The elegant polished entry door swung open, and they stepped into the lavish front hallway. Elena removed her coat and hung it in the cloakroom, and Charles simply draped his jacket over a hook inside. The lawyer’s appointment had taken longer than they expected, and both of them were drained.
The house seemed unusually quiet and dark, but perhaps Marcy had gone out with friends. Elena hoped so, as she had been so morose and distant lately. Elena quickly pushed away the guilt that always nagged at her when she thought of their sixteen-year-old daughter. How much did she sense of the strain between her parents?
Suddenly the lights came on, and faces appeared as a large group of friends and family shouted “Surprise!” and “Happy Birthday!”
Charles was taken aback, she could tell, and, seeing his mother in the front of the well-wishers, Elena knew she’d been responsible for the party. He had told her and Marcy not to make a big deal of his fortieth birthday, even seemed a bit depressed by it. Oh well, they must make the best of it now, keeping up appearances as they always did.
The party now became livelier, as big trays filled with appetizers were passed, and Elena could see the dining table set for a buffet meal. There were glasses of punch and soft drinks circulating on trays carried by smiling friends and relatives. Elena recognized some of them from their church. She guessed Rosa, Charles’ mother, had tried to include people she thought were closest to them. How little she really knows about us, Elena thought, and then was relieved at the thought.
Charles was now recovering from the unexpectedness of it all, and was working the room with his best manners, smiling and visiting with one, then another of those who had come to celebrate his birthday. After all, it was the least he could do. No need to give anyone cause to suspect that anything was out of the ordinary. He’d go on being the in-control kind of guy people expected.
Seated near a corner of the vast living room was Marcy. Her parents hadn’t even realized she wasn’t in the midst of the fun and laughter. Finally, her Dad caught her eye and smiled briefly, then turned back to a guest.
Then Elena came over to tell her that her friend, Cassie, was looking for her. Marcy shrugged at her mother, saying she’d find her later. She knew she wasn’t up to her best friend’s enthusiasm and constant chatter. Her heart was just too heavy. What she really wanted was to find her Sunday School teacher and mentor, Mrs. Jennings, and be able to blurt out the whole nightmare of what she’d overheard last night. She had known things were not “right”, but wasn’t prepared for the whole truth.
Each startling revelation had burned deeper into her mind in the past twenty-four hours. Her mother, Elena, was seeking a divorce, saying that she was tired of being alone so much, and had become very “fond” of a man with whom she worked closely. Charles, Marcy’s father, was angry, shocked, and tried to dissuade her. He admitted that he was too absorbed in his work, but maintained that he was doing it for his family, to provide all the luxuries they enjoyed. He wanted to call Pastor Jeff and see about counseling, because, after all, “what would people think?” But Elena wouldn’t hear of it, saying they hadn’t really been regular in church in several months. Besides, she said, “I don’t think we need to bring God into this now. It’s just too late.”
Marcy wished she hadn’t passed their door and heard the animated conversation, yet she’d
felt frozen to the floor, and had stood, listening to it all.
Now she watched them both in the crowd at the party, smiling, even standing together to thank people for the gifts and gestures of friendship. They talked of how lucky they were, what a fine family and church they had, and how proud they were of their daughter, and it went on and on.
Marcy looked around, saw that Mrs. Jennings was not among the guests, and suddenly couldn’t stand the whole charade any longer. She quietly slipped up the stairs to her bedroom, closed and locked the door, and let the tears flow.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be right now. CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.