A seal upon your heart, p.34
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       A Seal Upon Your Heart, p.34

           Pepper Pace

  He pulled into his drive and then drove right past his house towards the cottage. The porch light was out—so she hadn’t been home. He parked haphazardly and then used his key to let himself in.

  “Martier?” Of course she wouldn’t be here; the Cadillac wasn’t outside. He dialed her cell phone once again. “Hey baby, you need to call me right back. I’m worried.” He disconnected, his brow furrowed and then he blew out a stressed breath.

  He remembered her history on her telephone and scanned it until he came upon Dhakiya’s phone number.


  “Hi Dhakiya, is Martier there?”

  “Tim? No she’s not here.”

  His shoulders slumped. “Do you know where she is?”

  “What? You don’t? Well hallelujah!”

  “What are you talking about?” He asked angrily, not appreciating her attitude.

  “Let me just be blunt, Tim. I got your number. I know your type, I’ve met plenty of men like you.”

  “What in the hell is your problem?”

  “You men that can’t think beyond your stiff penises! Hopefully she left your ass!”

  “What?! I don’t have time for this-”

  “I know you knocked her up.”

  He was just getting ready to hang up the phone when he stopped. “What did she tell you?”

  “She told me that she didn’t get her period. And she told me that you don’t want to get married and that you don’t want children.”

  “What?! That’s crazy!”

  “So you do want to get married and you do want to have children with her?”

  He huffed. “Look…that’s between Martier and myself—”

  “Just what I thought.”

  “Why would she think that I wouldn’t want to be married to her or to have our baby?”

  “Have you asked the Catholic girl, that you’ve been fucking and that you’ve knocked up, to marry you?”

  Tim rubbed his face and shook his head. “I…I gotta find Martier,” he muttered. “This is not like her even if she is pissed at me. And you know what? I don’t give a shit what you think! What have you done for her since she got her memories back? Nothing! You haven’t encouraged her to talk about it or to go to thera-”

  “What did you say? Martier got her memories back? When?”

  Tim hung up the phone on her and then wondered who else he could call. He thought about Claudette and was scanning the phone’s history for her number when the phone rang. He answered it quickly.

  “Tim! Don’t hang up! Please tell me when Martier got her memories back.”

  “When we were in New York, okay? We saw an African dance troupe and she remembered.”

  “Tim…she really doesn’t need to be alone right now.”

  “No shit. Why do you think I’m freaking?”

  “I’m sorry. I—Look, Martier called me the other day because she felt as if she was a bad influence for Linda.”

  “What? Why would she think that? Linda is doing very well.”

  “Well she said that Linda wanted to be just like her and that she wasn’t good enough because of the way that she was living her life.”

  “Damn.” Tim said. “Did you take a minute from bashing me to tell her that she’s amazing?”

  “Yes I did! Look, I told her to talk to you about her feelings. I told her to demand that you place a seal upon your heart!”

  “A what?”

  “Song of Solomon?” There was quiet. “Do you know anything about the bible? Do you even know that it’s Martier’s favorite book of the bible—perhaps even her favorite book?”

  “Sorry we don’t spend much time talking about the bible. What is this seal that you’re talking about?”

  “There is some interpretation here but basically a very beautiful black woman was admired by a man that had money and the power to give her luxury. But he talked about sensuous things instead of valuing the fact that she had contracted with God to remain pure. It didn’t mean that she couldn’t fantasize about it—but she kept her legs closed despite the fact that this man kept offering her his wealth and feeding her with compliments concerning her beauty.”

  Tim scowled at her not-so-subtle jab at him. She had no idea and he had little desire to fill her in on the actual facts concerning their relationship. First was that he had not been the one trying to open her legs.

  “So one day she is in this man’s vineyard and she says; look, I don’t want your money or your wealth, I want your commitment. I want to know that I above all others have a firm place in your heart and that you are not afraid to wear me on your arm and show me to the world!”

  “This is your interpretation-”

  “It’s Martier’s interpretation at the moment.”

  Tim sighed. “I see. Is there anything else?”

  Dhakiya spoke. “Well…that’s basically it. If I hear from her I’ll let you know.”

  “Thank you.” He said briskly. “I’ll do the same.”


  “We’re done here.” He hung up the phone. Then he scanned down the list of numbers again for either Bartholoma or one of the sister’s—fuck! He would dial every number on the list if he had to. And then he heard the sound of the car and he hung up the phone and rushed to the door.

