly into the concrete building.  She quickly stepped up the concrete stairs at a fast pace.  She looked down at her feet marking each step as a reminder of her resolve. Her apprehension seemed to burn away within her.  She had succumbed to the realization that it would take one step at a time. This was the first step. The details of this task had become clear and resolute.  She was certain she could do this.    

As the door was opened, she reacted to the coolness from inside.  It gave her no comfort, but reminded her of the cool reception she was likely to receive.  It was further symbolic that the door seemed so linear and square lending nothing to an essence of softness and openness.  She pulled at the heavy wooden partition considering it could be mistaken for a door to opportunity and accessibility.  But in reality, she knew this was a large wooden block of reticence.  She was so sick and tired of obstacles; she wanted to burn down and eliminate each door’s symbolic restraints of cool indifference.  

Behind these doors were cold sons of bitches who were perfectly content in their little worlds of predictability and detachment.  They weren’t ignited with compassion, sympathy, or empathy.  It was as if they had forgotten to empathize with those who started out with nothing, feeling hopeless and alone while needing encouragement, love, and help.  Their fire and passion to exert effort to alleviate another’s pain and suffering had been extinguished with complacency and arrogance. They had lost the true bright and shiny side of human nature.

 There was no way she could change a person’s will and have them open up to receive the burning desire to ease another’s pain even if it was hers.  There had to be a connection between two individuals who have a genuine concern for one another.  Things like that didn’t exist anymore.  This train of thought brought a cold and chilling pain in the pit of her stomach.  She swallowed and concentrated on accepting the outcome of this venture.

As she walked up to the counter, a young woman faced the door wearing a blank expression.  When she directly stood in front of her, there was no reaction.  She was greeted with a cold disinterest as the girl scanned her with open disapproval.  During moments like this, she wondered why she walked out the house.  This kind of reception usually made her feel like an alien.  What was so alien about her?  It was as if they could sense who was hot and cold.  She was hot with sincerity as she greeted the girl with a smile.  It was not returned.     

As she stated her reason for being there, the way the young woman received her became her central focus.  Usually, she deliberately ignored such responses because it served her better to look over these slights.  But today, she needed some reassurance that this person could be pleasant and forthcoming.  Anger had replaced her usual cordial stance of denying this didn’t bother her.  She looked directly at the girl to further examine possible reasons for the girl’s indifference.

In the waiting room, she sat down quickly in one of the yellow, stark and uninviting chairs.  These chairs were made for short visits.  Sitting with her arms crossed, she looked directly at the feminine form.  She knew it was aware she was staring, but it wasn’t moved.  The eyes unflinchingly looked up at her and returned to rest upon what was before them.  After this defiant observation, she concluded that this was a no win situation.  The damage was done before birth.  Its mother had made a decision to be ruthless, self-serving, and emotionless.  This was a successful product that was efficient and uncaring.  At that moment, her heart ached from the lack of warmth.

The business was complete and finished without a hitch.  It was successful because she had turned cold while waiting.  She had no expectations.  Her actions were robotic and automatic.  She didn’t see the faces or acknowledge any one encountered.  Her eyes glazed over every object with little concern.  She was just a name on sheets of paper which told them what she did, where she had been, but not who she was.  That part of her was irrelevant in this transaction.  It was necessary to become one of them.  

A warmth of emotion returned as she descended down the stairs.  Hot tears trickled in succession down her cheeks.   She didn’t reach to wipe them away.  Any acknowledgement of them signaled weakness and vulnerability.  This wasn’t so.  She was affected by the girl’s loss.  Something it would never miss because it wasn’t aware it existed.  In this way, she immediately envied the receptionist.  Walking and crying wasn’t exactly a favorite pastime of hers either.  Maybe these cold-hearted participants were onto something.  

