13 YEAR OLD BULLIED … AND … SUSPENDED FROM SCHOOL

GUILTY

 

My 13-year-old son is the victim of bullying both by students of Owosso Public Schools (Middle School) and by the principals and teachers who stand by and allow the bullying to continue. He has developed extreme anxiety and frequently experiences mood swings due to the pressure, humiliation, and trauma he is forced to endure day after day. He is pushed, punched, kicked, tripped, cussed at, degraded, and screamed at by staff if he reacts in the least (and he does react, as most anyone adult or child would.) Again, this happens every single day he is at school.

 

    A few months ago, Cherokee, my son, was heading from one class to another when another child pushed him down a flight of stairs. I went to the school about this. I asked them to do something to stop the bullying. They said that they watched the video tapes but Cherokee was out of the line of sight so they couldn’t tell who had pushed him. Cherokee told them who pushed him down the stairs. I followed up 3 days later to see what they had decided. The Vice principal Mr. King said that he talked to the other boys who Cherokee had named as his attackers. The boys denied having assaulted Cherokee, so Mr. King dropped the issue. The boys were neither reprimanded or suspended for their attack.

 

    As time has gone forward, these types of attack happen habitually. Cherokee is often sick at school or calls to come home. Teachers such as Mrs. Anderson, his math teacher, allow Cherokee to be bullied even during class. When Cherokee asked for help, she scolded him and told him to get back to his seat.

 

    Today, 3/20/2013, Cherokee was shoved in the Gym class from behind. He turned around and grabbed a child behind him. As the ingrained response was triggered, he put his left hand on the child right shoulder and his right hand on his chest. He neither pushed nor harmed the child. Unfortunately, the child Cherokee reacted to was in front of the ones who actually shoved him. For this act of self-defense, a taught, ingrained protective response due to the year of bullying, Cherokee has been suspended from school. Mrs. Dwyer, who claims to have seen the incident, reported to the principals that Cherokee had “scooped” the other child. Cherokee denied the allegation and begged to be able to tell his side of the story. Mrs. Dwyer screamed at him to get out of the classroom that she did not want to hear him. The school called me to come get him.

 

    When I entered the office, I told them I wanted to speak to both principals and Cherokee. They said initially No I would talk to them first. I refused until Cherokee entered the room. So they sent for him. The first thing I asked Cherokee was if he was allowed to tell them what had happened. Of course, as is customary, he had not been allowed to. He was simply suspended without being able to voice his statement. With me there, he told what happened. He admitted that he reacted to the first person he saw. I told the Principals, Mr. King and Mr. Collins that he would most probably not have reacted the way he did had they stopped the bullying at any point during the school year.

 

    Mr. Collins said, “We get reports about problems with Cherokee weekly.” I said, ” I get reports of bullying DAILY.”

    How can a school and its staff, when bullying is against the law, continue to allow it based on their personal preference for one child over another? If a child is ADHD, Autistic, overweight, or in any other way, “different” at Owosso Public Schools, they are the targets both the students and the staff. The early teen years are difficult for all children but for those labeled different or troubled… It is hell on earth.

 

My name is Shelly Baxter. My son’s name is Cherokee Shrum. At 12 years old, he became the target of continual torment at the hands of students and staff of Owosso Public Schools. A year later, it continues.

POWER TO DO, BE, OR HAVE ANYTHING!

As you can tell, my writings have been absent for more than a week. Every day, I thought about writing and every day I allowed myself to say, “I’m too busy” or “I don’t have enough time. I’m too tired.” I was allowing myself to be wrapped up in doing for everyone else and neglecting myself. So, what has changed? My thinking has!

Did you know that whatever you think about, you give power to? What you give power to; you cause to happen repeatedly. When I was thinking everyone else is using up my time that is what happened. I was giving energy to the loss of time, which perpetuated the loss of time. If however, I give energy and focus to having enough time for everything. That is what happens! Whatever we put our minds to is what we create! We are literally creating our life right now! You can make anything happen simply by thinking it, believing it, and receiving it. What we believe we achieve! When we think of something we need to act like we already do it or have it or are it, now. We don’t say someday I will be rich. Instead, see yourself and wealthy NOW. I am not saying go on a spending spree with your last dollar but I am saying to visualize to perfection what you will do once you have your million dollars. Not just, I will buy a house. Really, what does that house look like? Where is the furniture? What does the furniture look like? What does the kitchen smell like? Visualize with vividness and it WILL happen. Don’t just visualize though. Act it out. If you say, “I want to be happy” then you need to visualize yourself as happy and ACT happy! You will find that you are happy. You will become happy simply by the energy and the power you gave to being happy. This is not a maybe it will happen, or I hope it happens. It is much more than wishful thinking because we are giving our energy to it! If you don’t believe me let me give you an example from my own life.

