The Letter-Ray's View
Ray could not leave the house fast enough after lunch today. Sitting there with his beautiful wife and hearing her conversation with Ruth rang in his ears.
All Ray could think about was the letter. Had Livy seen the letter? What would she think if she had seen it?
There was a lot of mail today, maybe it had been buried andLivy didn't see it. Though Livy does thumb through mail to see if there are any letters from abbey.
Livy would have said something if she had seen it. Maybe placed it on top so Ray would know she saw it.
Ray thought, Livy will ask if she saw it, and if she hasn't seen it- no need for her to know.
Ray worked all afternoon in the barn. Changing the tractor tires, moving hay, cleaning out stalls.
The usual thoughts that cluttered Ray's head lately were replaced by the letter.
Why was Amy sending letters? Now especially..... Ray pondered.
The more Ray thought about the letter the more angry he became. After all this time, and after what she had done-how could she just write a letter and think that would clear things up or even change things.
Ray was not going to allow Amy to steal his happiness anymore. He already allowed to much time to be lost over her.
Ray and Amy had known each other most of their lives. They went to school together and church. When they reached the age of dating, Ray asked Amy to the fall dance at church. They soon became known to all as boyfriend and girlfriend.
Amy was the first girl Ray ever kissed and even wanted to kiss. Amy seemed to know a lot about things. This surprised Ray, but he enjoyed it none the less.
Being with Amy was all Ray thought about-even before the farm and school.
He would bring Amy back to the farm and they would fish, go on long walks, ride the tractor, or read books in the loft of the barn. It was in the loft that Ray saw a girl's breast for the first time.
Ray was reading aloud to Amy "Romeo and Juliet", his favorite love story. As he was reading, Amy began unbuttoning her blouse and moved closer to Ray. Ray continued to read, even though he saw out the corners of his eye, Amy's open blouse. Amy took the book out of Ray's hands and tossed it to the side. Ray let out a long breath slowly, as he was beginning to get aroused by just the thought of Amy's blouse being open.
Ray swallowed hard and cleared his throat, "What do you want to do now, Amy?" Ray closed his eyes and thought to himself, "You idiot-couldn't you think of something else to say."
Amy's reply to Ray was placing his hand on her breast. Ray had no idea what to do, but he knew what he wanted to do. But Ray waited for Amy. Amy began kissing Ray on the cheeks, the lips, the ear, and the neck. Ray became aroused so much that it was all he could do not to moan out loud. Amy really knows what she's doing thought Ray. They made out in the loft for a while, Ray broke free from the trance and told Amy that he needed to get her back home.
Ray never once moved his hand from the breast that Amy placed his hand on, Ray never looked at Amy's breast-he was too scared.
Everytime they were together after the loft romp, it ended like the loft romp. Ray began to get comfortable with there making out and enjoyed it immensely. He thought about Amy a lot, especially at night when he was in bed. He thought about Amy being in the bed with him and touching her breasts, kissing her and her touching him. When he thought about this, it brought an arousal on so strong that Ray would have to go to the bathroom to relieve himself.
Ray loved Amy and had plans to ask her to marry him when the graduated. They would graduate next spring. Ray had already talked with his dad about building a house out near the south field away from the road. His father had agreed. They kept it between themselves, because Ray wanted to surprise Amy with the house and ask her to marry him on the porch that he built for them. Ray told his dad that Amy likes the hill out by the south field and that would be a great place to build their home especially since it could be hidden from passerbyers and anyone just out on the farm.
Ray began building the house. It wasn't a large house like the one that his grandfather built, but it could be added on to. Ray worked on the house every chance he got, at times was a lot, and others it would be weeks before he could get back to it. Ray wanted at least the porch done by December-so he could propose to her for Christmas, Ray's favorite time of year.
When Ray and Amy were together now, things did not escalate as before because Ray would not let it. He tried not to get too close to Amy, but most of the time she did, and she would entice Ray. Ray gave in most of the time-what teenage boy wouldn't?
One night when Ray was taking Amy home, things happened that left Ray wondering what to do next, what did he want to happen next?
Ray and Amy had been to the picture show that night. Ray was driving Amy to her house, and Amy was sitting close to Ray as she always did. Ray had his hand where he usually placed it when he wasn't shifting the gears, on Amy's thigh. Amy reached over and placed her hand on Ray's crotch. Ray immediately looked at Amy with surprise. She asked if that was okay. Ray cleared his throat but only shook his head. Amy immediately got an arousal from Ray. Ray was pleasantly surprised by Amy. Amy surprised Ray. How did she know things?