  The Cadillac pulled up next to his truck and he sighed in relief—more than that, the shattered pieces of his psyche seemed to reform. Tim hurried to the car just as Martier stepped out, looking at him in confusion.


  “Where the hell were you? Why didn’t you answer your phone?!”

  Her eyes grew wide and she quickly rummaged through the car. “Oh no! I left my purse at the church.” She had been in such a rush and then later so preoccupied that she had completely forgotten about it. She ran her hand through her hair tiredly.

  “I have to go back and get it.”

  “Martier, are you crazy? It’s after eight. We can get it in the morning. What were you doing there anyway?”

  She walked past him with a sigh. “I’m tired Tim. We can talk about it tomorrow.”

  He followed her, resisting an urge to grab her arm and turn her around. “Martier, I was very worried about you.”

  She sighed. “Why, because you couldn’t keep tabs on me for five or six hours?”

  “Lets try eight or nine.” He snapped. “And I don’t keep tabs on you. You always tell me where you are and when you didn’t answer or return my calls I got scared.”

  She turned to him. “I’m sorry,” She said apologetically. “I’m okay, I promise. I just got sidetracked.”

  She gave him a hug and the last of his anger faded away. “I’m sorry too. I didn’t mean to snap.” They went into the house arm in arm but he sensed that she seemed a bit stiff. He locked up while she hung up her coat and took off her heels.

  “Martier. I wanted to talk to you about something.” And then he saw that her eyes were puffy. She’d been crying. Alarmed he sat down on the couch with her. “You were crying! What’s wrong? Did something happen?”

  She sighed. “Something did happen.”

  “Are you okay?”

  She nodded. “That’s why I went to Bartholoma. It helped and I feel better.”

  “Sweetheart, if you’re worried about being pregnant-”

  “I’m not!” She said quickly. “I’m not pregnant.”

  “Okay…” he sighed in relief. “Then what’s wrong? You didn’t…did you want to be pregnant?”

  “No!” She said adamantly. “But it’s obvious that you didn’t want it either.” She came to her feet quickly and he did reach out to take her hand. She yanked away from him.

  He frowned annoyed mostly because he was still stressed from earlier but also because she was acting crazy. “Look, I talked to Dhakiya.”

  She spun around and looked at him. “What?!”

  “Yes. I called her to find out where you were and she told me…well she told me about how you felt.”

o! What did she say?”

  He took in a deep breath. “That you thought that I didn’t want to get married or have children. Why in the world would you think that?”

  Martier covered her face. She was beyond angry at Dhakiya. She had no right! She would deal with her later. She looked at Tim. Well this had to be done so better now than never.

  “I overheard you talking to Aaron right after Claudette quit. You told him that you had already been married and didn’t feel the need to do it again. You also said that you were too old for children.” She crossed her arms in front of herself.

  “I did say that…” he spoke slowly. “But it didn’t mean that I was against the idea. And if we had a baby I would love him or her totally. Martier I know that our lives are linked. You told me that you said my name into the universe. I know what that means. Remember I said the same thing? I love you—Martier will you look at me?”

  She looked at him, gnawing on her lower lip and wringing her fingers.

  “I love you beyond all others. I love you with pride. I love you before God. I do set you as a seal upon my heart. Martier, do you hear what I’m saying? I want to be married to you.”

  She closed her eyes. “Do you want that because it’s what you think I want?”

  His lip twisted mirthlessly. “Do I appear to be the type of person that does anything I don’t want to do?”

  She looked at him with awe. “No…”

  “So will you marry me?”

  She rubbed her elbows and then closed her eyes. “I think that I would like that very much. But…before I can say yes I have to find something that I’ve lost.”

  Tim frowned and shook his head. “Martier, what are you talking about?”

  “I threw something away that turned out to be very important. I threw away my faith. And now that its coming back I need to make sure that I allow my faith to guide me first.”

  “Your faith?” He was perplexed at the meaning of that.

  “What I’m saying…is that I might have the calling.”

  He was rendered totally speechless.

  “So you see, I can’t go to Hawaii with you. I’m sorry Tim. But I need to decide if I want to become a nun.”

  Chapter 41

  “Mr. Singleton, you have Mrs. Conrad on line one.”

  “Put her through.” He muttered. An hour later he stepped out of his office. Linda looked up from her typing. “Did you want me to forward your calls to you cell phone, Mr. Singleton?”

  He looked up distractedly. “Yes, I’m going home. Feel free to take off early.”

  “Oh, well I need to stay to finish some filing.”

  “Fine.” He walked away.