Last week I learned that a coworker was leaving the company for another job. All week long, I imagined myself in her position. At this point, I didn’t really realize what I was doing however, anytime I walked into the company I thought about it. What if I asked for the position? I have less seniority than Carl does, would it even be possible? The excitement of doing that job grabbed hold of my mind and didn’t let go. I saw myself working independently. I visualized every day DOING the job. The weekend came and went and it was nearly her last day on the job. I walked into the conference area where we all met before we started our day to receive instruction from the manager. After everyone had exited the room the boss said, “I want to talk to you about something.” I turned to her and for a moment thought, “Oh no, what did I do?” When I voiced that she laughed and said, “Nothing, I want you to take over Cheryl’s position.” You could have picked my jaw up off the floor. I realized right then what I had done! I gave my thought, my energy, and my power to the idea of doing this job, of having this independence. I created this. I have the power to bring forth anything I desire and so do you!!!

So what is it that you want to be, have, or do? Make it perfectly clear in your mind! Give time to yourself to bring it into being. Allow yourself to see that you already are what you want most in the world. It will happen. Keep doing it. Don’t give up if you don’t see results immediately because the universe is realigning itself to give you what you want. Just as what we give good power to happens, what we give negative power to also happens. If I had said to myself, “I wont get the job. I’m not good enough.” I promise you the universe would have said, “Your wish is my command.” I would not have gotten the position. If I think every day, give power, and worry to the thought that my van is going to break down, guess what is going to happen. My van is going to break down. Whatever you give your thought and energy good or bad to WILL happen!

Now, I see myself as a writer. I give energy to the thought that I am a writer. I tell myself I have enough time to write. I see myself writing. Guess what happened. I woke up early on my day off, feeling totally rested with not an ounce of stress or pain in my body. I focused on having time to write. The universe or God, which ever you choose it to be, said, “Your wish is my command” realigned itself to my desire and provided me the time to write. I am so grateful for this opportunity and the knowledge that anything I desire, anything I give my thoughts and energy to, I can make happen. I am the creator of my life. The universe/God is like a parent who wants to see their beloved children happen and so grants every wish. So then, be brave enough to see yourself, as you want to be. See yourself having that new car. Look at your hands. Really look. Now see your hands wrapped around the steering wheel. The car is yours. Money and wealth can be yours. Love can be yours. Happiness can be yours. Gratefulness can be yours. Peace and harmony can be yours. Anything you can dream of is already out there waiting for you to want it, to think about it, to be it. Simply see it, believe it, act it. It will happen.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Kiss

The weekly photo challenge (click here to join in on the fun) In a new post specifically created for this challenge, share a picture that means KISS to you!

    Before I post the photo, I would like to tell you a short story of how these love birds ended up in the intimate embrace pictured in below.

Isaac has dark eyes and dark hair. He is very muscular and Boston radiates from his personality, his very core. He had been chasing Om Joy for quite some time. After all, he thought to himself, “What’s not to love! She is radiant!” Om Joy had long dark hair with golden highlights and the greenest of eyes. Her eyes absolutely captivated him. Unfortunately, she always ran. She did not seem to want to give him the time of day much less offer him a smile or kind word. Still, he could not resist the chase.

What Isaac didn’t know is that Om was secretly dreaming that one day Isaac would catch her. She wanted to see the light and happiness in his deep brown eyes. She wanted to feel him nuzzle her and treat her tenderly. She was shy though. It pained her that she was oh, so shy. So, she never quite let him get close enough. “Maybe someday.” She thought and her heart would beat loudly.

Over the course of the next few weeks, day by day, Om did let him get a little closer. She would even so far as to pose where he could see, knowing he couldn’t help but notice. Then, it happened one day. They came by the same way. He rounded the corner one way and she came around the other. They bumped straight into each other. The electricity form the touch jolted them both. He gazed into her soft green eyes and she into his pools of velvety chocolate. For a moment, they each stood with bated breath. Finally, Isaac leaned forward. This time Om Joy didn’t stop him. No, not this time. She closed her eyes and for a single minute in time, she was lost. His kiss deepened and he stroked her ear. The world spun for them both. Their hearts beat in time.

