tagRomanceLost, Betrayed, Found, Forgiven, and Loved

Lost, Betrayed, Found, Forgiven, and Loved

byIngrid11B©

This story is total fiction. Please understand it does not represent any actions or characters in real life.

*****

Commencement was over and the caps were flying when Matt said something to Kay that she never forgot. It was a shocking thing that he said, and Kay knew exactly what he meant, but she also recognized Matt made the remark before his brain engaged with his mouth and now his face was crimson and felt like he probably offended the only girl he ever considered asking on a date.

Graduation day was exciting in most ways, but after they threw their caps Kay and Matt embraced for the first time, which turned out to be the last hug, and both were absolutely crushed when they returned home that night. They never dated but if Matt were ever to date anyone in high school, it would have been Kay he asked, because he secretly loved her. They weren't very compatible in many ways, probably because Matt was a shy smart-alecky eighteen-year-old boy that was very slow to mature, and Kay was a vibrant beautiful young adult; but they were good friends.

Matt never fully appreciated what he liked about Kay, but it was more than her good looks and great figure when they hugged that evening after the graduation ceremony was completed. Matt asked the pretty young graduate, "Kay, what will you do now that you've finished high school?"

"I'm joining a convent, Matt," Kay responded, "And I'll begin in September."

Without even thinking Matt replied, "Oh my God, what a waste," and he was incredibly embarrassed that something like that slipped from between his innocent lips. He would never have said that to anyone, let alone Kay, but it just popped out of his mouth, and it was finished. Matt fled the scene because he was afraid of what Kay would say, but she was so shocked she was a loss for words.

Matt wasn't sure Kay even picked up on what he may have meant, because she was a person that only thought kind things about people, and he was sure she didn't think he meant that from a sexual point of view. He was certain this chestnut haired scholar never thought of him in a sexual way. As a matter of fact, at the time, Matt didn't understand how the words slipped out, but he knew he blushed after saying the remark and bolted from her side. Matt lost his only female friend, and he never expected to see her again.

That was the last time Matt saw Kay for eight years, and he never knew anything about her experiences as a Catholic nun because he joined the Marines for a four-year tour of duty during the 1960's when the Viet Nam War was raging and thousands of warriors never returned from the tropical jungles of Southeast Asia, and many of those that did were physically or mentally battle scarred for life.

Thankfully, he was spared the wounds of war, but he finally matured during those four years he spent before attending college for four years using the generous GI bill to pay his fees. He had a few girlfriends including a couple that turned into real relationships during his time with the Marines, but he was a reformed scholar in college and avoided any social life to achieve high marks and enter an outstanding career. He made the decision to become more serious and crack the books unlike during high school when he took the college preparatory classes but never opened a book.

He had saved enough money to pay his first year's tuition and room and board, but the following three years he worked at least forty-hours a week with a great company and graduated with honors. He rarely returned to hometown hometown, and one-by-one, his friends left for other cities leaving few reasons to return to Ohio.

Matt's mother was incredibly proud when he graduated from MIT and had an announcement placed with his graduation photo in the local paper. Two weeks later, Matt received a letter from Kay that was forwarded to his residence, which completely shocked him. His mother told him it was coming, but she said she didn't know whom it was from, and he searched his mailbox daily until it arrived with a return address near where he moved for his new position.

The name was neatly removed from the label, so Matt didn't know the sender until he looked for the signature before reading the following short letter:

"Dear Matt,

I was thrilled to see your photo and details of your graduation from MIT in the Daily Messenger yesterday and wanted to congratulate you for your hard work. I always knew you were one of the smartest guys in our class because of the classes you took, and I was surprised when you joined the Marines instead of enrolling in college. Apparently, your plans have worked well for you, and I wish you every success.

You probably already know that I withdrew from the convent before I took my final vows. It's a very long story I would like to share someday, but I have lost most of my friends and family over the matter. Yes, I am still a catholic in good standing, so please don't think I was excommunicated or anything that terrible. I'd like to hear more about you, and I'd like to share my past with you. It's hard in a strange town without close friends.