It hadn’t served her well to be so full of heat and sentiment.  She tried dating, but her prospects preferred the precision and mannerism of the robot.  The robot was the kind of woman who wasn’t moved by emotion, pain, suffering, or sincerity.  Being devoid of emotion usually meant she needed to be fixed, something was wrong with her, and most importantly of all, she wasn’t vulnerable and couldn’t care less.  This coldness represented strength and casualness toward important topics like marriage, commitment, or love.  They didn’t sweat the small stuff.  Sweating required energy, exertion, and heated passion.  This was messy and weak to work so hard to gain a man’s attention.  There was also an added mystery of not divulging information as a way to whet the appetite to find out more about them which supplemented the mystique.

Right now, she couldn’t have looked messier.  Her nose began to run.  Her stride lack confidence.  She was deflated and pitiable.  The fire that seethed within her heart was giving her flashes of heat that blinded her.  The heat caused her tears to flow profusely which added to her confusion.  She remembered a bench at the end of the stairs.  She began to wipe her tears and sweat from her forehead with the back of her hand.  With a lack of finesse, she reached the bench.  She let the tears flow freely and without protest.  This tearful episode was long overdue.  She knew no one would come near her to console her.  The usual indifference now served its purpose well.

The tears were a sigh of relief.  As she stood up, she took deep breaths accompanied with shaking hiccups.  She reflexively looked behind her glancing back at the bench. Suddenly, something bumped into her from the left.  She was startled and swung away from the mass. It was a young man with wild eyes framed with bushy eyebrows and long dark eyelashes.  He looked defensive and ready to pounce or run—whichever came first.  He backed away and scowled like a frightened dog with brown-stained teeth.  She raised her hands in a non-threatening gesture.  He was cold with rage and intent on taking something from her. All she had at that moment was fear. She fathomed he could take something more.  Her heart raced at the thought.

Moments before, she felt destitute and alone.  Now, here was someone who actually was.  She had been full of self-pity taking for granted that she had a valuable commodity. Anyone could take her life.  Now she wanted to keep it more than ever.  Her eyes never wavered from his.  He was breathing hard as if startled himself.  His chest heaved up and down while shaking and blinking repeatedly.  He had been obviously running from something.  She looked quickly to her left to see if there was still someone after him.  With silent gratitude, she noticed there wasn’t.  

As her eyes went to look back at him, he tackled her pushing her towards the bench.  The bench toppled over with them.  Ignoring the weight of his body, she braced herself against the concrete and the sharp angles of the steps and bench.  It felt hard and unforgiving against her back.  She let out a hard grunt and winced in pain. While trying to register the extent of the damage, he reached for her shirt and began to open it.  His breath smelled like feces. She had feared for her life, now he was attempting to take something even far more valuable.  

Lying on her back not sure if she could move, she heard herself speak in a low ragged whisper, “No, don’t do this; stop it, what are you doing? Oh my God, help me! Please God help me!”  Forgetting how much she could be injured, she pushed his hands away from her blouse and began throttling his face and chest with slaps and jabs.  It made no impact.  She jerked back and forth against him to slow the process.  He was stronger than her.  With much effort from the exertion, she screamed out for help hoping someone would hear.  No one heard.  No one cared.  This was the world she lived in.  

She could feel the warmth of her body dissipating as her torso was exposed to the air. He had torn open the front of her clothing with ease.  She looked up at him; saw the top of his head looking down at her body.  She hit his head with both of her hands as hard as she could.  It shook him a bit.  He grabbed her hands and slammed both of them against her sides.  His hands felt cold as ice, hard, and merciless.  She looked up at the sky as he continued to probe and tear at her undergarments. “No, No, please God don’t forsake me please,” she sobbed as tears again streamed down her cheeks and into her ears.

Out of context, she spoke to him and said calmly, “Let go of my hands I won’t fight, I won’t scream, just let me hold you.  You don’t have to do it like this, please stop and listen, look at me!” she hollered towards his downward head.  He froze and looked at her.  His face was mottled with beard stubble and acne scars.  She searched his eyes and saw he was desperate for warmth and contact from any woman even at this expense.  She became repulsed and wanted to throw up.  She pushed it down with a swallow.  

