"The past is all the days that have come before this one. History is the story of the past. His Story. Her Story. It is also all the days before he or she was born. We would be destined to learn everything in our own lifetimes by trial and error if no one kept track of what has gone before, wrote it down and passed it on to the following generations. We are stronger, more prepared and more capable because we know how things were done and how they progressed to where we are today. We do, in fact, learn from history, if we are looking to better ourselves. If we are growing into the ultimate person, we are doing so by not repeating mistakes of the past and mimicking the successes with additions of new information. Thus, history leads us to today and our own intelligence leads us beyond."
Adriana reads this passage from an article in the local paper. The new museum is scheduled to open in just a few months and a great deal of press is making the opening an event no one will want to miss. Many items have been run about the builders, the history of the land, the artifacts that will be included and she had read them all. She was so proud of Paul's hard work and very excited for him. This job would no doubt be the first of many large projects he would be asked to participate in with the biding process. He was doing an amazing job and everything was moving along, slightly ahead of schedule.
Their relationship was blooming into something magnificent. She spent nearly every evening with him; even following the girls nights out with Marian and Angel. He would often be waiting at her house when she arrived home. It was a most comfortable affair for both of them. They talked about 'forever' now and then, though no engagement or even a proposal had actually occurred. Both knew, when the time was right, they would marry. Adriana hoped it would happen before she turned 50, no reason, just something she hoped would happen. Paul never gave age any thought at all. He was 2 years older than Adriana and it made no difference to him what the number of years on earth was, it mattered to him that they were of the same maturity level and had similar hopes for their futures. He would be 50 on his next birthday and she had just turned 48. He knew a great deal about her history, but not all the details. He did know she had been responsible for the deaths of people who had hurt her. He knew of the "others" and he tried to understand it all. He knew all the important things, she thought. He didn't know much about her childhood, but he didn't seem to care and she didn't want to remember any of her childhood history. It was not who she had become and was not important to her. She had worked very hard to get beyond her problems and she liked her life now and she liked herself for the first time ever. Looking back or going back in her mind seemed counterproductive.
Angel and Burt had married in an intimate ceremony with all of their friends and co-workers. About a month prior to the wedding Burt had gotten a very lucrative offer from the hospital. He had leaped at the opportunity and was now the Chief of Finances at County Hospital. Angel was so proud of him and it was very practical working in the same location and the same hours. Though on occasion Burt had to return for meetings after dinner, for the most part they lived the same schedule. The round couple was very happy and to this point, had not had one argument. They came close while selecting the house they would share. Since they both lived in 1 bedroom apartments, they had decided to rent or buy a house before the wedding. The market was wide open due to many foreclosures in the county. She wanted to stay in town and he thought the country homes were very appealing. They settled on one they both loved less than a mile from the hospital, but going away from town. It was a 4 bedroom, 2 story with 1st first laundry and a nice back entry which would serve as the shoe and coat closet. Burt had enlisted Paul's help to build this closet and it now looked as if it had always been there. It reduced the entry way to a wide hall which left just enough room for a bench. This allowed Burt and Angel a place to sit while they removed their shoes or donned their boots. The rest of the house was perfect. No alterations needed or wanted. Each bedroom was a different color scheme and they liked each one. The master bedroom would be all natural shades of brown. She chose a smooth, silky deep brown comforter for the bed and added just two plaid pillow cases of beige and deep brown. The windows were very large and she loved the light they filtered throughout the room so she covered them with only wooden slat blinds. They would be open most of the time. The room also had an antique rocking chair that Burt's grandmother insisted they take. They both loved that chair and this room just cried for such an addition. It sat proudly in one corner and held a handmade afghan which Angel had knitted just for this room. The dresser was about 7 foot long and 5 drawers deep. It was a beautiful natural pine finish matching their king sized bed frame. The night tables were massive and sat near the top of the bed on each side. Each had a night lamp and a clock sat on his side. Her side had a small vase of lilies of the valley, her favorite flower. The room was very relaxing and very comfortable. There was no TV because they felt the bedroom was for sleeping and relaxing and sex. None of those things needed TV accompaniment.
It was her favorite room in the house and only the kitchen saw more of her time. She loved to cook and this house had a cook's kitchen.
So far this was a marriage made in heaven and nothing from either of their history would make anyone think anything would change any time soon.
