The People We Meet Along The Way, стр. 1
Table of Contents
The People We Meet Along The Way
Also By Beth Rinyu
The People We Meet Along The Way
Copyright © 2020 by Beth Rinyu
All rights reserved
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of Beth Rinyu, except for the use of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
Cover design by: Amy Queau Qdesign
Editing by: Lawrence Editing
Proofread by: Judy’s Proofreading
Formatting by: C.P. Smith
ALSO BY BETH RINYU
The Exception To The Rule
Drowning In Love
Blind Side Of Love
An Unplanned Lesson
An Unplanned Life
A Cry For Hope
A Will To Change
When The Chips Are Down
Two Of Hearts
Straight To The Heart
A Right To Remain
Keepin’ The Faith
When Autumn Ends
I’ll Be Seeing You
The Night We Met
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You don’t meet people by accident.
There’s always a reason.
A lesson or a blessing.
THE SCREAMING BABY flailed his little legs before being placed in my arms. Perfect in every way: rosy cheeks, light blue eyes, and a blond tuft of hair. His cries subsided when I pulled him closer and rested my lips on the top of his head as his little mouth formed an O shape, like a little bird looking for his first meal. He was really mine, and I would love him endlessly until the day I died. When I looked at Evan, his face was etched in that beautiful smile I loved so much as he gazed at the small bundle I was holding, who resembled him so closely.
The knock at my door jolted me from my sleep. The bright red numbers 6:12 burned into my eyes like a laser when I turned on my side to face the clock. As I sat up, taking in the empty side of the bed, I realized it had all been a dream. Evan wasn’t there, and there wasn’t any baby. My stomach contracted, remembering the horrific fight that had ensued the night prior and the awful things that were said. As I flung my legs over the bed, I braced my feet onto the cold hardwood floor at another much more intense knock, wondering who could be wanting to reach me at such an ungodly hour in the morning with such urgency. Maybe it was Evan, coming back so we could talk civilly, minus the alcohol that consumed him the night prior. He had thrown his house key at me in his fit of rage, so it was totally plausible that he’d be knocking.
Once I got closer, I could make out two figures through the stained-glass window and a silver badge gleaming through the panel of the door like a spotlight. My knees buckled, and I grabbed the wall in support as I tried desperately to find the courage to turn the knob and face what awaited me on the other side. The dream I had just awoken from had been just that—a dream. One that would never become reality, and one that would be the last time I would ever see my husband.
A TWO-HOUR delay. Another omen as to why I should’ve cancelled this trip that had been planned over a year ago, before everything officially fell apart. Even though Evan and I both knew it had fallen apart long before then. “Go,” my friend Aimee told me, “it will give you time to clear your head. Time to think. Time to relax. Time to mourn properly.” But as I sat at the airport bar sipping on my third glass of pinot grigio, while being held hostage to the pitfalls of modern-day travel, the only thing I could feel was a massive headache coming on. What was I doing here by myself? This trip wasn’t supposed to be a solo one. It was supposed to be a double. Evan and I, getting in the Christmas spirit while visiting the Christmas markets in Germany, Austria, and France. Time to unwind, forget about deadlines, early morning meetings and late nights at the office. We had talked about doing this trip for years. Oddly, planning it at the worst possible point in our marriage.
“That couple there must have just gotten in an argument. You see how he’s trying to talk to her, and she won’t even look at him?” Evan’s voice was so clear, as if he were sitting on the barstool next to me, people watching while we both surmised different stories for the hurried travelers who’d pass us by.
I stretched my arm, reaching for the empty seat beside me, resting the palm of my hand there for a moment, fighting back the surge of tears begging to surface. What I wouldn’t give to have him sitting next to me instead of just the memories he left behind. I lifted my glass to my lips, inhaling the honeyed notes of the wine before taking a long, slow sip. Closing my eyes, my mind drifted back to one of the worst days of my life.
A faint ray of light beamed down through the gray skies looming overhead on that crisp late September day. Was it Evan saying goodbye? Letting me know I was going to be okay? Letting me know he was sorry for all the ups and downs in our marriage, and at the same time forgiving me for not being that same woman he fell in love with all those years ago? I wanted to hold on to that small thread of hope...I needed to.
I dug my heels into the softened earth, hoping to anchor my wobbly legs, all while in a Xanax-induced haze, as I