My dad taught me something when I was little. “Always look out for those who are weaker than you are, George,” he used to say. “Never take advantage of them or persecute them. They need your goodwill, not your judgment.”
Protecting others came early for me—in grade school. Later, when high school rolled around, there were times when leaning quietly against my locker signaled other students that they could approach me and confide whatever was troubling them. There were a lot of kids who stopped by to talk, including our current mayor. His story was the same as many. I just helped him to see how he could change its direction.
One of those who seldom stopped by was Dreamie. She would slow in her stride, glance at me, and smile. Just smile, and then walk on. She seemed to always know when I needed encouragement or recognition for what I was doing. I learned to cherish those smiles.
I’d come to her rescue on many occasions over the years. I still do. I’ve helped her do little projects around the house to make her life easier. I’ve kept her activities to myself. Even our dearest friend, Spicy, was left out of the loop. I’ve never felt bad about that. Some things she simply had no reason to know.
But Dreamie—she was something else. She seldom talked about her life or her marriage, except when she’d remark that Martin wouldn’t approve of something or that he’d scoff at something she’d heard. Nothing positive emerged from our discussions of marriage.
I don’t know whether she’s ever tumbled to the fact that I love her. She’s never so much as hinted that she feels anything but friendship for me. Time has taught me to be content with that much.
Time also erodes things placed in its path.
Martin’s murder has eroded too many things for too many people. A little cop’s voice in the back of my head tells me this mess is only going to get messier with time. Dams crack and break, washing away anything left lying loose. I wonder how many secrets are going to wash up on the banks of this town.
I have only one choice to make now—a choice between being a cop and protecting Dreamie from the secrets that she’s been holding onto all these years—secrets she doesn’t realize that I know.
Memoir & Backstory Blog Challenge,
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