Anxiety blankets the young mother sitting before me. Her pensive brows, the furtive movement of her hands, belie her tailored appearance; crisp white shirt, slim pressed slacks. Her ready smile is gone.
She has heard of my past, of my overcoming, of my surviving. We’re sitting in armed straight-back chairs, inches from each other. I’m glad I’m not wearing a suit today. She looks more professional than me, here, in the company I own. Formalities don’t exist in this room with its tile fireplace and local art. Children’s toys are piled in a corner and soothing piano music emanates from a small CD player.
“I thought if I married him, everything would be okay. He’d know I loved him. He wouldn’t hurt me any longer,” she says, her voice a plea of please understand. “I don’t know what to do.” She wrings her hands and drops her head.
She stands, brushing her sherry hair from her face, “Thank you for listening to me.”
I want to pull her into my arms. Desperate, I grab a piece of paper and write down my phone numbers; home, office, mobile. “Call me anytime, day or night…call me.”