What’s The Big Deal?
Celine buried herself beneath the covers and forced herself to stay still. He was late again, even though he promised to be home in time to tuck the kids in. She was angrier with herself for believing him, a promise that had been broken countless times over their 20 year marriage. His work involved travel and long hours, and she had realized that even when he was home with the family, his mind was on work. She felt unbearably lonely, and recently that loneliness had turned into anger.
She pretended to be asleep as he quietly entered their bedroom and stood before her for a moment before gently kissing her shoulder. “I know you’re awake”, he teased. Heat rose in her cheeks and she blurted out, “Well you know everything after all, don’t you!” Flinging the covers back, she stormed across the room and began dressing.
“Where are you going? Why are you so mad? What’s the big deal?” he said.
“What’s the big deal?” She replied, “Oh I guess just that I still believe your lies after all these years and I’m an idiot for thinking you’ll ever be my partner! The kids don’t understand why you’re never here, and none of us understand why you don’t even have the courtesy to call us!”
“You’re over reacting,” he said and continued “I work hard all day and I come home to a welcome like this? I’m the one who should be angry!”
Celine pushed past him and hurried down the oak staircase, her foot slipping half way down and her body tumbling in contorted ways until her head hit the ceramic floor with a thud. Derek stood in horror at the top of the stairs as the children came running from there rooms. A pool of blood oozed from Celine’s head and spread across the white tiles.
“Mom!” Jeremy cried. Emily clenched her green and blue blankee that Nana made her to her chest. Derek wouldn’t remember his feet touching the stairs as he flew down to be by Celine’s side. Fear gripped him as she wasn’t responding, this time he knew she wasn’t pretending. He called 911 and everything between that and how the kids ended up at Nana’s house, and sitting in the waiting room, his head in his hands, was a blur.
The doctor found him and his grave expression made Derek’s heart pound so deafening that he was only able to take in some of what the man in green scrubs said. “I’m sorry…no promises…never the same…time will tell.” Derek nodded his head as if he understood, although he’d never been more terrified or uncertain of anything in all his life.
When he was allowed to be by Celine’s bedside, he stayed day and night. He stroked her hand and read her the newspaper. He carried on both sides of conversation and tried to stay positive. On the third day a neighbour who volunteers with the Gideon society stopped by and left him a Bible. Derek smiled at his kindly old neighbour, a good man who had often gently coaxed their family to visit his church one Sunday. Derek found himself wondering why they never found the time to go, not even once.
He opened the Bible with its crunchy new pages and turned to the only verse he had ever memorized. Celine had wanted a Christian marriage ceremony and she wanted them to read what she called the “love chapter” from Corinthians. She had joked once, many years back when they were happier, that on their tombstone it should read, “Love is patient, love is kind…love endures all things”. Tears rolled over his cheeks as he read the verse aloud to her waiting for her to squeeze his hand back.
1 Corinthians 13 (NIV)
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