Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Obedience (01/31/05)
TITLE: Connie's Story
By Karri Compton
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“Go gimme another beer, babe.” Nolan ordered, slurring his words. Over time Connie had learned to interpret.
“It’s late. Let’s just go to sleep.”
“What’s that beeping? Oh no, not another one of your mom’s stupid messages! I’d like ta…”
“Just leave it alone. You know I won’t call her back.” Connie hoped he would drop the subject, and while he was at it, drop into unconsciousness.
Nolan plopped onto the bed, immediately zonked. Connie was thankful for the escape. He usually slapped her around like an annoying fly before he passed out.
Careful to be quiet, Connie pushed the blue button on the answering machine, causing the message to play: “Constance, this is Mom. I hope you’re doing alright. Please call me. I’m praying for you and love you very much.”
Don’t hold your breath, Connie thought. She prided herself on being a rebel. Her mother had once told her that her terrible twos had turned into her terrible teens with the years in between a blur. Connie rarely obeyed her mother. She went out when told to stay in, and stayed awake when she should have been asleep. So, Connie thought, Mom shouldn’t have been surprised that when charming Nolan drove into town in his black convertible, I made sure I was in it when he left.
Connie had practically glued herself to the handsome man, especially since her mother had forbidden her to see him. He was many years her senior and replete with worldly experience. But Connie didn’t care. It was as if she had been bathed in sunbeams and fairy dust. Nolan was Connie’s ticket to freedom – no one was going to tell her what to do. But Nolan was doing that very thing – controlling her, not letting her call her mom or be with her own friends. He repeatedly got drunk, and Connie endured the rampages that followed. But he was always sorry in the morning, and tried to make up with her. She was sure he would change, that this was just a phase. Besides, she could take care of herself.
“Mom, it’s me!”
“Connie, are you o.k.?” Tara was shocked at the call and alarmed at the heavy sobs she heard over the phone. Something must be terribly wrong. Connie was frantic, her story spilling out like an overflowing glass of milk.
“Mom, please come NOW.” As she broke every speed limit, Tara silently prayed that this would be Connie’s turnaround.
Tara kneeled together with Connie at Nolan’s freshly dug gravesite in silence. One could only imagine the range of emotions her daughter must be feeling after having to defend herself, then having it end like this. Tara’s heart ached for Connie, thankful that they were finally together again, yet wishing it was under happier circumstances. Her mind wandered back to another tragedy, the one that had changed her life…
In an effort to subdue the memories of her affair and subsequent divorce, Tara had named her first and only baby Constance, hoping the child would identify with its meaning, becoming more faithful than her mother had been. Being a single mom had scared Tara enough to turn her towards faith. Faith in a God who deserved to be followed and obeyed. She was determined that her daughter would not make the same mistakes. Her prayer echoed that of the Psalmist: “You are my portion, O Lord; I have promised to obey your words. I have sought your face with all my heart; be gracious to me according to your promise. I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes. I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands.” She had clung to the hope that Constance would one day call on the same God.
Bringing herself back to the present, Tara realized that Connie was saying something.
“Mom, I’m so sorry for everything. I’ve been such an idiot to try to do everything my own way. I guess maybe now your prayers are being answered.”
Scripture was quoted from the Holy Bible, New International Version.
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