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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Charade (08/14/08)

TITLE: Clark's Charade


Let me say from the very beginning I thought Clark was an upfront kind of guy. We had so much in common and I was beginning to see a future with him. Movies, dining out and activities such as hiking, consumed many of our days and nights together. In fact, I still think he’s a great guy and maybe the doubts I’m feeling are just that—doubts that will disappear with the morning light.

Let me explain. Last week Clark said that he was doing some tutoring for a sixth grade student. I think he said the boy’s name was Evan. Found out the next day that he wasn’t tutoring Evan but attending a seminar on how to be a more productive executive at Bean and Croft’s financial institution, his current place of employment. Why would he lie about something like this?

Then there was the time when he said he was going to take some lessons on becoming a better Christian at Methodist Central. He was all aglow talking about it and from his conversations, I was under the impression that he was progressing well in that area.

I wanted to believe that the lessons were helping him because he was much more loving and caring and also seemed showed more compassion to others around him.

But, I have to say that about a week ago he did something that made me question who he really is and why he’s been taking lessons on being a Christian.

We were enjoying our weekly dinner date and were having a wonderful time when Jeff Goldbaum approached our table with his date and began talking. I’ve never liked Jeff; so I began questioning why he stopped at our table. Didn’t take me long to figure out why.

“Clark, old buddy! And, oh….Linda, too! (Seemed like an after-thought to me, but what do I know….) ‘Would you two mind if Susan and I sit with you for awhile? We’ve been told that our table isn’t ready yet and I Clark and I could chat for a bit.”

I didn’t answer but Clark replied, “Sure. Sit down.”

And so the unsettling conversation began.

“Clark, good buddy. Wanted to get back with you on your ‘Christianity’ lessons! How is it going? Do you think the lessons will help you up the ladder at ‘Croft’s?’”

For a few seconds Clark looked embarrassed but just as quickly, his repose returned.

He looked sheepishly at me and then said, “Well….ah….Sure, it’s helping quite a bit. Of course, the first priority is to be a better and more effective Christian but it sure is helping with connections at Croft’s. I mean, well, it doesn’t hurt to get in good with the higher ups, does it?”

I looked at him in amazement. This was something I didn’t expect from him but as I thought about past experiences with him on how he always was ‘posturing’ whenever he was around a fellow employee….Well, it was all beginning to make sense.

The conversation continued for awhile and later Jeff and Susan left for another table.

The rest of our dinner was quiet and I began looking at Clark with my eyes open, instead of through tinted glasses. What I began to see was someone I couldn’t trust or believe anymore.

We continued seeing each other on and off for awhile and then one day I just said to him, “It’s over, Clark. We’re going in different paths and I have to say honestly, I think you’re using your faith in God to better yourself, instead of loving Him and bringing others to Him.”

He looked at me with the saddest face and said, “I will miss you, Linda but saw this coming…”

That’s the last I saw or heard from him, until today. Found out from Jeff that Clark was fired from his job and was living in a half-way house. Going to see him today. Maybe now I can reach him, through Christ. Hope so; for I still love him…

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 08/22/08
An interesting set-up, and I appreciate the narrtor's ability to respond to her "red flags."

I had a hard time seeing much of this situation as likely in today's corporate world; parts of it just didn't ring true.

With a bit of tweaking, this would be a chilling look at hypocrisy in a relationship.
Sunny Loomis 08/26/08
Interesting story. Glad she kept questioning his growth. Was he just taking classes or did he belong to a church? Nicely done.