Ray gripped the stirring wheel with two hands. The pleasure he was getting was so intensifying that Ray was afraid that he would not be able to keep the truck on the road. When Ray found a road to pull on, he did.
Amy unzipped and unbutton Ray's pants. Amy had found the opening to Ray's shorts and pulled out the hard vessel. Amy played with Ray's vessel. Amy kissed Ray, and to his surprise slipped her tongue in his mouth. This intensified the arousal and the tongue in his mouth brought a moan from Ray, which encouraged Amy even more. She unbutton her blouse and exposed her breasts as she had before. Ray began playing out the fantasies he had in the bunkroom many nights before. Ray took Amy's breast in his hands and kissed them. Something came over Ray and Ray began sucking Amy's breast. This brought a long moan from Amy. Amy relieved Ray, it was an ecstasy that Ray had never experienced. Ray was a bit embarrassed by it, but Amy was not. She seemed aroused by the whole encounter. Ray zipped his pants up and pulled Amy very close to him and kissed her with a passion he did not know he had or even existed in him. Ray drove Amy home and walked her to the door. There he kissed her gently and with all his love. Ray told Amy that he loved her. Amy smiled, " I love you to."
Ray drove home in the bliss of the night. But by the time he made it home,a guilt had overcome Ray that left him sick.
Ray loved being with Amy, and he loved everything they had done, but it wasn't right and Ray knew it. If they continued doing these things, Ray was afraid he would not be able to stop. Ray wanted to keep Amy innocent and true to herself.
In the bed that night, Ray tossed and turned. Not because of the fantasies that usually plagued his thoughts after his dates with Amy. Ray felt guilt. By morning Ray decided to talk to Amy and try to cool it a while. Ray had to make Amy understand that he would not be able to stop if they continued to put themselves into that situation.
That morning, before Sunday School, Ray talked to Amy and he expressed to her that he'd like to see her that afternoon.
"Maybe we can go for a ride or a walk." Ray told Amy.
Amy, with a sheepish smile, "you are beginning to to want it all the time- what will I ever do with you?"
The lump in Ray's throat became tighter. He knew that he needed to talk to Amy. She'd understand, she always understood Ray. Better than anyone.
Before church service started, Ray asked Mr. and Mrs. Cooper if he could come by and spend some time with Amy. Mrs. Cooper, who thought Ray was a nice young mand and the perfect catch for her youngest daughter, suggested that Ray come for lunch. Ray would see if his parents wouldn't mind.
Ray and Amy sat together in church. Everyone knew they'd end up married. It seemed that they were the perfect couple.
By the end of the service, Ray had a big lump in his throat. Ray didn't hear any of Rev. Case's sermon. Ray was too distracted about his his own sins. Ray felt he was to blame for all that had taken place between hand Amy. Maybe he made her feel she had to do these things. Ray played memory over memory in his head trying to find the beginning point of all this...He could not.
Ray took his parents and Danny home and headed over to the Cooper Farm. On the way Ray prayed, as he has been taught to do,
Lord, please help me find the courage. Do not let me talk from the flesh, but from the Word. Please let Amy forgive me for what I've allowed to happen in our relationship. Lord, I want to do the right thing, not the wrong thing.
Ray thought about how much ge loved Amy. Soon he'd ask her to marry him on the front porch of the house he was building for them. Next year this time they will be married and possibly have a baby on the way. Ray so wanted this.
Ray sat down at the Cooper dinner table with all the Coopers. Amy had a large family. Two older sisters that were married and had children and expecting more. She had an older brother who saved in WWI. He was stationed in Texas now with his wife and children. Amy also had a younger brother, Mark, that was one of those surprises like Daniel was to his family. Funny thing is Mark and Daniel were the same age. Must've been something about thae crops that year.
After lunch Amy had to clear the dishes and wash them. Ray helped. That's one reason why Mrs. Cooper thought so much of Ray. He always did small things for Amy, thoughtful.
Ray and Amy were soon off for a Sunday afternoon walk. The season was changing so the cool, crisp air made the love sick couple walk closely, hand in hand and eventually arm in arm. When they came to the pond, Ray began his seious conversation. He had to push through the lump in his throat. He said a small prayer before he began.
"Amy, I want to ask for you forgiveness." Amy bewildered, let Raay continue. "I feel I have taken advantage of you and those are not my intentions. I love you so much- I desire to be with you. But I don't want to make you be something you're not or make you do something you regret."
Amy interupted, "Ray, I love you. I want to show you." As she placed her hands on Ray's tender face.
" I know, Amy." And the lump got bigger. "But it's wrong."
Amy's hands dropped, "How can it be wrong? We love each other. You plan to marry me, don't you?"
