Chapter 2.16 – Reunion

The flight to Paris is long, and David’s nervousness about the reunion makes it even longer.
He brought a few medical books he has to study for his job interview at the hospital. The sooner he can get out of bedpan cleaning, the better. The jet touches down and David is taken by taxi to the resort where he is staying. It is a beautiful city with more to see than he can fit in this trip. His first stop is a visit to one of the more upscale shopping locations to purchase gifts for his ladies. The gifts for Bebe and Yuki are easy. The next one, a ring, is not so easy.
Once the decision is made, and the gifts are packed safely away, he takes a motorbike to Ciara’s address. He can feel his heart pounding all the way up in his throat. He practices what he is going to say, and can barely get the words out alone on the back of the bike. He can hardly imagine how difficult it is going to be after seeing her. He arrives at the address, but David is somewhat confused.
Sprawling before him is a massive and beautiful cathedral. Thinking there is some mistake, he heads inside to look for somebody to give him directions. The place is huge and filled with paintings, stained glass, and sculptures.
He passes through the narthex into the nave and walks past the many rows of pews. He sees a nun sitting and reading by the alter, and he approaches her. Hearing his footsteps, she stands. David is shocked when she turns to him and finds that it is Ciara.
She leaps up and embraces him urgently, involuntarily letting out a squeal of happiness. He returns the hug, wondering how he could have forgotten just how beautiful she is. They stand, embraced in that hug for quite awhile, not saying a word; just experiencing being together again. Then she steps back and wipes tears away. They both begin to talk at the same time, wanting to get out what each had rehearsed over the past few days.
But Ciara puts a gentle finger over his lips and asks him to let her go first. She explains that the boarding school she spoke about in her letters was actually the convent at this church. Fiona had gone to the extreme, as always, in dealing with her wayward sister. She says that she was confused, at first, about why David was brought into her life, only to be torn away from her. She wanted to believe that they were brought together to BE together. But the more she thought about it, she wondered if they were brought together instead to show her the foundations of kindness, trust, and love; something Fiona could never have shown her. She places her wet cheek against his and kisses him lightly, saying that seeing him now has brought that love flooding back.
She tells him how she hated this place, and thought of nothing but missing him for many, many weeks. But as time went on, and as she began to work with the church in the poorest and most downcast parts of Paris, she started to make some of the connections that were broken in her life. Eventually, she began to devote more and more time to helping those who lived in squalor and poverty. She takes a deep and nervous breath and says that she has committed herself to a medical mission in Africa. She leaves to join the others immeditately after David’s flight home to Sunset Valley.
David is speechless. He stutters while trying to say several things at once, none of them make it out with any coherence. He finally manages to ask her how long she will be there. Her answer is simple but unwelcome; she’ll be there as long as it takes. She wraps her arms around him again and asks him to understand that it is not about her feelings for him. Letting go of him again will be harder now than it was years ago; because now she has a choice. But every day she is Africa, is a day she may be able to save a starving child from death.
Ciara hugs him again, then reaches into her habit to retrieves a small journal, about the size of a diary. She tells him that she never really stopped writing to him, but that she just stopped sending letters. She asks him to take it and think about her when he reads it, because she will be thinking about him every day.

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