Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Charade (08/14/08)
TITLE: One Happy Family
By Lauryn Abbott
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“Sorry, I’m late. There was a…” began Dave as he came in, putting his things down.
“Save it. There’s always something. Dinner’s on the stove,” she interrupted coldly.
“Oh, I’d hoped I’d make it on time so we could eat together. Sorry, I’ll dish myself.” He looked at the meal which had grown cold and dry and thought about not eating at all. Yeah, that’d go over well, he thought.
“No, eating together would require you being home at dinner time. Don’t worry, the kids are gone. We don’t have to pretend we’re having a nice ‘family’ meal.” She knew she sounded angry and bitter, but didn’t care.
“Look, I’m tired; it’s been a long, hard week. I don’t want to fight.”
“Well, maybe I do! Maybe then we could communicate! Maybe if we fought a little there’d be something left of this sham of a marriage!” Analeigh was ready for this. Something had to change and she’d force the issue if she had to.
“I’m not doing this! Not tonight. You know, I’m not hungry anyway, I’ve got work to do,” said Dave crossly, as he put down the plate and left the kitchen.
“No! Don’t you turn your back on me”! In disbelief she watched him enter his office and close the door. “Coward!” she yelled, as she felt the hot sting of tears beginning to fall.
Dave heard her leave, looked around his office and cried out to God. Lord, how has it come to this? I know I still love her, though I really don’t like her right now. Or myself for that matter. What is the answer? Things can’t continue this way. Lord, I need an answer. If I must wrestle with you like Jacob did, I will, but I need an answer! With that, he lay on the floor, prostrate before his God and prayed, waiting for the answer.
Finally he got up, wiped his face, drank some water and made a call. Then he grabbed his Bible, went to the spare room, which had been his lately and closed the door.
The next morning, he smelled coffee and pancakes. He showered and cautiously entered the kitchen. Analeigh made breakfast and was waiting for him.
“I’m sorry,” she said wearily. “I thought maybe we could spend the morning together and talk.”
“Oh, I wish I could, but I have a meeting. This afternoon maybe?” he replied hopefully.
Shaking her head she said, “Forget it. I should have realized you’d have something. Of course you don’t remember, but I have to take the kids to the city to go shopping. It’s been planned for two weeks now. We’ll be back late. Enjoy breakfast.”
She got up and quickly turned so he wouldn’t see her tears. He grabbed her and hugged her to him, saying, “I’m really sorry. This will change. I promise.”
Analeigh pushed away and mumbled, “Yeah,” as she left.
The next morning they pulled into the driveway of the church. Getting out, Analeigh looked at the kids, “Remember, we’re one happy family,” she said dryly.
“Yeah, yeah, we know the routine,” was all she heard as they quickly left to find their friends.
“Good morning, how are you?” asked Diana as they approached.
“Good morning! We’re blessed, how are you?” Analeigh replied with a big, bright, forced smile on her face. “Dave, I’m going to talk to Diana, then get seated, okay?” She turned and gave him a quick peck on the cheek.
Church had just begun, but Analeigh wished it were over. The sermon was about honesty, integrity and who you were behind closed doors. Blah, blah, blah, she thought, looking at her watch. The pastor stopped talking.
“Folks, this is my last sermon for awhile. I spoke to the Board yesterday and I’m taking a leave of absence. Most of you think I’m a fairly decent preacher, and I appreciate that. But I haven’t been a very good husband or father. God has shown me that I have to take care of my most important ministry first – my family.”
Dave looked around the congregation, his eyes finally resting on Analeigh. He could see the tears in her eyes. He continued, “I’ve asked for forgiveness from the Lord. I ask it now of you. And more importantly, I ask it now of my family.” Between the tears and the nods, he knew he had his answer.
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