TITLE: Redemption Chap 1b 9 Feb 15
By Randy Somers
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NOTE: my writing program doesn't always transfer to the box below, ie chapter breaks, indents, italics, etc.
Mayor Paul Myers ruled over this small fiefdom. He now severed his fourth, six year term as mayor. Paul was not an outstanding mayor so much as no one else really wanted the job. Paul kept his job through the practice of appeasement, slight of hand, coercion and staying out of major conflicts. Paul polished his image shiny which deflected any real criticism from scratching that overlaid surface.
Small town politics being what they are, once a small power gains control, they usually stay in power until a major disaster unseats them. Handing out candy in parades, kissing babies, hand shakes, implied sexual contact with dissatisfied housewives and half truth promises, keeps the unthinking majority public happy. Any true and accurate criticism is covered by a good dirty offense, obfuscation and the confession of minor errors with the promise to do better.
Secrecy became a strong armed thug which protected Paul and the City Council. Many closed door sessions advance the cause of power and control, which most of the public does not care about anyway. What the average person does not know, they usually do not care to find out.
Rumors thrived over the question of how Buck came about his money. He never said. Some wondered if drugs were the foundation for his supposed millions. Others felt that he worked in some biker gang or mafia and kept most of the money he stole or laundered. Bets were made as to how much time he spent in prison. No one knew; and Buck liked it that way. The less people bothered him, the happier he lived.
His anger comes from deep pain, Silvia thought again. That means a woman somewhere. Maybe children. Dead? Divorce? Chuckling she added, Murder? There must be children involved, he loves the kids around here.
At least he’s not wearing his machetes tonight.
Not many in the city and community knew that Buck donated to any child or school function that somehow deserved his attention. Ipads and computers appeared almost before the need became known. He especially doted on the ‘special needs’ ones that seemed to come from poorer families.
Twelve year old Theresa silently slid her way over to Buck. Standing by his side, she stood silently. Hoping. Dressed in a faded yellow thrift store dress, Theresa felt like Cinderella at a ball. This new dress came from her mother, in one of mom’s rare guilt sprees. Here love ... Mommy bought you a new dress to go to the dance on Friday night. I know how much you love to go to these dances. I’m sorry for our argument the other day. I was just tired and unhappy. I hope you forgive me. Let me braid your hair...
A new used dress, clean and not patched, allowed Theresa the rare fantasy of being a normal child in a normal family. She had washed her hair and taken a yellow ribbon from one of her other dresses, adding it to her braids. She still wore the old, ragged tennis shoes, but a little wishing upon a star changed them into jewel encrusted, black leather slippers.
Buck had noticed her sly movements and did not embarrass her as she crept nearer. Theresa did not know she had a crush on him. She just knew he was the greatest man she had known in her unhappy life. Stretching his arms out, Buck bumped into Theresa.
“What?” Buck said turning. “Well, Theresa. How did this pretty yellow rose of Texas suddenly sprout next to me?”
Her face deepened in hue as she took the compliment and dropped her eyes to her feet.
“Hey. You know what? I’m rested and ready for another dance.”
Moving onto one knee, Buck took her hand and asked, “Would this pretty princess honor me with a dance?”
Theresa giggled and put her other hand out for him to take. The fiddle started the melody of Suds in the Bucket and Buck whirled Theresa out onto the floor. Theresa,tall for her age, made her a little awkward as her agility had not kept up with her growth. Buck took up a waltzing position and spun her around the floor.
“You’ve been practicing, haven’t you?” Buck looked at Theresa. “I haven’t stepped on your toes once.” Buck laughed and whirled in another circle. Theresa glowed with pride. She had been practicing.
Buck danced with Theresa through two more songs. Just as the second song ended he let Theresa go into the arms of a community friend. Buck started back to his seat, but froze.
The female face from the past materialized in the haze of the dust and the bright lights. Standing in the crowd at the opposite side of the plywood dance floor, she looked Buck in the eyes. Those eyes. Deep blue eyes. Eyes that had him squirming the first time he saw her. For an instant the lure of the first teenage stirrings of love he felt for her left him stunned at her remembered beauty.
The next instant the massive castle door swung shut. Bars slammed into place, blocking any attempt to open them. The sharp portcullis drove the spikes deep into the ground as it fell free from the restraints. A mist covered Buck’s eyes as his body faded into another time and dimension, when he pastored a small church. He remembered the day she left him.
“Thanks for coming. Hope you enjoyed the service,” Pastor Chad Dillion said to Sister Abigale as she returned his smile.