All too soon, it was over… and the chase was on.

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Cupids Arrow: Tale of a Happy Ending

The daily prompt tells us: It’s Valentine’s Day, so write an ode to someone or something you love. Bonus points for poetry! To join in simply click here à
DAILY PROMPT: CUPIDS ARROW

Oh Love how I have searched

For something true

Yet like a bird in a cage my heart perched

For I didn’t know of you.

I longed and looked without reserve

Until the question did arise

What do I really deserve?

Surely, only my demise.

My blue eyes alas baleful

The search was lost

My nightly cries wailful

Only my heart knew the cost.

When I gave up

Only then Love did you find

My heart an orchestra to conduct

And my sorrows to powder you grind

Imagine my surprise

To learn you truly were no actor

To see love in your eyes

And know you are my happy ever after.


WEEKLY WRITING CHALLENGE: CHARACTERS (REWRITE)

    Before I begin, I would like to invite you to join us in the weekly writing challenge. To read the rules and suggestions for this assignment you please click here à
WEEKLY WRITING CHALLENGE. The goal is to pick someone in our life present or past and make them as real as we can for the audience.

    In addition, I am rewriting this article because the previous article I wrote and posted inadvertently hurt my son’s feelings. It would not have been kind to leave the article up after he told me it hurt him. Therefore, here is my new addition to the Weekly Writing Challenge.

 

    Linda is about five feet six inches with long dark hair and blue eyes tinged with golden flecks. Her olive skin is smooth and shines with healthy luster. Before she is fully awake in the morning, she rolls over and pulls her small dog into her arms cuddling him. This has been their routine since she rescued him four years ago. After a few minutes, she rolls onto her back and stretches all of her muscles. She feels the stretch as it releases the night from her flesh and draws in the morning. After a few deep breaths, she sits up slowly to avoid the effects of the positional vertigo that accompanies her each day. Still, the room spins. Linda sways slightly and rises to her feet. The wooden floor is chilly on her bare feet but she really doesn’t notice much. Linda is very much a creature of habit. Routines make everything work. They reduce stress and things just seem to get done automatically.

    It is now 3:15 in the morning. First thing after leaving the bedroom, Linda heads to the bathroom where she prepares for the day. Clothes, hair, face (cleanse) are first. She also puts on her lace up shoes. This she feels, is very important to putting her mind and body into work mode.

Linda is far from vain but being dressed and put together first thing in the morning sets her in the right mindset to carry out all the tasks that need doing that day, whether it is work at the payroll job or writing her latest book or taking care of the children (sometimes, all three). Once she is put together, Linda throws in a load of laundry and removes the laundry from the day before from the dryer. The clean clothes are deposited onto the couch in the living room and she heads to the kitchen where she starts the pot of coffee. Linda takes the filter basket tunks it out in the trash and rinses the left over grounds down the sink. She replaces the filter and fills the pot with cool water. After putting three scoops of Folgers coffee into the small basket, Linda closes the lid and turns on the pot. Instantly the smell of fresh, morning, coffee fills the air. This always makes her smile. Linda breathes deeply the fragrant aroma and turns her attention to any cups or bowls left in the sink by the children the night before. Two or three minutes later when everything has been washed and put on a towel to air dry, Linda moves back to the living room. It doesn’t take long to hang or fold the laundry and get it put away. She does laundry every day without fail. A pet peeve Linda has is not being able to wear what she chooses because it is in the dirty laundry basket. Once the habit was established back in her twenties, it remained.

Linda goes back to the kitchen where she pours herself a cup of the freshly brewed coffee. She adds two packets of Splenda and a touch of cream. She moves the cup and saucer to the table and prepares a bowl of microwaveable oatmeal. This is the same every morning, coffee and oatmeal. Once the oatmeal is finished and the first cup of coffee consumed, Linda moves into the living room to sit at the desk and write. It is now four in the morning. She has one hour to work. Her mind drifts into the lives of her characters. She vividly sees them living their own lives. She hears their voices. She is no longer in her living room but somewhere inside her creation. Everything else disappears.

All too soon, the timer sounds letting her know it is five in the morning and time to head to the payroll job. She must leave behind the characters who have become a part of her and enter into the world of go-and-do. Linda feeds the pets, the small dog and the longhaired calico. She takes a moment to gather her things prepared the night before, her lunch, purse, keys and name badge. After one last look around, Linda shuts off all the lights and leaves the house.

