Gina stared out the window, the morning fog as heavy as her heart. Ten years was a long time. How was it that two sisters could go that long without talking?
She sighed, shuddering as a chill swept through her body. She sipped her coffee, letting the dark liquid warm her, although the chill was in her heart, not her bones.
It had been three months since she had written the letter to Karen asking for reconciliation, but Karen had not responded. Gina felt hurt and betrayed all over again.
Matthew had been her boyfriend and Karen had stolen him, just like she had always taken from Gina. Karen was the younger sister, pretty, vivacious, popular, always getting whatever she wanted. It was Gina, the older, more responsible and sensible one that was expected to placate Karen and give into her.
Gina loved Matthew, and that was the last straw. “I hate you,” she had screamed at Karen through her tears, anger and frustration seething from every pore. “I don’t ever want to see you again.”
Gina sighed again, remembering that those were the last words she had spoken to Karen. She headed to the kitchen to refill her coffee. She paused in front of the picture on the mantle, and lovingly ran her fingers over the faces of her husband and three children. “God, I am so blessed,” she whispered. “Thank You for giving me Jeff and my three beautiful children.”
She knew that Karen wasn’t so blessed. She and Matthew had gotten married, and Gina heard all the stories through the years about Matthew’s drinking and womanizing. It used to give Gina a sense of satisfaction and justice, until Jeff and she started going to church.
That’s when Gina’s heart began to change, especially when the pastor preached on forgiveness. She had talked to Jeff about it. “Perhaps it’s time to forget about whatever the disagreement was with Karen, forgive, forget and move on,” Jeff had said as he kissed her cheek.
“Disagreement? It wasn’t a disagreement, Jeff. She was spoiled and bratty and always wanted her way. She didn’t care that she hurt me.”
Jeff had cocked his head to one side, his lips curling into that lopsided grin that she loved so much. “And suppose you had ended up with Matthew? You would’ve missed the privilege and awesome adventure of having me for a husband.”
Gina had laughed and flung her arms around Jeff. He had waltzed her into the family room in front of the kids, twirling her around before bending her backwards and kissing her. Mandi and Abby had clapped their hands and squealed with laughter, while Jason mumbled, “Gross!”
Still Gina procrastinated, although Jeff gently encouraged her to call or write Karen. Then she got the news that Karen had filed for divorce after Matthew, in a drunken rage, had given her a black eye. Gina had sobbed, her heart aching for her little sister.
She had written the letter then, pouring her heart out, telling Karen that she loved and missed her. After a month had passed, Jeff quit asking if she had heard from Karen. He could tell that Gina was hurt by the lack of response from Karen.
That morning, Gina felt especially heavy-hearted. She had spoken on the phone with her mother the night before and asked how Karen was doing.
“I’m worried about her, Gina. She’s never been on her own before. She’s so lost and frightened. I told her she and baby Matty should move back in with us, but she says we have to let her grow up. Call her, Gina. It’s about time you girls made up anyway.”
“Mom, I’ve tried.” Gina listened to her mom for a few more minutes rattle about how poor Karen’s always needed someone to take care of her.
“Karen needs Jesus,” Gina said out loud that morning, the sound echoing throughout the house. She refilled her coffee cup and tried to focus her thoughts.
That’s when it happened – the ringing of the phone, the halting, whispered voice saying, “Gina, it’s Karen,” then the trembling explanation of how she had moved her desk that morning and found
“It must’ve fallen back there with some other mail.”
Then they were both laughing and crying. They talked most of the morning about love and forgiveness and being sisters.
Gina glanced out the window and saw that the fog had lifted.
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