Excerpt from Love, With All My Heart

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by Anna Gorman

Chapter One

Analind

His voice sounds like a knife scratching a plate. Why is his voice in my living room? My space? My head? The TV! Damn that television and damn his commercials. With a smile on my face, I put my middle finger up in the air to his face as I jerk the plug from the wall. Forget the damn remote. The only thing stopping me from throwing the massive contraption out the window? TV isn’t mine. What gets me is how many people flock to his station because he’s a “handsome guy”. Too bad they really don’t know how much of an asshole he, my ex-husband Trenton Pritchard, is.

Unfortunately, he is a very public person since he is the President and General Manager of TGP Media Group. Or as most people in the Portland area know him, the face of Channel 8, and he’s on TV frequently. “Mine, Analind, you are mine,” echoes in my head, but I push his nasty words to the back of my thoughts.

I pick up my cell phone from the table and scroll through the contacts to call my roommate and hit send. The line rings twice.

“Hey, girl. I was getting ready to call you. I just went on break. What’s up?”

“Hey. I just wanted to give you a call to let you know that I’m going to The Grotto and then I might drive around. Today is a day of change. I feel like something is right around the corner, and I’m going to find it,” I rush out. Today is the day something positive is going to happen.

“Good luck! I’ll be thinking about you.”

“Thank you. What time are you off work?”

“I should be home around five thirty or six. Depends on how crazy it gets after lunch.”

“Sounds good. I’ll be home by then, or should be. Talk to you later. Love ya.”

“Love ya. Bye,” she says, hanging up the phone.

I put my phone in my purse, grabbing my keys off the table by the door, and head downstairs to my car after locking the apartment. On my way down the stairs, I think about how amazing of a person my best friend is. I’ve known Kendra since middle school, and we live in a two-bedroom apartment in Kearny on the Westside of downtown Portland in the Knob Hill area.

As I’m driving to The Grotto, rain starts to gently fall, and I think of all the events that have happened over the past year. Events that have happened in my life that allow me to come to The Grotto once again, actually allow me to have a life again. I don’t think it would be possible to be where I am today without Kendra’s help.

She helped me leave Trenton when I broke down and told her what had happened and had been happening. I didn’t want to make a massive production of my failed marriage, and I felt it wasn’t the world’s business of what happened behind closed doors. Kendra showed up to help me pack and took me to her place. After a few hours of tears and comforting, I was on my way out of a kind of marriage no one should have to live in.

After some time away from Trenton and a few sessions with Dr. Soden, I learned how much I actually survived through. I endured years of mental abuse, abuse that at first I didn’t think of it being that, just bluntness. Add in the revelation of Trenton’s infidelity, I knew it was time for me to leave the marriage that I once loved.

Trenton laughed in my face when I first filed for divorce, and he refused to sign the petition. Once he forced my hand and learned that I knew about the women he had slept with, he changed his view. If word of the scandal got out, it could ruin his company and the careers of the women he was with—station whores.

We had a prenup, and he didn’t have to pay much to kick me to the curb. I felt like in the end, I didn’t know the man I’d been married to. Within a few weeks, the divorce was final because there isn’t a minimum of ninety days waiting period in the State of Oregon if you meet all the requirements, and it helps to know judges in the right places. Trenton wanted the divorce over quickly as he’s a very impatient man.

Once the ink was dry, all I was worth was a new car and twenty thousand, and that’s not much in Portland especially when you don’t have a job. I’ve been living off the money for the past year and would be homeless if it wasn’t for Kendra, and luckily she’s been supportive of me. She hasn’t been pushy about me getting a job or forcing me into situations that I haven’t been ready to put myself into, but that’s changing today.

I push the thoughts of my past out of my head as I pull into the parking lot. Only three spots in the vast lot have occupants, so I park in the closest spot to the trail that will lead me to Mary. As I get out of my car, I notice the rain has stopped falling, but everything is wet, and dampness clings to the air around me as I walk down the paved path.

The prayer area of The Grotto is void of anyone praying at the foot of the statue. I kneel and the coldness of the wet stone penetrates through the thin leggings to my skin, but I push the coldness to the side and start saying my prayers. I can feel Mary taking me into her arms, holding me close to her heart. Her strength, love, and most definitely her courage is pouring into me, reassuring me that I made the right decision, and letting me know that I will be okay. I will be complete again. I’m so much closer than I was a year ago.

The April rain starts to fall with gentleness around me, and at one time the rain used to hide my tears. Now, the rain is a comfort to me as I feel it touch my skin, reminding me I’m no longer living in that nightmare.

I say a few more prayers, “Mother Mary, thank you for everything I have, listening to me, and comforting me all these months. Thank you…”

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