  “Good night!” The young African girl called out.

  “’Night.” He muttered.

  He climbed into his car and dialed the familiar phone number.


  “Hi Tim.”

  “Hi. Have you heard from her?”

  “No. She won’t call me. She hates me.”

  “She will get over it. If she’s finding her faith—it’s not going to allow her to hold a grudge.”

  Dhakiya sighed. “I’m sorry that I was a shit to you.”

  “I’m sorry, too.” The two said their goodbyes and Tim drove home. He loosened his tie and then removed his jacket and tossed it on the back of a kitchen chair. He ignored the half filled boxes and went to the refrigerator for a beer. He drank nearly half of it as he stood there and then finally scanned the kitchen.

  It was almost completely packed up. It was hard to completely get rid of the boxes in the kitchen since he was still living here while the house was being prepped for sale. Though he did have to question why he needed an assortment of cookware when he didn’t cook these days. Yeah, Saturday he would move the boxes to storage.

  He went into his home office ignoring the sparse décor. He thought it would make him feel bad to see the house half empty but it didn’t. He just wanted to get it sold. He picked up the phone and dialed the phone number to St Bartholoma.

  “Hello, may I speak to Sis-”

  “Hello Mr. Singleton. I’ll put you through.” He leaned back in his chair. A few moments later he heard someone pick up the line.

  “Hello, Sister Louise here.”

  “Hello sister.”

  “Hello Mr. Singleton. You know I can’t tell you where she is.”

  “I know. I’m not going to ask you that. I just want to make sure she’s okay. Have you talked to her?”

  “I’ve talked to her two days ago and she was okay.”

  “Can you give her a message?”

  “No…that wouldn’t be wise,” There was silence. “And how is Linda?”

  “I said I would take care of her didn’t I?” he snapped. When did I become Holden Caulfield? And how exactly had he managed to be dealing with so many African women? Well the first time had been Corinne’s influence, but this last time it was because of Martier. Before she had left a week ago she had asked him for one thing. She wouldn’t take the car or the truck, she wouldn’t take money or anything from the house but she asked him to look out for Linda and to allow her to be his assistant.

  He had readily agreed. He would have agreed to anything then.

  “I know that you’re in distress, Mr. Singleton. May I offer you some advice?”

  He ran his fingers through his hair. After a moment his shoulders sank and he closed his eyes. “I’m sorry Sister. I didn’t mean to…of course. What is your advice?”

  “Martier is on sabbatical but you can certainly use this time to reflect, as well.”

  “On God, sister?” He asked dryly.

  “On yourself.”

  He resisted an urge to make a snarky response. “How do I do that? How…how do I reflect on myself?”

  “Martier told me that you were a good man. I know that you are. I wouldn’t…well I wouldn’t trust you with Lindewe if I didn’t believe that wholeheartedly. You might start by making a mental list. List all of your good qualities, Mr. Singleton—even if you try to avoid running over the squirrels in the road.” He smiled slightly. “And then make a list of your bad qualities. Be honest with yourself—no one will see the list but you. And then, Mr. Singleton, you fix those things.”


  “The answer is simple—it’s carrying it out that’s hard.”

  He thought about that. “Thank you, Sister.”

  “I’ll talk to you in a few days.”

  “Yes.” They disconnected and Tim sat back in his chair and contemplated Sister Louise’s words.


  There was a knock at the door and Martier checked the peephole and then quickly opened it. Father Matthias walked in. It was strange to call him Father when he was younger than her but he was still 23 and she was now 24. She tried not to think about her birthday spent alone and how Tim was doing.

  “Are you ready to go?”

  “I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.”

  He gestured to her bag. “Is that yours? I’ll grab it.”

  She scanned the small hotel room once more before closing the door after them. Then she followed Matthias to the van with the other religious workers. They greeted her happily. There were seven of them; two men and she made the fifth woman. She had joined them in mid-travel at the suggestion of Sister Louise. It was after she had read the file on her father.

  Martier settled into her seat and looked out the window, remembering her discussion with Sister Louise just last week. So much had happened in a week; she’d left Tim, a job that she loved, her beautiful home—had she made a mistake? Whenever the panic set in at her actions she would feel a gentle nudge in her soul. There were too many unanswered questions and she needed to find the answers. There was no mistake in that. She just hated that her journey was causing Tim pain.


  After telling Tim that she might want to be a nun he had just stared at her in stunned silence.

  “Martier, if you think that
this is the answer to absolve you of any…sins, then-”

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