Paul entered the house shuffling through the mail as he walked. He stopped to read one envelope and smiled as he handed it to Adriana. He leaned over and gave her a soft kiss on the lips and the smile returned. He handed her the envelope.
"What the heck: are you going through my mail now? Can't a girl have a little privacy as insured by the Federal Government, I might add." She was smiling at him as she teased him.
"Oh, isn't this great? They are buying a house, Paul! That's just awesome. Oh,..." the tears fell down her cheeks as her heart swelled with happiness. The family she had been helping through an anonymous trust had applied for a small mortgage. She had guaranteed their loan, anonymously. The house was going to be theirs and she knew they would never miss a payment. Those 5 kids would have a real home and they had been eating well for 2 years now. She had hoped the feelers she put out would lead to work for both parents and although it took several months, finally it paid off. The parents had been hired by the same packing firm to work the same hours. The day care had been paid by Adriana, but the parents believed it was a 3 year benefit from their new employer. After the 3 years, she had hoped they would be able to take it on themselves. She had made a difference for this family and she loved the feeling. Paul loved that her heart drove her to do this and she now took such pride in this family. Not in what she was doing, but rather in what they were doing since they had received the hand up. They had run with their opportunity and was now providing a promising future for their children. It had worked out so well and Adriana felt she had done exactly what she needed to do and at the exact right time in their life and in her own.
The Carmen idea had been much more difficult. Carmen had been through about 8 jobs since Adriana had last seen her. She had lost a lot of weight and some thought she might be drinking or using drugs. Her mental attitude was very negative and her work ethic left a great deal to be desired. She was often late or didn't show up for work and when she would get fired, she would just walk around all day or all week until she found something else. It didn't matter what the job consisted of, she would take it, if offered. The last job was a waitress position in one of the small cafe's where locals mostly ate quick meals and ran off to whatever their lives required. She had been there several months. The locals liked her sharp tongue and the owner didn't care as long as she showed up and served food. She didn't appear to be eating much of anything and the room she was renting now wasn't equipped with a kitchen, so she mostly snacked. Now and then she would eat a meal at work, but certainly not daily.
When Adriana had started looking into ways to get money into her account she found it rather more difficult than her family. There was no organization to which Carmen had turned for help. There was no connection Adriana could hide behind. No church, no social group, nothing she could work with at all.
Almost like magic, Angel told Adriana and Marian about a new group forming through the hospital's volunteer staff. They were looking for women over 30 who needed education. All one had to do was enter the name, any personal info available and you could sign your entry or not. Adriana's eyes lit up. She immediately went to the volunteers with her story. An older gal, Alice, listened to her story and said, "Give me a few days, Adriana. I believe I can help you, help this girl. I believe she deserves your help and I want to be your tool to accomplish this end. Please don't worry, we can make this happen."
Alice had worked her magic in less than a week. She had it all worked out. Carmen was notified that she had been chosen after being nominated by one of her customers. She would be given a full ride to the community college in the course of her choosing. She would also receive $100 a week for incidentals until she graduated providing she maintained employment and 3.0 in all her classes. So all she had to do was keep a job and pass her classes. Carmen was thrilled and the program had begun with the start of the next semester. Now 2 years later, Carmen was a few months from attaining her degree. She had already landed a job in her chosen field. She wanted to be a paralegal and had gotten hired by a local attorney as a receptionist with a promise of promotion when the degree was in her hands. All of this from the bank account of the woman who had killed her fiance and changed her life. Now she had changed her life again, but this time she had made a difference for the better. Carmen would carry the ball now, Adriana had no doubt.
Adriana's history had pushed her into action. Because of who she had been, she had become someone much more respectable and with a heart so needing to give, that she had reached back into her history to try to repent without gratitude from her recipient. That was key for her mental health. That was key for her heart to feel good about helping. She was just paying her debts, in part. There is no way to repay anyone for having killed a loved one. She could only work with what she had. She had no way of undoing the evils she had done.
Her therapist had told her many times and she agreed, you can only move forward and remember your past. You cannot undo it. You can only work hard to never repeat the sins. God has forgiven you, you must forgive yourself. Adriana had done that, difficult as it was, she had forgiven herself and her 'others'. None of them were sane enough to understand the consequences of what they had done, but Adriana now understood. It was NOT her who had done those things, yet she was still responsible for each of the acts that nearly broke her, if she allowed herself to think.
History is to be learned from, not dwelt upon.