LOSING FEAR AND CHOOSING THE RIGHT SIDE
Packing … furiously. It seemed as though He was standing behind me waiting to pull away my luggage again. I had learned to look over my shoulder. He taught me well, and I was his best student. “I have to concentrate,” I repeated to myself. I had spent years honing the skill of fear. Fight or flight…I chose flight; now I choose both. Making it to the airport was crucial. Is He behind me?
Oftentimes I could not breathe…concentrate…live. Who had I become? There has to be a calm, creative woman somewhere in the mess of me that He had sculpted. This newly found breath, away from His suffocation, had awakened something that was originally me. Before Him, I knew who I was. I had lost myself in a marriage. “Could I ever get it right?” I thought.
Two months ago, my phone rang. It was an illuminating sound. The ring tone transformed from a startling sound to a light I could see in a tunnel of darkness. I was asked to interview for a job. Someone actually believed I could be a stewardess on a private yacht? His instincts and negative thoughts still echoing, I fought the learned fear of accepting the job. Breathe…I took my leap of faith. My mind began to spin. The restraining order against Him had been in place for a year. That never stopped Him. Old feelings of actually getting away without being captured again came to mind. What would He do?
“He follows me around without fail. He knows. He knows who I call. He knows what I do. What if He is right? He convinced me to be weak. I don’t feel strong. He is controlling. He is wrong. He is controlling, but not if I say no. What the hell am I thinking? I earned this job. I deserve a new beginning. I no longer will give him control. This opportunity is going to change my life.” I picked up my cell phone, dialed Captain Morgan’s number, and accepted the job. I was scared out of my mind by my daring choice.
“Breathe again,” I tell myself. Looking around, I absorbed a different view of my life. The Ft. Lauderdale sunshine and salty breeze were intoxicating.
“Ahoy, Miss Evans! Welcome aboard the Trilogy,” Captain Morgan said.
I could hear the sea gulls caw in the distance. My surroundings were amazingly new and unforgettably different. I crossed the threshold into what would be my home and source of employment for the next fourteen days. I was filled with nervous energy as I prepared for my first table service. A stewardess was required to be invisible. Perhaps that is why I was hired. I had already learned to remain in the shadows from Him. I rounded the table refilling water glasses and returned to the galley. The task of wine service was staring me straight in the face. After struggling to pierce the dry cork of a $300 bottle of wine with the tip of the corkscrew, I let out a sigh of relief. Thankful I accomplished this task away from judging eyes, I approached the guests. Trilogy was a private yacht. A great deal of money had been spent for this home away from home. The experience the owners wanted needed to approach perfection. My original anxiety of failure returned. Again, my thoughts left me, and I went back to the role of the obedient wife. “Snap back to reality,” I told myself. I approached the dining table. Everyone was engaged in a political conversation. I was invisible. “Thank God,” I thought. As I rounded the table, the “head man” put up his hand slightly. He was signaling everyone to stop the conversation. All eyes were on me.
He spoke. “Are you left handed?” he asked me with interest.
I was filled with thoughts. I anticipated acceptance and praise. Simpering, I immediately blurted out how I was born left handed but had to learn to write with my right hand because it was proper. I smiled the whole time, proud that intelligent, dynamic people found me interesting again.
After my explosion of acknowledgement, he spoke again, “I was just wondering, because you keep returning my glass to the left side of the place setting.”
Absorbing the uncomfortable silence, I disappeared from the guests’ table, my confidence deflated. I reverted back to the invisible world of self- doubt He had created for me.
When I returned to my quarters, I cried tears of embarrassment. I had tried and I had failed. Sleep and tears took the rest of the night. I awoke and prepared for the guests’ departure. I donned my uniform again with a cloud of disappointment slowing my every move. All staff convened on the docks to see the guests off. As an unspoken gesture often made by patrons, the head man approached me, thanked me, and handed me an envelope. This tall gentleman smiled kindly and walked away with his family. Back in the sanctity of my room, I opened the envelope. Inside was a card and it read, ‘To the best novice. Keep learning. It will always be hard. It will always be worth it.’
All too soon, my journey was over. After collecting my belongings, pocketing my handsome paycheck, and saying my goodbyes, I headed to the Hollywood International Airport. I returned to Charleston slightly stronger as a result of my determination to keep trying. I noticed my reflection at the airport. My gait had a familiar pride and distinction that was almost forgotten.” I did it!” I told myself repeatedly as I journeyed home. I remembered I had asked my neighbor to collect my mail in my absence. I stopped by and picked it up. Shuffling through it I noticed a letter from my lawyer. I sat down on my front porch with my favorite beer, took a sip, and paused before setting the bottle down on my side table. Looking at the table I envisioned a dinner setting, and as homage to my experience, I placed the bottle gently on the right. A smile came across my face as I recalled the last two weeks. I opened the letter from my lawyer and smiled, as I relaxed into my comfortable renewed self. My long anticipated divorce was finally granted. The fight was over and my new life had begun.