“Yes I did. You kept the sermon to just the right length young man. I like that. Plus you sang one of my favorite hymns. Church was good today,” she complimented him. Walking away, she hummed Amazing Grace.
As Pastor Chad reached for another hand to shake, he caught sight of a Sheriff Deputy pulling into the Church parking lot. Excusing himself from the after church line, Pastor Chad walked up to the Deputy as he climbed out of the squad car.
“Hey Pete. What’r you doin here now? You missed Church.”
Deputy Simmons smiled and reached for the offered hand. But the smile quickly faded, “Um. Well. I just wanted to let you know that Barbara’s come back. Russel found her walking just outside of town and gave her a ride to your place. He thought you’d want that. She’s there now. Just wanted to give you a heads up.”
The spiritual joy of worship vanished instantly. “Yeah. Thanks. I appreciate it.” Pastor Chad sank back into the emotional room he reserved for stashing his feelings when dealing with his wife. Coming out he looked at Pete, “I appreciate it. I’ll go over and see what she’s up to now. Maybe she’s come back to stay.”
Walking onto the cement driveway of the parsonage, Pastor Chad saw Barbara sitting at the family picnic table with their two sons, Jason and Jeremy. Pearl, who helped Chad out since Barbara had left, had just finished setting the table for lunch. The day had warmed up nice for late spring. The large oak proved shade for lunch. Pearl caught Chad’s eyes and lifted her head, as if to say, 'Good Luck.' Pearl disappeared into the house.
“Dad! Dad! Mom’s home,” the high school sophomore Jeremy said. Jeremy suffered most with his mother’s radical behavioral change and disappearance. Giving his dad an excited hug, he whispered, “I’ll convince her to stay this time.”
Jason, the oldest, graduating this year, sat across from Mom, reserved in his pain. Feeling abandoned by his once saintly mother, he hid his grief underneath a growing man’s gruffness. An early life lesson taught him that men bury their feelings deep to avoid emotional pain.
Jeremy ran back and sat next to Mom. Chad walked over to sit across from her, next to Jason.
Barbara flipped her cigarette away and turned to tuck her shapely legs under the table. Blond, slender, dressed in a tight sleeveless V cut T shirt, the sheer bra pointedly highlighted her femininity. Dark blue shorts barely covered her flesh. Chad silently wept for the change in her.
Barbara stayed silent but defiant as Chad offered thanks for the lunch. Hungry teenage boys dived into the hoaogie sandwiches, potato salad and chips. Sweet tea glistened in the glasses. Barbara helped herself to a few chips and nibbled them slowly. Chad’s stomach refused to let him eat.
The boys chatted with Mom, telling her all that they had been doing since she had been gone. Jason talked about school and maybe college. Mom asked him how football had gone.
Had she really been gone that long? Christmas. She was here one day after being gone since Thanksgiving. Nothing since.
Jeremy talked about school and friends. General chatter they thought she would be interested in.
After the boys finished, Mom stood and kissed them from across the table. “I need some alone time with Dad. OK?” The boys, reluctant to leave, agreed and went into the house.
“I’m glad you’ve come home,” Chad offered when they were alone.
“Home. No. Not staying home. Just came by to see my sons and let you know I’m leaving for good. Don’t want to come back to this stifling goodness.” Stretching her arms high and wide, Barbara continued, “After all these years, I want to live!” Barbara pushed her chest out, hoping to antagonize her husband. Her upper clothing did not leave much to the imagination.
Chad bled. Blood pumping in squirts, deep inside. Breathing came in shallow and slow. “Not come back? Why?” he pleaded.
“Ah, you know. I love you and all, love the boys, but I want more than this pastor’s wife life. It’s too dull. Too restrictive. I never dated anyone but you. Not really. I want to see what I missed.”
“Missed? I never forced you to date me or marry me. I thought you were happy in our marriage. During my tour in the Army, going to Bible school, coming to this church. What happened?” he pleaded again.
“You are a good man, Pastor Chad,” Barbara reached across the table and patted his cheek. “But it’s over. I loved you for a while, now I want to love someone else. Nothing personal. I think I’ve just outgrown you and this pallid life.”
Silence sat between them.
A still voice escaped, “You don’t love me. What have I done to chase you away?” Barbara did not answer. “You’ve changed into exactly the opposite of what you were. What’s happened. This is not you. It can’t be you. Can’t we get some counseling? Can’t you stay and try to make it work. I’ll do whatever you want.”
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