Thank you for taking the time to read my post. Make it a great day! J

Daily Prompt: Karma Chameleon

James Edward loved to travel. Most of the time he tried to find experiences outside what he considered normal. Unfortunately, for James however, so much of his life seemed familiar, as if he had done this all before. The streets looked the same. He would recognize odors that would bring to mind memories that he had never experienced. How he could know the taste of certain foods without ever having tried them was another source of oddness to him. James always knew he was different but he attributed it to some small amount of psychic ability, though, he would never admit to that.

One day as James traveled by tram through the streets of London, he couldn’t contain his restlessness. He pulled the cord and a bell sounded letting the driver know he wanted to exit. The tram pulled to a stop. James thanked the old scraggly man, nodded, and left. As he began to walk that old feeling of déjà, vu came on him more intensely than ever. He looked around and seeing a large three-story home, James decided to test this feeling. He walked to the doorstep then without realizing it, he reached into the over-grown plant next to the door to retrieve a key. James unlocked the door then stared at the key in his hand, shocked. How had he known just where the key was? Had he been here before?

    “Oy I’m losing it. Get a grip man. Get a grip.” James chided himself as he turned the handle and pushed. The door opened and James stepped in. The entry way was huge with black and white checkered tile on the floor. The walls were smooth, snowy white, perfect in their purity. Straight ahead there stood a set of double doors that James knew lead to a grand library. Slightly to his left and dominating, the room was an intricately carved staircase with hundreds of small felines seemingly running up the banister. James walked to the stairs and touched one of the wooden cats.

    “Welcome home Sir.” A melodic voice softly greeted him. Surprised, James turned to see the most beautiful woman he had ever laid eyes on. She had flowing auburn hair, olive skin like his own, a straight unobtrusive nose, and bright baby blue eyes. Oh, those eyes! James stood there, perhaps a moment too long, looking into the eyes of an angel.

    “I, I, I’m sorry.” James stuttered. “I was just passing through and I saw your…” James stopped. “Did, did you say… welcome home?” He asked haltingly.

    “Yes, Love. This is your home. Has been for centuries. We always know you come back home sooner or later.” Her voice was like an enchanting harmony. By now, James was very, very confused. He shook his head to clear it but nothing could shake the feeling that this beauty knew a lot more about him than he knew about him.

    “But that means… How?” James was having trouble finding just the right words. “Now of all times! Now his brain turns to mush!”

    “Shall we retire to your study for some tea Mr. Edward? I can explain everything.” She offered gently. “By the way, my name is Nonet… this time,” she added with a smile.

    “Um, it is nice to meet you Nonet.” James replied politely.

    As the two headed through the double doors, James glanced into the mirror. Staring back at him, he saw his blue eyes. The same blue eyes the beautiful Nonet has. He inhales audibly. Nonet touched his arm and smiled reassuringly up at him. James looked from the mirror to Nonet and back again. They had the same eyes, nose, chin… This couldn’t be a coincidence!

    “What’s going on?” James demanded, more than a little thrown. He grabbed her by the arms and turned her to face him.

    “James, don’t you see? I am you.” Nonet seemed to shimmer right there before his eyes. She seemed to grow transparent but her body glowed with a beautiful golden aura. The aura grew stronger and her visage dimmer until she was nothing but light in front of him. James reached to rub his eyes, not believing what he was seeing. Soon, the golden light vanished and left James standing in front of the large mirror alone.

    “Welcome home.” The words echoed throughout the spacious room and reverberated through his chest. Home, finally, he found it. His home, the place that would stop the tedious travels, would bring him so much joy. Yes, he was home at last.

 

Reincarnation: do you believe in it?

 

This was the daily prompt. The daily prompt is to offer suggestions of topics to write about. I thought this was a great topic! It is something close to my heart. I absolutely believe in reincarnation. I believe that when we die our stream of consciousness moves from one life to another until we get it right. When we reach Nirvana, this samsara (cycle of birth and death) ends and we reach the heaven realms. Our karma, our efforts and actions keep us in this cycle. To reach the end, thus stopping reincarnation there are 8 things along the path we must follow.

 

  1. Right Intention/Thought
  2. Right View (seeing things as they truly are)
  3. Right Speech (THINK method)
  4. Right Mindfulness
  5. Right Concentration
  6. Right Action
  7. Right Livelihood
  8. Right Meditation

By following the path of the middle way, we can move on from these lives. Until we get it right however, our consciousness will continue like James in the story. Meeting up with our former selves is unlikely but wouldn’t it be wonderful, to know in one life what to avoid in our next?