Suddenly, a warm breeze danced and swirled past bringing with it grains of dirt and concrete.  He closed his eyes. She squinted as her tears provide some protection.   In this same instant, she reached up and extended her hands around his shoulders and neck.  He shook from the unexpected gesture and pushed her back down.  Again, she rose with a groan and hugged him again.  She twisted to gain more momentum to get a tighter grip around his neck.  He resisted by pull her arms away from him.  She detected the warm contact was unnerving to him.  He felt like stone against her chest.  As she held him closer, a radiating heat was exchanged between them.  Her heart tingled and a joy began to spread throughout her body.  She wanted to laugh.  There was a tickle that stemmed from her heart which brought a smile to her face.  Laughing out loud, she grabbed him tighter.  He tried to wiggle from her embrace, but he became limp in her arms.  

He was no longer cold, stone, icy, and indifferent.  He leaned his head against her chest suddenly crying and moaning.  She didn’t let go. His tears made contact with her left cheek.  His body became malleable and warm.  Somehow, empathy, compassion, guilt, and joy were beginning to take over his heart.  She saw he was beginning to feel the pain and anguish he had caused so many others including her.  Immediately, his tears became sobs.  He let his hands fall by his sides as she continued to hold him.  In the midst of the sobs were apologetic mutterings and sorrowful transgressions.  When she let him go, he hid his face in shame and rocked back and forth.  Later, he lowered his hands from his face and looked at her.  Through blood shot eyes and sniffles, he voiced his remorse for what he had tried to do.  In response, she began to pull her shirt to cover her chest and pulled her pants up while stumbling to gain her balance.  He turned away.  She hopped over to the bench to gather herself so she could possibly locate her belongings.  She looked up as he handed them all to her with a remorseful and humble expression.  She cautiously took them.  

To her surprise, he touched her arm and beckoned her to stand so he could help her get home.  She told him it was alright; she was fine.  There was no need for him to do more than what he had already done.  He insisted.   She consented that he could take her to a bus stop, and she could go from there.  He said she needn’t worry that he would try to harm her.  Somehow, she believed him. Nevertheless, she needed to recover from this incident without fainting or breaking down hysterically.  She asked for the nearest bathroom.  Even though the incident was over, the wreckage of this encounter was evident all over her.  He led her to a service station facility on the far right side of it.  When she approached the dismal, disgusting, dreary sink, she looked at her reflection. She was smeared with dirt, grains of concrete, her hair was tangled, turfs of hair were matted at the back, and her clothes were disheveled.  She looked horrific.  Moving in a robotic fashion, paper towels were doused with water and soap to her face and arms, a comb was applied to her head, and her hands straightened the wrinkles and chaos of her pantsuit.  She then perused her appearance.  It was suitable enough to get home without anyone detecting the truth.  Besides, no one really looked at her because she was so full of heat, concern, compassion, and hope.  The cold ones would look right past her not caring or sensing her predicament.

To her surprise, he was still standing outside the door.  His stance was like a sentry standing at his post to protect her.  She was astonished how the tables had turned.  His eyes were different.  They contained care, concern, relief along with instantaneous guilt.  This was expected.  He truly seemed repentant of his actions. She knew guilt was like a burden that must be released through productive actions and self-forgiveness. She saw he was farther from each, but it was a start for him to feel the hot turbulent insatiable force of guilt.  He wouldn’t ever want to feel this again. He would rectify and prevent this at all costs.  As she stepped out the door, he turned around and motioned for her to follow him as he walked ahead of her.  He continued this way until they reached the bus stop where he constantly looked from left to right checking for any possible dangers that could befall her.  She was thoroughly amazed at his transformation.

She arrived home and plopped on the couch.  Looking around her, everything looked different.  Something had happened so profound; it was unfathomable. This warmth that generated from her heart, desires, and feelings was real and could be shared.  She hugged herself as she realized how it had changed a person’s disposition yet created a real and heartfelt connection.  She had experienced a tiny miracle that enflamed a new realm of possibilities.  Her hope was renewed, revived, and created a burning passion that couldn’t be extinguished. There was truly a God after all. She looked up with a smile and cried again.  

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