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"You're asking some pretty hard questions," said Abby. "I'm eighteen, and I'm trying to find my own place in this world. I don't know how you should spend the rest of your life, but, I'm pretty sure of this: you shouldn't spend it trying to pay me back. You keep insisting that you owe me something, and I keep trying to tell you that you owe me nothing. It's called, friendship."

"Abby! Jake!" called Terry from the kitchen. "Dinnertime!"

"Coming!" she called back.

This evening was a time of learning for Jake. He had spent fifteen of his twenty four years, at the hands of abusers. That's nearly two thirds of his entire life. The past wasn't something that would mysteriously vanish as though it had never happened, but things were changing for the better. He was truly beginning to understand the concept of friendship, for the first time in his life. Jake knew Abby cared what happened to him, and that she wanted to help him, but the why of it had always escaped him. For example, he had thought Warden Doyle had helped him, because that was somehow his job. Friendship based on the love of God, has the power to touch someone's life, with no expectation of returned favor. Now Jake understood.

"When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not... thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee."
~ Luke 14:12-14 ~

As Terry took off the apron, Abby and Jake sat down at the table.

"I hope you two are hungry," said Terry, "because I forgot John and Izzy weren't going to be here, so there's more than plenty to go around!"

After saying grace, the food was passed around the table. When the garlic bread came to Jake, a sad look crossed his face.

"What is it?" asked Abby, a little concerned that Jake might have another flashback episode.

"The smell of garlic made me remember something that I hadn't thought of in years," he replied, slowly.

Terry leaned forward in his chair, for this was the first time Jake had ever spoken about his past life in front of him.

"After my first year in prison," remembered Jake, "I was able to get a job in the kitchen, cleaning dishes and mopping the floor. Sometimes, I would help the cook prepare the meals. In return for this extra duty, he would give me something that I couldn't get anywhere else in the penitentiary."

"What was that?" asked Terry.

"In return for my added labor, the cook would give me all the garlic I could eat," said Jake.

"Garlic!" exclaimed Abby, in surprise.

"He would give me access to the sack of garlic, and let me eat all I could in the space of five minutes," he continued.

"You mean, you ate it raw?" said Terry.

"I didn't have any choice," replied Jake. "There wasn't time to cook it."

"But," asked Abby, "why ever would you want to eat raw garlic?"

Jake stared silently at his plate.

"I think I know," guessed Terry. "It kept the abusers away."

The young man looked up at him.

"How did you know?" he asked, in astonishment.

"I'm a survivor of abuse, too," explained Terry. "I was raped and beaten by my stepfather when I was a boy. Even though I never experienced prison rape, or the torture you must have endured, I do have an idea of what you're going through."

"But," said Jake, trying to reconcile this knowledge with his perception of Terry, "you're normal."

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