    Just something to think about. Until next time, thank you for taking the time to read my work. Make it a great day!

    

Weekly Photo Challenge: Unique

Simplicity

Simplicity

Weekly Photo Challenge: Unique

The idea of the Weekly Photo Challenge is to post a photo that says “unique” to me.  I chose this photo because of the contrast between the worn look of the table and the pristine look of the teacup and saucer.  Even the tea is beautiful simplicity. This photo says that what we put into ourselves is much more important than what is on the outside.

DPChallenge: Weekly Challenge: Mind Gap

Daily Post: Weekly Writing Challenge (Click here and join in on the fun!)

This week’s Mind the GapHow do you prefer to read, with an eReader like a Kindle or Nook, or with an old school paperback in hand?


    For me, there is nothing quite like holding a book in my hands as I read. I love the slightly textured pages of whatever novel or educational material I am enthralled with at the time.

The smell of a book also attracts me. It makes me think of lying out on the bench swing in the front yard when I was a child. The sun would beat down on my young tanned skin. With my foot, I would gently sway and read for hours and hours. It was my escape. I lived within the world of my books. 

With some books, you can smell the paper and the ink. It is a sweet and dusty smell combined. Fresh paper is more poignantly scented than old are, but they both smell like earth and fresh air. Opening a new book for the first time is like taking the first step on a long journey into the adventure of unknown lands. When I open a book, I inhale deeply and softly touch the page.

In my minimalistic home, silence pervades. When I am reading a physical book, I love to hear the sound of the page as I turn it. It is the only sound beyond that of my own heartbeat and breath. It sounds like music.

Yes, I prefer old school paperback. I read a Kindle often but it is cold and distant. I am not as drawn in to the story and I am not able to travel as smoothly within the book as I can with traditional paper books.

You see, reading to me, is not a chore or a hobby. It is an experience.

DAILY PROMPT: FIRE!

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/01/30/daily-prompt-fire/   The Daily Prompt Challenge Your home is on fire.  Grab five items (assume all people and animals are safe).  What did you grab?

 FIVE FROM THE FIRE

Daily Prompt

Daily Prompt

As Michelle lay comfortably in her bed, she started to drift off to sleep.  Her rest didn’t last long.  Just as sounds began to meld together and her breathing slowed, the smoke detectors throughout the house started screaming.  Startled, Michelle jerked awake and jumped up out of the bed momentarily confused.  As she realized what was going on, she grabbed her cellphone and dialed 911.

“Yes Ma’am, I need the fire department at 102 South Quiet Street, Cape town.  Please, Hurry!”  Michelle pleaded into the phone as she ran around the mobile home grabbing her few important possessions.

She threw on her coat and dropped her phone into the pocket.  She grabbed the Laptop and cord from the desk.  As she raced down the hallway to the back door, Michelle picked up her backpack, which always contained her spare uniform for work, and an extra pair of socks.  The smoke was billowing around her.  She could hear the popping and cracking of the fire.  Choking and gasping frantically, Michelle grabbed her shoes and jumped out the back door just as the first of three fire trucks pulled up in front of her home.

Once she was safely away from the flames and smoke Michelle sat down on the curb and thanked the universe that she had gotten out alive.  Mobile homes burn so quickly.  Within fifteen minutes all that the fire left was a skeleton of her home.  Michelle could only sit and stare at the wreckage as the fire crew continued their work.

Finally, accepting the facts as they were, she put the laptop and its charger into the backpack, took out the socks, and put them on.  She put on her shoes next and snugged her coat around her to fight off the nighttime chill.

When it was all over, Michelle called her mom and explained everything. The firefighters had decided it was an electrical fire and told Michelle that she was very lucky that she had installed the smoke detectors. Without them, she may not have had time to get out.

…………………………………

So, now, what would I take if my home were on fire?

  1. My cellphone
  2. My computer
  3. My coat
  4. My shoes
  5. My backpack (I keep extra clothes ready in case of an emergency.)

Having been through this very thing several years ago, I have thought about this a great deal.  I am a minimalist and do not have a great deal of possessions at all so the things I would take are the necessities, and my computer.

