Sandra had never felt so lucky in her whole life, first that nice old man had left her a twenty dollar tip, and now the ticket that she had bought at the convenience store on the way home had turned out to be a winner, and not just any winning ticket, but a thousand dollar ticket. She had never had this much money in her possession at one time in her life, nothing like this had ever happened to her, and she was going to make the most of it.
“Just wait till Daniel hears about this.” This statement said aloud as she bounded down the street got her more than a few awkward looks, but she did not notice one of them, her mind was on dresses, shoes and maybe even that bracelet that she had seen in the store around the corner a few days ago. Daniel was right where she had left him when she had headed out to work over four hours ago, sitting in the chair, glued to his video games. “Any luck today?” She had to nearly yell the words so that he would hear her, the room resounded with shouts and gunfire from the game he was playing, and the headphones he wore were not helping any.
Sandra stepped in front of the television set with a big smile on her face holding up the winning ticket with a smile a mile wide as Daniel tried to look around her so he could shoot at the character on the screen running towards him. “Move, move, move!” but it was too late, his player had died and now he would have to start the level over. “Great, thanks for that, what’s wrong with you?” She swung around in a circle like a ballerina and held the ticket up over her head, swinging it from side to side. “I’m a winner!” Daniel stood up, grabbed the ticket from her hand and looked at it carefully, it was a scratch ticket, so it did not take much time to figure out why his girlfriend of three months was so excited.
Sandra had started college about the same time that she had met Daniel, he said he was a drop out and worked at the car wash just a few blocks from where she went to school, and to her he was the handsomest man alive. They liked the same kind of music and had gone to a concert the same night that they had met, and from there it had blossomed into what Sandra thought of as a romantic adventure, her first real one. Daniel didn’t see it quite that way, but he was glad to go along for the ride as long as it lasted. “Saves on rent money” he had joked with his friends, “and she’s not half bad looking.” They both liked to drink, some nights maybe a little too much, and Daniel had become abusive the last couple of times after they had returned back to the small apartment, had actually hit her once. “Hey babe, you know when I get like that, I don’t mean it, I’m sorry, okay?”
“So, what are you planning on doing with all this money?” Daniel’s thoughts almost always revolved around money, he had quit his job at the car wash just two weeks after moving in with Sandra, and spent the majority of his days playing video games and hanging with out with his buddies that still worked part time, living mostly on Sandra’s school loan funds. She knew that not everything that Daniel did was exactly legal, but she knew that if she just loved him enough that he would turn around and change his ways. “Well, I was thinking about a new dress or two, and maybe a couple of other things I’ve been wanting, but I think I’ll probably just put it in the bank, school is really expensive , and I’ve got a long way to go, but maybe we could splurge and take in a movie and some popcorn with some of it.”
Daniel wasn’t even listening; he was on the phone talking with one of buddies about something that Sandra couldn’t quite make out. “I’m going to take a shower and then make some supper, anything special that you would like?” He had hung up the phone, had his jacket on and was out the door with nothing more than a “See you later, back pretty soon” before she even had a chance to respond. Ten minutes after her shower, wondering what she should do about supper, she noticed the ticket was gone, she knew she had given it to Daniel, but couldn’t find where he had sat it down at. It was another fifteen minutes before she figured out that she knew exactly where her thousand-dollar ticket was, it was with her boyfriend, and where he was then became the main question. She tried to call him on his cell phone, but she got nothing but a voice mail, and that was when she began to think that maybe there was something going on that she did not want to know about.
It was almost three o’clock in the morning when she heard the door open and heard Daniel not just walk into the room but actually fall into it. She got up and put her robe on, listening to him curse out loud about the end table, then turned on the light to see if he was okay and where he had been. Daniel was not just drunk, he was blind drunk, standing now, kicking at the door and the small table, yelling at both of these inanimate objects about something she could not quite understand. His anger would not stop, and Sandra became the object of it next, he hit her so hard that she actually saw stars before her head hit the floor almost as hard as Daniel had hit her. She saw the tip of his boot coming towards her face and tried to move, but that was when the lights went out along with what she found out later was three of her teeth.
She remembered the ambulance sirens but not the ride to the hospital, and the pain of the lights in the emergency room from the one eye that she could still see out of. She was a mess, Daniel had not stopped until the large man that lived down the hall had busted into the room and pinned him against the wall, finally hitting him so hard that he also lost some teeth. When the police had arrived right behind the ambulance, they had taken one look at Sandra and put the handcuffs on Daniel immediately, and not in a very polite way, one of his wrist was broken when they spun him around to put them on. The large man from down the hall, Harry, had said that that had probably happened when he had tried to pull the young man off the young lady, and the police had nodded in agreement with a knowing look.
This was not Daniels first encounter with the law, something he had neglected to tell his new girlfriend in the time that they had been together. “He’s going to be going away for a very long time Sandra, you’ll be an old lady before he gets out.” Harry had not only visited Sandra in the hospital several times as she was being cared for there but spent four or five nights a week at her apartment while she recuperated. He had even gone to the school to explain everything to them about what had happened and had gotten her excused from her first semester with no penalty. “It probably helped that I wore my uniform that day” he had said with his barrel roll laugh. Twenty-five years of service on the police force had taught the six-foot six man that there were bad people and there were good people, and this time these two types of people had just got mixed up together when they shouldn’t have.
Daniel had several warrants from as many states, and was known as a violent young man, but that had not stopped Harry from visiting him in prison also, though not as often as he did Sandra. Everyone should have a chance, and Harry knew a lot of good men in prison, some of them doing life without parole, men that God had called at the lowest points in their lives. “Sometimes God uses ways that we just don’t understand, and we don’t have to, that’s not our job, our job is to love our neighbors as ourselves.” Daniel really didn’t want to hear that, but he would have plenty of time to listen now, thirty-five to forty years to be exact.
“So, Sandra, where would you like to start tonight, with the Book of John or back into the Plasms?” The young girl with the fading black eye and the three shiny new teeth looked up at her new best friend and smiled the smile that only those who know Christ as Savior can smile, and said “Psalms, please.”