"Where am I?" asked Pearl.
"You're in our church," replied the woman. "I'm Samantha."
Looking out the window, across the street Pearl could see a nightclub and an alley - where she had been earlier.
"Would you like to stay for dinner?" asked Samantha.
"Dinner?" Pearl thought. "It's too early."
"You slept for a few hours," said Samantha, in response to Pearl's puzzled look. "The doctor said your bleeding had stopped and you just needed to rest."
Pearl recalled vaguely seeing a doctor examine her. She had thought it was a dream. She looked down at her dress. The red patch of blood was gone: it was not the same dress she had on.
"Oh, I changed it for you," explained Samantha. "I've washed it. I hope you don't mind. It's drying now."
"Thank you," replied Pearl gratefully. Going home in a bloody dress was not something she wanted to do.
Dinner was not a big feast, but it was one of the best Pearl had. It was not because of the food. It was the people. Another woman had joined them for dinner. Like big sisters that Pearl didn't have, they listened to her as she told them about the ordeal. At first Pearl was not saying much. But their kindness and obvious concern for her welfare were disarming. Bit by bit she told them. They mainly just listened, nodding and feeling her pain. It felt like talking to two closest friends.
After dinner, Pearl changed back into her own dress and the two women walked with her to the bus station.
Pearl sat by the window on the bus and as it passed by the church, she noticed the sign outside. It said something about love. Her thoughts went to Edward. "What is love?" thought Pearl.
下期续 to be continued.
- updated every Friday afternoon -