DPChallenge Couples Embrace

The day seemed to fly by all too quickly.  John and Ava Maria spent the day together wandering from museum to museum taking in the breath taking pieces of art.  As the day drew to a close, they knew their time was nearly over.  Together, they walked hand in hand to find a quiet restaurant to take their final meal together.

The walk to the restaurant took only about ten minutes.  John turned toward Ava and pulled her into his arms.

“Oh, my sweet, sweet Ava!”  His voice broke as he tried to choke back emotion.  “How can I live without you?  How can I go on?”

She nuzzled his neck.  He smelled of citrus cologne.  It was a scent that always took her back in time to their first meeting.  It was on this very same block.  They had been riding the small train.  She was off to college and he was leaving for boot camp.  They were seated next to each other in the streetcar.  He wore the same cologne that she knows now as only she would; is his scent, as much a part of him as his intense hazel eyes.  That first meeting was the beginning of a beautiful journey together.  At the time only she knew how it would end.

“My love, you have been there for me each and every step of the way.  I have not once been lonely or afraid.  Please understand this is something I must do.  My death will be only a moment in time, but my life will continue forever.  I will save thousands.”  Ava Maria patiently explained again her resolve to give up her own life to save many.

Ava, did not discover the cure to cancer, she was the cure to cancer.  Ava Maria’s body would become the medicine.  Each person who received certain cells from her body would in turn receive the gift of life.  The long list of children around the world with leukemia will be given a chance to grow up.  Maybe, just maybe, one of those children would become the doctor who would create more medicine.  In doing so, the flow of life would continue from generation to generation.  It would all begin with Ava.

Tears spilled down his cheeks as he pulled her tightly against him.  His heart was beating so hard he could hear it pound in his ears.  What kind of love she must have for humanity!  There was no selfishness in her small body at all, not a drop.  Suddenly, without his control, a cry of anguish erupted from somewhere deep inside him.  John’s heart was breaking.  His breath quickened as his body shuddered, wracked with unimaginable emotional pain.  How could she be taken from him so soon?  He was so in love he could not fathom a life without her to love him back. Ava held tightly onto John.  She wished with all her might that she could help him.  She was so willing and able to help countless others, but she was torn with guilt that she could not help the one person who loved her above all else.

Finally, after taking a few deep breaths, John pulled back.  He held her face between his palms and lowered his lips slowly to hers.  When their lips met, it was as if a smoldering fire had ignited.  Heat, love, and passion made the world disappear for them both.  It didn’t matter that the elderly folks across the street were clucking their tongues and shaking their heads at the public display.  It didn’t matter that the streetcar was sounding its bells waiting for the last of the passengers to board.  No.  The only thing that mattered was each other, in this moment.  Time stood still for the young couple.  It had to.  Neither was willing to break the embrace.  This was it.  Today, their time together was over.  It was indeed bittersweet sorrow.

When the spark dimmed, John wiped the tears from his face.  He was shaking but he took her hand and led her into the restaurant.  The lighting was dim.  A single tall white candle with a gently flickering orange flame illuminated each table.  Their hands parted only long enough for each to sit down in the elegantly designed wooden chairs.  Soft cream suede covered the seats.  Delicate classical music filled the room.  It was so soothing it felt as though one could float on the drifting notes.
John stroked the backs of Ava’s hands with his thumbs feeling the smooth skin.  She is so young and beautiful he thought.  It just doesn’t seem real.

“Maybe, this is all just a bad dream.”  John whispered and looked into her blue eyes, bloodshot from withholding her own tears.  He shook his head slowly.  Ava withdrew one of her hands and stroked his cheek.  His five o’ clock shadow was rough on her fingertips.  The sensations made her smile, and even blush.  She was remembering another time she felt that stubble against her heated skin.  The smile was fleeting and the reality of what she was about to do gripped her.

     I can do this.  Ava told herself and looked up into John’s eyes again.  He was looking intently back at her.  The loving gaze was lost shortly as the waiter approached their table.  They ordered their food.  In silence, they ate slowly but their eyes would meet and they would softly smile at one another.

Once the meal was over and the bill was paid, John led her outside and once again pulled her into his arms.  He rested his chin and cheek on top of her long soft hair.  She smelled of lavender and vanilla.  He inhaled deeply.  When he opened his eyes, he saw her elderly father across the street.  John took a deep breath and squeezed her tight.  Ava held him.  She never wanted to let go, but she knew she must lest she lose her resolve.

Ava turned and saw her father.

“Good-bye my love.”  She was gone.