Carole Abbot to the Rescue
Next day was a holiday too and Bernard accompanied his sister Glennis to her usual vantage position in the shade where she could watch all the events taking place on the beach. He knew it must be hard for his sister watching from a distance as all the activities she loved to participate in took place without her. For a while after the accident many friends had called and spent time with her but now, they rarely visited, and he knew that hurt her too. She had a book to read, and he’d check on her frequently to see she didn’t feel lonely.
Rachel Jones watched this interplay between brother and sister from a distance trying to make up her mind about the trustworthiness of these two. She reflected on her family situation. She never visited her parents even though they were close by as she was disgusted by their lifestyle and angry with a society in which she was relegated to an underclass with no prospect of a better life and had to resort to theft for survival which she hated. She wished she’d never been born. She had to be a thief to survive and suffer the indignity of being driven from any shops she’d robbed from in the past and she was taken frequently to the nearest police station where she had a lengthy record as a juvenile offender.
There’d been one attempt to transport her to a juvenile detention center, but she’d escaped and returned to this beach where she knew from experience it was possible to survive. Toilet and shower blocks gave her free access to maintain cleanliness, and she had her own private place to sleep scooped out between breadfruit tree roots in front of an embankment which she’d diligently arranged out of sight with plastic sheeting to keep her off the sand.
She even had a beach chair she’d sampled from the beach while its owners were off on a beach walk. It was carefully folded and hidden when not in use among the roots of the trees with sand dune embankment blocking sight from the back. Also hidden in that secure place out of sight was a pup tent sampled from the caravan park and obviously used by someone’s child before she claimed it for protection against rain. She needed that during the monsoons.
Dumpsters behind the supermarket provided her with sufficient discarded fruit, vegetables, and bread in partly usable condition for her survival. But she wished she had money to buy the kind of food Bernard had provided for her the previous day. She decided to meet this intriguing couple and moved toward the wheelchair from the back. She moved to the front and stood in front of Glennis.
“I don’t know your name.”
Glennis looked up from her book startled. “Oh, hi Shell I didn’t think you’d come this morning and I’m sorry you don’t know my name as I thought I told you yesterday. I love your new clothes where did you get them? I’m Glennis. Can you push me over to that bench so you can sit while we talk?”
“No need, I’ll just sit here in the sand in front of you. Do you think your brother would buy me food again today? What’s his name anyway? I picked this outfit up off the beach this morning while someone was swimming and I’m glad you like it.”
Glennis laughed. “Of course, he will, and his name is Bernard. He was very pleased when I told him you said he was nice yesterday. Where do you usually get your food from.”
“I get it from the dumpsters behind the supermarket. I just cut the bad stuff off and throw it in the bin then eat the rest. It’s OK but I like the stuff you buy in the shops but don’t have any money.”
The reality of how this poor girl had to live and survive was too much for tender hearted Glennis. Tears rolled down her cheeks as she processed this information.
Shell jumped to her feet in alarm. “Did something hurt you?”
Glennis beckoned to the girl to come to her, and she complied looking about concerned wondering what may have hurt Glennis. Glennis reached forward and embraced the surprised girl.
“I’m sorry your life sucks Shell.”
Rachel slowly untangled from Glennis’ embrace trying to comprehend what was happening. Men had tried that with her, and she’d quickly given vicious retaliation, but this embrace was different. She felt sympathy rather than exploitation in that hug. She stood back to survey Glennis in confusion.
“Did I say something wrong to hurt you. Do you want me to go?”
“No Shell, I was just feeling how sad it is you must live this way when I live in a home where my parents and brother treat me so well and I have a nice place to sleep and food to eat that isn’t rotten. Even though my body had been ravaged by an accident putting me in a wheelchair I have nothing to complain about and I really admire you for being brave enough not to give up despite what life has done to you. I’d like you to be my friend Shell so please don’t go.”
Bernard suddenly burst in on the scene dripping wet from his time on the surfboard.
“Hi! Glennis how are you doing. Do you want food or drink? Hi Shell, would you like something too?”
Glennis laughed. “Yes, we do need a snack, Bernard. Why don’t you take Shell with you to help bring it back as you were really struggling yesterday. She can choose her own snack and you know what I like.”
Bernard nodded and turned to Shell. “Let’s go then.”
They stood in line silently for a while then Bernard turned to Rachel. “Can you read the menu up there behind the counter Shell?”
“I can read slowly as I went to school before running away from home with my brother. I want number 3.”
A teenager approached and grabbed Shell by the arm. “I’ve seen you checking out everyone’s things at the beach and that looks like my outfit missing when I got out of the surf. Where did you get it?”
“My brother bought it for me so let go.” She grabbed Bernard’s arm protectively and he turned to see what was happening.
The teenager looked at Barnard in surprise.
“I’ve seen you surfing at the beach and you’re good on the board. Maybe you could teach me she said giving him a wink. I’d be happy to sacrifice my outfit for that. I think I’d need a lot of coaching though. I’ll be back at the beach this afternoon, so I expect you’d want to meet me if I promise to keep quiet about this.” She pointed to the clothes Rachel was wearing.