I'm a junior high school teacher now, and I love my students and profession. I hope you are well and would like to meet sometime."

Sincerely,

Kathleen (xxx-xxx-xxxx)

Matt was shocked she used Kathleen to sign the letter because he never knew her to use anything other than Kay. He could barely believe what he read, and he could feel compassionate tears weeping down his cheeks as he reread Kay's letter several times. Kay was a distant memory of a wonderful girl that was a fabulous friend some eight years ago, and knowing she was suffering from an emptiness made Matt yearn to place his long slender arms around her and explain how she can overcome this emptiness. He wished it were that easy!

As Matt reread the letter he realized she didn't know he lived a short drive from her, but he was a new resident just finding his way around Ohio. The more he thought about Kay's predicament, the more he realized he could offer her friendship because they were only a little more than an hour apart by auto, so making a round trip was easy. He wondered if Kay would be the same warm and friendly outgoing woman she was a student. As he read the letter over and over, he knew all about being lonely and alone without a friend to share the pain of being unwanted and unloved; he was a Marine who was not welcomed home after the war in Vietnam.

Matt had experience being lonely, particularly when he was in Vietnam. The nights were scary when he was on guard for the Viet Cong troupes that masqueraded as their friends during the daylight hours and attacked Americans silently at night. Soldiers feared their own airplanes that dropped bombs and Agent Orange too near to their positions. It would have been easy to crack and end up being a mental casualty of war like so many other American soldiers, but Matt also feared the people he thought he was protecting when he returned home because American soldiers were fighting an unpopular war.

Matt knew he needed to call Kay, but he also knew he needed to wait a few minutes to think about what he would say to her. He needed to write down some questions because Matt didn't want Kay to listen to a babbling idiot on the other end of the phone, and he was not the same eighteen-year-old boy she recalled.

He had grown over four inches after graduation, and rather than weighing 125 pounds, he carried thirty-five pounds of extra muscles he only wishes he had in high school. Thinking back, he didn't even shave in high school, and he was really very underdeveloped physically then, and that's probably why he wasn't particularly interested in women yet.

Matt remembered being reluctant to have a relationship because he felt so inferior to many of the bigger and stronger guys in the class. Avoiding rejection was easy for him; Matt just never attempted to compete in sports or for girls in those days. Nowadays, things were different, and too few twenty-six-year-old men are better examples of a strong, fit man suitable to take some new steps in life.

2

She nearly didn't recognize Matt's photo in the paper due to the fact he no longer had the underage high school look she remembered. His face had filled out, he had a longer hairstyle, but mostly Kay noticed his more masculine physique with a thicker neck and wider shoulders. If his name weren't beneath the photo, Kay probably wouldn't have read about his graduation from college.

Kay hadn't seen Matt for eight years, and she recalled he was one of her best friends, though she really didn't have many. It took her several years after high school before she figured out why she wasn't invited to many sleepovers or other gatherings of high school girls. Even the ones she knew well because of Conformation Classes never were close, and her best friends turned out to be Protestants like Matt, and they weren't very close either.

Kay's father was a devout Catholic, and it was he who directed her older brother and her to serve the church. Neither of them dared to confront their father's wishes, and their mother was a meek woman that yielded to his every demand. Only after Joe dropped out of seminary and Kay refused to take her final sacred vows did she return to her little hometown where her father had been laid to rest a year earlier.

Unwilling to answer questions about her departure from the convent, she decided to leave and start a new life in another small town within a half day's drive from where she grew up. Kay had earned a college degree and accepted a position teaching English and one class of Latin, which was mandatory in her church training.

She refused to dwell on her unhappy days at the convent and never confided to her brother what caused her to reject the sacred vows, but Joe had a pretty good idea and didn't push the point. He had bad experiences too, and he struggled for five years before finally meeting a delightful woman that changed his life to one of happiness with four wonderful children that Kay worshiped whenever they could be together.

