Texas, Indiana: July 4, 1948
Jake McCoy grasped the steering wheel of his 1939 Chevrolet Coupe with his left hand, while controlling the foot clutch with his left foot, and his right hand shifting the gears. After shifting into third gear, he reached around Janice’s shoulder, pulling her tight against his side. Janice laid her head against his shoulder, closing her eyes, and smiling as Jake’s strong muscular arm pulled her even closer than she dreamed was possible.
“Jake, isn’t life wonderful? It’s you and me and our whole life is ahead of us.”
“It sure is, Jan. I’ve got a good job at NIPSCO (Northern Indiana Public Service Company), and you and I will soon be happily married—just you and me.”
Janice laughed, opened her eyes like a satisfied kitten and meowed: “Our soon to be delivered baby makes three.”
Jake continued to hold Jan tight, the muscles in his arm rippling as his hand massaged her side, and then he pulled Jan even snugger than before. “I hope it’s a boy, He can grow up to help your dad on the farm.”
Janice laughed, pushed herself away and faced him from her side of the car. “We’ll, Mr. Macho, I hope it’s a girl to help my mother with all of the chores we women have to do to keep you men happy.”
Jake replied, “Well, if it’s ‘Little Miss Muffet’, she can sit on her daddy’s lap.”
Janice massaged Jake’s right leg with her left hand and felt him responding to her touch.
“Jan, honey, I’m driving,” and as they traveled down the highway, he swerved on the road, regaining control of the car. When they arrived in Texas, Indiana, he parked the car near her upstairs apartment, turned off the key in the car and reached for her. I’m sure glad you live in back of the National Trust Bank where you work. “As I told you earlier, I need to go home and get some rest. We’re pouring concrete tomorrow at the electric utility station in Angola. It’s going to be a long day and I have to drive to the station and be on time.”
“You’re a strong man, Jake, Are you sure you can’t stay?”
“I’m going to use a sledge and an air hammer early and mix and pour concrete after that. I’ll be tired and lucky to stay awake on the drive home.”
“Okay, Jake,” replied Janice, so she ran her hand up and down his torso, noting his immediate response and how she could excite him so easily. “When you get home tomorrow, you call me, tell me how much you miss me, and we’ll have dinner at my apartment. I’ve got dessert all picked out.”
Jake walked up the outside stairway to Janice apartment, kissed her goodnight, and asked her to lock the door once she was inside. Then, he walked down the stairs, approached his car, opened the driver’s door and leaped happily onto the driver seat. After starting the engine, pulling out of the parking space, and driving around the corner of downtown, he headed home.
A man with a straggly beard, a brown uniform, and holding a bottle in his hand slowly walked across the street toward the apartment where Janice lived. Quietly he climbed the stairs leading to her apartment door and knocked.
She thought, He changed his mind, and she rushed to the door, opening it and gasped out loud—“Oh!” She stopped, and pushed back at the door, screaming. She stomped on the foot that the scraggly man placed in the space between the door and the door frame, but he kept his foot rigid in the space, preventing her from closing the door.
The scraggly bearded man; leering at her, holding his bottle of bourbon, pushing on the door until he could step inside, smiled and whispered, “It’s party time!”
Later, he slapped her several times and said, “You don’t tell and I don’t tell. If you do, I’ll be back.”
After the man left, Janice called her mother. “Mom, I’m hurt and I need to go to the hospital.”
“I’ll be right there. Did you call Jake?”
“No, Mom. I don’t want Jake to know.”
Janice mother and father took her to the hospital. The nurse on duty called Janice’s doctor and the police. When Janice started bleeding and cramping, she was taken to the surgery suite. The doctor attempted to stop the bleeding, gave her an IV injection to stop her cramping, but she lost the pregnancy anyway.
Janice told her mother to call Jake. He came to the hospital and cried when he found out that the baby was lost. He tried to hold Jan’s hand, but she pushed him away. “Jake,” she pleaded, “I don’t want you to touch me right now.”
Jake’s face turned red, his mouth tightening and he doubled up his hands into fists striking his right fist against the wall, then pushing both hands against the same wall, tears dribbling down his face. “I’ll never forgive myself. I should have stayed with you.”
I was already in my apartment and the door was locked, Jake. You couldn’t have done anything. I thought that you had returned and opened the door.”
Jan’s bleeding returned and she was taken back to surgery, where a hysterectomy was necessary to save her life. Her mother and father, Jane and John Miller, took turns with Jake sitting with their daughter at the hospital. After a few days in the hospital, Janice went home to the farm with her parents to recover before returning to work.
Six weeks after surgery, Janice was ready to return to work. The post traumatic depression increased, the anger intensified, so she tried spending as much time with her parents as she could. Her girlfriends were supportive and they spent a lot of time talking or going shopping. Jake was there every day, but she continued to push him away, keeping him at a distance and just plain avoiding him.
After a long day at the bank, she walked home to her apartment, cried for what seemed like hours, and then took the bottle of sleeping pills from her purse, taking one pill at a time until she had swallowed all of them. Continuing to cry she slowly retreated into a permanent sleep, escaping from the pain and uncompromising guilt of losing her baby, not being allowed to have another one with Jake.
After the funeral, Jake was short tempered, angry and depressed. He talked to the priest at his church, but it did not seem to help. Why wasn’t I there? Finally he took a leave of absence from work, packed a bag of clothes and drove his car out of town.
After Jake left the city, he spent his time traveling from town to town near the railroad looking for any sign of the scraggly bearded man, praying to God to help, but progressively becoming more down in the dumps, resentful of the Christian faith that he grew up believing in. If there is a God, this would not have happened; Jan and I would be married, have a daughter, and be practicing the faith that we were taught and wasted so much time believing in. How could a benevolent God do this to anyone? I no longer believe in the God of the Christian faith. I need to leave Texas, Indiana. The next day, he joined the United States Navy. Before leaving his home town, he spent his last few hours at Jan’s and the baby girls’ grave. He cried for a while, slept a little longer, and then he stood up. After arranging the flowers that he brought, he slowly walked away—tight lipped and tears flowing down his face.
(Did you find the first chapter stimulating or interesting? Was there good and evil(the devil)? Did the gift of free will show up as involving good versus evil? Do you think the gift of free will for humanity accounts for why we have good in this world and yet bad also? Would you blame God or the greater entity or accept that good and evil can effect each other?)