Bernard nodded his head to diffuse the situation and the teenager retreated to her group pointing to Bernard and they went off giggling.
They ordered food and returned to Glennis. Bernard helped his sister onto the bench as they usually did to eat and watch, and Shell went to sit in front of them on the sand. Bernard put up his hand and motioned for her to sit on the bench with them. He turned to face the girl who was now sampling her food slowly enjoying it.
“Shell you’ve put me in a difficult position. I don’t like that girl who challenged you and you probably did steal her outfit didn’t you? Now I’ll have to help her learn surfing to save you from embarrassment.”
Rachel laughed bitterly. “My whole life is an embarrassment, but I’ve learned to live with it. Thanks for saving me from another trip to the police station.” She returned to sampling her food.
Glennis squeezed her brother’s arm in appreciation. “Thanks Bernard.”
She turned to Rachel. “If I give you some of my old clothes probably fitting you, will you stop stealing?”
Shell looked at her thoughtfully before responding. “I only borrow clothes for the day. What I was wearing yesterday is back on the beach where I found them. I like to have a morning shower and wear clean clothes for the day and return what I’d taken the day before. I don’t enjoy stealing but I must get through each day somehow. How do I get clean clothes otherwise. I like to be clean.”
Bernard laughed. “If it’s not yours then you’re stealing Shell. I have college tomorrow but like to come to the beach late afternoons and bring Glenny with me during weekdays. We’ll find a way to see you don’t have to steal so promise me you won’t get into any trouble and look for us tomorrow afternoon after 4pm. I’d like it you’d spend time with my sister when she’s at the beach, so she won’t be lonely while I’m surfing. I’ll help you if you look after my sister’s needs. Do we have a deal? And if you’re interested. I could teach you to surf too but Glennis will have to find you a swimsuit along with her old clothes. Now I must go meet that obnoxious girl because of you so she doesn’t report you wearing her clothes.” He laughed.
Malcolm and Carole Abbot listened attentively as their children reported on the events of the day. Malcolm was a specialist doctor and Carole a qualified theatre nurse who worked part time and was one of the major organizers of charities around this seaside city. She had a firsthand knowledge of the plight of the unemployed and homeless from her association with local soup kitchens supplying one meal a day for these people, and she lobbied local government on their behalf. But she hadn’t previously had experience with homeless beach culture their children had discovered through their contact with Rachel Jones. At the end of their meal Carole spoke.
“I’m intrigued with what you’ve told me about this girl Glennis. A beach girl who wants to be clean so borrows someone else’s clothes for the day but says she hates stealing and one who hates drugs which seem to be the comforter of homeless people. I’d like to meet her Glenny can you bring her home for a visit?”
“Oh Mom, you know I can’t drive now. You’ll have to ask Bernard.”
Carole turned to her son. “What about it, son?”
“Mom, that means I have to give up on my afternoon sports before hitting the books for homework assignments.”
“One afternoon won’t hurt to do a good deed son.”
“OK tomorrow afternoon but you have your appointments in the afternoon and Glenny will have to convince her because she’s suspicious of adults and will probably take a run if we suggest it.”
“I’m cancelling those appointments, someone else will have to fill in for me as I feel an urge to see if this girl can be rehabilitated.”
She turned to Malcolm. “Could you check with the police to see just what they have recorded on this girl before we get further involved?”
“I play a round of golf with the police chief occasionally he’s one of my patients too so will give him a call now and see if he can get information on her records. You said her name is Rachel Jones.”
He headed for his office with cell phone in hand and was gone for an hour. When he returned his children were upstairs in their rooms working on school assignments and Carole was on the phone cancelling her appointments and looking for a substitute to take her place. Malcolm waited patiently until she was finished.
“It all about petty thefts love, no drugs or prostitution. Seems like a harmless kid who was thrust into this life because of bad parents who do have an extensive criminal record. Unfortunately. her brother is in jail for drink driving resulting in a tragic accident. The police are sympathetic to the kid. Wait a minute! Jones! Alex Jones! Wasn’t that the name of the kid who destroyed Glenny’s life. I must double check that and if so, we are not going to touch this girl if her brother is the one who destroyed our daughter.”
To be continued
© Copyright 2023 Ian Grice, “ianscyberspace.” All rights reserved
7 thoughts on “Forgiveness Rewards Chapter 2”
I didn’t see that end coming, Ian. I look forward to finding out how this unfolds.
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Yes I got sneaky on that chapter didn’t I. 🙂
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Good job! 😀
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I look forward to reading the rest.
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Thank you for continuing to follow the story
Oooh! The story is really opening up! I’m definitely hooked! The sensitivity of this topic is well handled in the story. It’s a compelling read Ian.
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Thank you so much. I had fun putting this story together hoping to illustrate how anger and holding grudges does more harm to the person holding that grudge than it does to the other party who often goes on with their life without a care. We learn that by experience.