Kay was getting ready for bed when she heard the phone ringing at 9:30 pm. That was an unusual thing for Kay because few people called at all, and never after 8 o'clock. There was no Caller ID in those days, and she had no method to screen calls with a recording device, so she pleasantly answered, "Hello, this is Kay."

"Hello Kay, this is Matt Robbins calling. Am I calling too late?"

"Hi Matt, no you're not too late. How are you?"

"Ever since I received your letter today, I've been great. I couldn't believe it when I received a letter from you. Are you OK, Kay?"

Their conversation lasted much longer and was so much easier than Matt expected. Kay was always fluent, and she had lots to talk about that evening. She brought Matt up-to-date on some of the people they both knew, but there weren't many to discuss. Kay learned that Matt resided about seventy-five minutes south of her apartment, and she was hoping that one day they could meet and spend a few hours together to talk about the old days.

Kay told Matt about her teaching position and Matt explained he worked for a defense contractor that specialized in remote sensing devices and loved his job, which was highly technical in nature.

"Kay, Would you be available to see me for a few hours if I came down on Saturday morning? I think it's less than two hours from here, so maybe we could meet for lunch and find something to do for a few hours. I'd really like to see you again."

Matt was thinking of the tall slim dark-haired girl when he last saw her eight years before. He wondered if she still wore glasses like he remembered, but he decided that fashions changed too much for that.

"How about I pick you up at noon, Kay, and you can pick a good place to eat. I'll just head back home when we're talked out unless you have a nice woodlands park we could walk through. I'm still an active hiker and I love all that nature offers."

Kay had a morning commitment, but she was through about noon and suggested they meet at 1 pm instead of noon. With the plans finalized, Matt and Kay could barely wait for three days until Saturday arrived, and they were both excited to see the other.

Neither needed to put the date on the calendar as they were excited, not from love or lust, but as two old friends that had been separated for eight long years.

3

It was 1 pm when Matt pulled up in front of Kay's apartment. He took the elevator to the second floor and waited at the door for her to answer the doorbell. The first thing Matt noticed was that Kay's glasses were gone, and her long hair was shortened but equally attractive as he remembered. She was not the ultra slim tallish girl he remembered, as she added a few pounds in some very desirable places. Kay was the same height as before, but she appeared smaller due to Matt's increased height. Matt guessed the differences were more of a new perspective he had, as he viewed the same woman with eight years added to her age.

Kay saw a new man too, one she assumed the Marines made from the small man they recruited. It was a beautiful late fall day with nary a small breeze in the still air. Matt decided on blue jeans and a red short-sleeved golf shirt with an MIT logo on the front. His face was pretty much unfamiliar, and she decided she probably would not have recognized him if she saw him on the street in her hometown.

Kay was dressed similarly in blue jeans with a white summer top decorated with red flowers on the front. "Matt, I've taken the liberty of packing a lunch instead of going to a restaurant. I hope you're all right with this, but I thought we could go to Brown Bear State Park and have a picnic. I think you'll like it there, and there are several moderate hiking trails that encompass the lake if we feel ambitious."

"If you'll point the way, Kay, I'll drive."

Their first date, if one could call it a date, was one of getting reintroduced and brought up-to-date from the last eight years of absence. Matt sensed Kay was sensitive about her time preparing to be a nun, but she had nothing to say either pro or con on their fist few hours together. Matt, on the on the hand, was more open with Kay, particularly about his time in college and with his new position.

He wasn't very excited to talk about the war and all the soldiers he saw die or maybe even worse. It was the ninety-minute hike around the deep cold-water lake where they saw many people fishing and boating. When they came to the rapidly flowing stream that fed the lake they meandered along the banks, which led to several cascading beautiful waterfalls where several people were wading in the frigid water.

It was after 5 pm when they returned to the parking lot and started for Kay's apartment, but Matt decided to add a couple of hours of together time by taking Kay to an Outback Steakhouse for dinner. As they waited for their meals, Matt found himself holding Kay's hands on the tabletop as they leaned towards each other. Even when dinner was finished and Matt had driven Kay home, he had difficulty leaving for home because he sensed their renewed friendship sparked a new flame in his heart, and he wanted to make arrangements when they could get together again.

