Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Charade (08/14/08)
TITLE: The Game
By Rebecca Mack
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When my husband and I got married, I happily accepted the additions to my heart as my own family because that is what I thought I was supposed to do. I thought that was how life went. You marry into a family and they become your family members. But for them at least, this was not the case. For them, this is exactly what you don’t do. I suppose the costumes came on the second I met them, thick veils covering what they really were inside; hiding the distance they intended to keep between us. I never sensed it. I never knew that anyone could be that fake. His step-mom was supposedly Catholic and went to church every Saturday evening. She even convinced her stepdaughter to convert to Catholicism. By all appearances, they were a decent loving family.
I remember when his step-mom got cancer. We prayed for her a lot. I bought a pink breast cancer ribbon necklace and wore it in support of her. I even entertained the idea of shaving my head for her when she lost her hair from chemo. I don’t think she knew any of those things but I also don’t think it would’ve mattered. When her dad died, we made her a special plaque with his picture and a poem about Christmas time with out him and surprised her with it just before Christmas. I don’t think we even got a thank you. As the years passed and our family grew, there were always lots of gifts for the children but not a lot of time to spend with any of us, not a lot of hugs and kisses for the babies, never enough reason to visit our home. The veil had started to thin out.
We tried to stay strong within our own family unit. After all, isn’t it that the husband is supposed to “leave his father and mother and cling to his wife?” We prayed a lot for our own family and prayed for his as well. He was dying for their attention and their presence in his life. He thought that since he had turned to God, cleaned up his life, had a wife and children and a decent job now everything would be different. But it was not. And the veil kept growing thinner as the charade was slowly dwindling to an end.
Over the past year, we have been informed of so many things that have brought us so much pain. Feelings they had about us but never expressed, misunderstandings they took to be truths…and pages of mental notes of things we’ve done to “wrong” them, haggard and dusty yet still kept around waiting to be brought up at first chance. My husband could not believe how much we hadn’t seen, how many times we had been lied to, how much a family- his family- could hurt him. And through each explosion that rang in our ears as it violated every ounce of our bond to them, we saw more and more how wrong we had been about the game they were playing.
How can someone say they’re a Christian and then treat people the way they do? We know that no one is perfect and people make mistakes but it seems like the very nature of this part of his family is to lie, to hide, to hold people at a distance, to cause pain and chaos and not ever think twice about their actions. A few weeks ago the charade finally came to an end. We ache at the thought of the last few years being nothing but a put-on, a show in which we’re expected to participate with smiles. But unlike in a game of charades, in this nobody has won.
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