Without hesitation, Ray said "I do." Ray's heart pounded not because of the wave of passion he had experienced with Amy but because he felt he was letting Amy down.
All Ray could manage to say before he looked away was, " It is wrong, Amy, we're not husband and wife yet. " Ray managed to find Amy's eyes again, and he continued, "I want our first time to be our wedding night after we said our vows in the church, and have a big party with friends and family. We can dance all night. I want to take you back to our house and dance with you and take you to our bedroom and there share with you the love that I have in my heart for you. With no regrets."
Amy began to cry.
Ray, with tears in his eyes hugged Amy as she buried her face into his chest. Ray pleaded with Amy not to cry.
"Amy, don't cry. You know I can't stand to see you cry. I'll do anything to make you happy."
Amy, not moving her face from his chest said, "I'm afraid you don't want me, that you think I'm a loose girl."
Ray took Amy's face into his hands, "Baby, it's me. I'm the one that allowed this. It's a great feeling to be with you, touch you and enjoy you but I just want us to have no regrets our wedding night. Amy, you have nothing to be embarrassed about. I'm the one who should be embarrassed."
They began walking back to the Amy's house. Ray could feel the difference, they were forever changed. Ray hoped it would turn out for the better. Ray tried to hold Amy's hand, but for the first time Amy did not allow him. Ray knew his words hurt Amy. He didn't know what else to say. He had to do the gentleman thing. If he had been the gentleman to start with, none of this would have happened he thought.
When they made it back to the porch, Amy never turned around to look at Ray, she just simply said,
"Don't bother coming around anymore, I won't be here for you."
Ray stunned and forcing the lump back managed to say,
"Amy, I don't want to loose you. I just want to do the right thing. I love you so much, Amy. Please don't do this. Please don't say this."
Amy's response was as cold as the north wind blowing on a winter day, "I don't love you, Ray. I never have . You were easy to get thrills from. I thought I'd be with you until someone better came along. Seems that time has come."
Those words were forever recorded in the mind and heart of Ray Singleton, many years later he could still hear the coldness in her voice as he was prisoner to the heartbreak that Amy left him.
Ray went by Amy's many times in hopes that she would realize that Ray wanted all this so they would have a marriage that was pure and admirable before God. That was his responsiblity as the man.
Ray continued to build their home, but as each day, each week passed, Ray lost hope little by little that he would ever live there with Amy. Ray was experiencing a broken heart.
One Saturday in Wilson, Ray was forced to accept that Amy had been lost to him. Ray saw Amy with another boy. They came out of the soda shop, arm and arm. The lump that had made it's home in Ray's throat several months ago tightened. Tears welled in Ray's eyes. Amy slid over to the middle of the car seat next to the boy. The way she had done with Ray so many times before. Ray could feel Amy next to him now, and he longed to have her there now. Ray drove aimlessly home. Not sure what he was to do.
Ray ended up at the site of their house. He knew what he had to do. He fummbled through the beetbox to find a book of matches. Ray could no longer fight the urgency to cry. Ray's long fingers shook as they held the lit match. Ray threw the match at his life dream. The house he had built for he and Amy.
Ray stood there and watched it burn to the ground. He cried to the bitter end. The dream he had was now smoke in the air.
Ray left the the ashes a broken man. It would be years before he would ever feel that love again. It wouldn't be until Rev. Case came to visit one hot summer night.
For the years between Ray's loves, there was heart break and lonliness. Ray wanted to love someone and have them love him back. Ray just never had the courage to try again. The thought of rejection over came him and kept him a prisoner of lonliness.
The night that Ray got the letter, Ray didn't sleep at all. Everyday was hard for Ray. He wanted to share his hurt with Livy, but Ray felt there was no need to dig up old memories. Besides, Ray felt nothing for Amy and Livy may think that there is something if he confided that he once loved her.
For several weeks the broken heart, and lonliness overcame Ray. Amy's letter reminded him that he wasn't enough for a girl; that she deserved more, needed more than he had. Ray didn't mean to shut Livy out, he desperatley didn't want to do it, but the insecurities and loniliness that Ray had before Livy, now trapped him in his own happiness.
But that changed the night that Livy came into their bedroom with the nightgown on that Abbey had sent. Livy showed Ray that night that she was his wife and she desired him, missed him and wanted him. Ray loved Livy. That was all that mattered now.
After they made love, and all was quiet, Ray laid with his eyes closed thinking how Livy had saved him from his pain and lonliness. Ray thanked God then as he always did for the love of his wife and the love she had for him.
There were no more letters from the past for either Ray or Livy.