Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Outgoing (05/05/11)
TITLE: The Charade
By Ann Martin
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Her husband was rarely home. He left for work early in the morning without a backwards glance. No hug and certainly no kiss goodbye. Gone were the days when he would wrap his arms around her and tell her how much he would miss her. Dinnertime with just the two of them was a quiet affair. Perfunctory answers to polite questions. Together, yet so alone.
Tears of grief and despair were her daily companions. Anxiety and fear wrapped its icy tentacles around her heart as her life unraveled. When others were around them, her husband would act very loving. In fact, he would put his arm around her in church and would gently stroke her hand. Those same hands would later be rough with her. Her wounds were not visible to others. She wondered how long she could keep up the charade. At times she felt as if she would collapse with grief. What would people in the church think if they knew what her life was really like? She imagined their shock if she told them what really went on behind closed doors…the yelling, name-calling, the hitting and the silence. Her husband had a life outside of their marriage. When he was home, he spent his time in front of the computer trapped in its vicelike grip of empty promises.
She could not go on like this, pretending everything was right in her world. Leading, singing, speaking to women in the church when her heart was breaking into a million pieces was beginning to seem like such a charade. When she threatened to talk to the pastor her husband mocked her and told her nobody would believe her story of betrayal. She did not know where to turn. Late that night she opened the drawer in her bedside table and took out the bottle of pills. How easy it would be to just go to sleep.
She wondered how things had gone so wrong in her marriage? Where was God in the midst of this pain? A song from her childhood written by Maria Straub, came into her mind, “God sees the little sparrow fall, it meets His tender view; If God so loves the little birds, I know He loves me too”. An image came into her mind of God cradling a little sparrow with a broken wing in His hand.
She heard the phone ring and as she ignored the repeated rings, she took the lid off the bottle. She was tired of this charade. Tired of being the life of the party, counselor, and caring friend to all. She hesitated as she poured the pills into her hand.
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