"Can I visit you again, Kay," Matt asked. "I could come again next Saturday, or if you'd rather, you can visit me. I've really had a great time, Kay."

4

Another nice Saturday arrived the following week, and Kay arrived at Matt's house dressed for hiking. Matt noticed she had a small overnight bag with a change of clothes, he guessed. It was laying in the back seat, and he asked Kay if he should bring it upstairs, but she said, "No, not really, I just brought some other things in case I needed something a little nicer for dinner."

They promptly went to the Cleaver Dam where Matt fished while Kay took photos of the naked trees awaiting the coming winter days, which would bring long cold nights and weather consisting of thick gray clouds. The sun was in hibernation until spring, and Matt planned to make several trips south and west while the weather was unsavory in Brixton and Byerstown where he and Kay lived. In the back of his mind, he was thinking maybe if he was lucky he could get Kay to vacation for a week in the Florida Keys or on Marco Island.

The hours sped by and after they went to dinner she headed home to prepare for Monday's classes, and Matt realized he was getting the same feelings he remembered for Kay many years earlier in high school.

Kay was someone he truly enjoyed being with whether they were alone or in a big crowd like during their school days. He realized she never thought of him the same way he thought about her, but at the time he didn't know she had planned her life to serving her church. She didn't have boyfriends, she just had friends though not as many as she wished.

Matt was struggling with Kay's former life at the convent, and although he sensed something went terribly wrong, she wasn't the type young woman that would have a conflict with her church. That night he tossed and turned thinking about the beautiful young lady that he believed could find a much better and more handsome man that he. Now that she was free from those plastic glasses she was even more attractive than Matt remembered.

Matt never adjusted to his new appearance after joining the Marines, where he changed from an awkward boy to a powerful man that was awarded several medals in Vietnam, which he never mentioned. His first Purple Heart nearly cost him his life when he was grazed on the neck by a sniper who missed his target, which cost him his life. His more serious wound was from shrapnel from an exploding bomb dropped from the air he was while fighting in a rice patty. That wound took him stateside where he recovered for three months before being honorably discharged.

Now he looked at Kay as someone he wanted for his future, and he planned to put up whatever fight was necessary to woo the intelligent school teacher who had recently entered his life and resurrected his life from the ashes of war.

Kay saw a different man through her eyes than Matt saw when he saw his reflection from the mirror. She saw a strong healthy man who went through a metamorphosis from his high school days. What used to be a small 5'8" thin man that appeared to be about 15 when he was really eighteen had become a man. He stood slightly more than six-feet tall, and his former cropped hair was now long and wavy.

His bright blue eyes never changed, but his face filled out and overall he was now the symbol of masculinity instead of a nice little guy that wasn't quite mature enough to go out on a date. She could see his muscular chest through his shirt, and she noticed his neck was thicker now that he was twenty-six years old.

She hated herself for wondering what he looked like in a bathing suit, but in Ohio, it was unlikely she would see him wearing one before June unless ... but she knew she couldn't go there yet, as she was just getting reacquainted with him after an eight-year hiatus. Already she thought he was exciting and he enjoyed many of the same activities as she. Hiking, in particular, was one of her favorite pastimes, which she developed after leaving the convent because hiking is a one person sport that can convert to any number of men and women.

5

It was the third time they got together when some of the secrets started to flow from Kay. She admitted she never had anyone to talk with that she could trust to keep her secrets but somehow she trusted Matt completely. She realized neither of them had close connections to their hometowns, and Matt knew absolutely no one where she lived now.

Colder weather and light snow had fallen the night before Matt arrived on Saturday, and the winds became brutally cold during the late afternoon. They didn't want to venture on another hike at Brown Bear State Park, which they had explored on the previous two Saturdays, so after a nice lunch at Kay's favorite neighborhood restaurant, Kelly's Irish Pub, they returned to her apartment, and she began to share her story of disappointment she endured at the convent.

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byIngrid11B© 8 comments/ 9495 views/ 7 favorites

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