Mary entered the room and all conversation stopped. They think I don’t belong here...
But Mary was in the right place -- her twenty-fifth high school reunion.
She was used to the odd looks. Her outfit wasn’t exactly standard fare these days, but she’d worn it anyway. God, please be with me. Please help me do what I need to do, what I should have done long ago…
Mary was a wild child in high school, and now, well…
“Claire, you haven’t changed a bit,” said Mary.
Still a platinum blonde, Claire, her former best friend and cheerleading co-captain, just looked at her, confused.
“It’s me, Mary.”
“Oh.” Claire’s chins dropped in surprise. “Mary, of course, how are you?”
I know she’d rather talk to just about anyone else...
They were interrupted by Kent, class president, Claire’s ex-husband -- and Mary’s long ago beau.
“Oh. Uh… Mary?” he asked incredulously.
“Yes.” She forced herself to look him in the eye.
“Would you, um, would you mind saying the blessing before dinner this evening?”
“Of course,” she said. “Excuse me, but I was just heading to the loo. Long drive and all…”
Facing him is harder than I expected. The memories came rushing back. Her and Kent; the son she never told him about...
On the way to the loo she bumped into Henry, the class geek. They exchanged pleasantries. It was he who had urged her to come in the first place. She saw him regularly at church in her home town. He was now CIO of a major corporation and had a wonderful family.
She relaxed in Henry’s presence -- and in His. God, please give me the strength to face these people -- and my past. Unlike Henry, they still see me as I was…
She took a deep breath as she exited the ladies room. And bumped smack dab into Lori, the class clown.
My presence is as unexpected as our old principal all those times he caught her in another one of her pranks.
They’re not just surprised to see me, but to see me like this. She smiled. “What are you up to these days, Lori?”
“Well, have you seen my newscast, at 10:00, on DFB?”
“I’m afraid I haven’t…”
“Mary!” Johnny, the class druggie, approached. “You look great.”
“So do you, Major.” Mary saluted. He knows how I feel. He would’ve been voted least likely to succeed, and just look at him now, all spiffed up in that uniform.
I would’ve been voted most likely to wind up a call girl. She shuddered at the thought. But she had loved Kent. She really had. They’d just gotten a little carried away one night. Ok, a lot carried away…
It was why she spent so much of her time with the tweens and teens now. -- She didn’t want them to make the same mistakes. The kids actually think I’m cool. I’m certainly not your typical counselor… Sometimes surprising people is good. She smiled. Thank you God, for reminding me.
She saw Kent walking her way. “How about we go for a little walk?”
She nodded and they headed outside. Best just blurt it out and get it over with…
“Kent, I never had the abortion. I just couldn’t. My parents made me go to that special school. They wouldn’t let me call anyone. It was awful. I graduated, but… They took our baby. I never even held our son. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It hurt so bad… Much more than you and Claire…”
“I’m sorry Mary, for everything. I didn’t know how to contact you. They said you moved away…”
“I’ve spent my life helping kids… But it couldn’t bring him back to me.”
Kent ran his fingers through his graying hair. “Claire and I couldn’t have kids… Why didn’t you tell me, sometime…? What became of him, the baby, do you know?”
“He found me, just a few months ago. He lives right here in Caladayga. It’s one of the reasons I came back tonight, to see him again. He looks a bit like you.” She looked up at him, “Kent, he was meant to be.”
”May I… contact him?”
Mary handed him a photo and a piece of paper with all the pertinent information.
Kent looked at the paper in his hands. “Deacon Crosswell?” He smiled. “It appears he takes after his mother, too.”
“That may be.” Sister Mary smiled. “Now, about your soul…”
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