Examination of Philip Hartmann continued

Why didn't you give in? Couldn't you see her need?

Phil sighed a long sigh and thought of a way to put it into words. "I knew she THOUGHT she wanted me to have sex with her. I am not blind or stupid and I have been around women long enough to understand when I am being solicited. But it was the wrong time for that. All that night would have meant to her was a way around her immediate problem for awhile. I know what I said before but she needed to deal with the lump first both physically and emotionally before she could deal with me physically and emotionally. Does that make sense?"

Perfect sense, Philip.

"The couch in the living room opened up to a bed so I told her I would sleep there. We held hands and talked and talked that night. I told her that we would both go to her doctor tomorrow and have this thing checked out. It might be nothing after all, even though I doubted that possibility. She agreed. I told her that she needed her sleep and that I would be right here if she needed me. I watched her disappear into the bedroom and shut the door. I took my pants off and climbed into the bed. I only allowed my tears to show then. I cried for the whole unfairness of it all. I was mad at the universe for letting this happen to her. That was the last thing I remember before falling asleep. Suddenly a few hours later I heard a loud wail coming from her bedroom. I ran in there and found her on the floor, curled up in a ball and hollering like a wounded animal. She was still asleep, she was having a nightmare. I picked her up, she felt so light, and sat her on my lap like a child. I rocked her back and forth until she calmed down. She looked up at me…I'll never forget that look… and she said 'Phil please don't let me die'. I cried again then and hugged her close. I told her that she would not die if I had anything to say about it. I put her back under the covers and held her hand. I stroked her forehead until she fell back to sleep. I decided to climb into bed with her so that I could be there in case she needed me again. I pressed myself against her back and held her around the waist. Her hair smelled so sweet, I remember that so well. I buried my face in it. I had no sexual urge then. No desire to do anything more than just hold her. It was enough."

He paused for a moment to collect himself and then continued.

"She tossed and turned all night. Many times she would whimper or groan and I would hold her steady. I would say things in her ear to calm her. At one point I remember saying 'ssshhh… don't cry, sweetheart. I am here and I love you' and I meant it, too. I had always loved her."

He bowed his head, placing his hands on the chair in front of him and resting his forehead against his arms.

(He is exhausted. Let us continue this another day.)

Philip, you may leave now and get some well-deserved rest. You have a lot to think about. We will see you here tomorrow.

When he lifted his head he found himself seated at an outdoor café, a steaming hot cup of coffee in front of him, made to order. He picked it up and toasted the air. "To your health Jan, my love."

Part 6