Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: SURPRISE (07/25/19)
- TITLE: Never the Same
By Corinne Smelker
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Ever have that moment when you realise your life will never be the same?
What do you do? How do you react?
I was on my knees cleaning out the fireplace, reminiscing about the romantic interlude that had taken place there just a few hours before. With Mark gone so much for business, I always made the effort to ensure we got enough ‘us time’.
The doorbell rang as I finished scooping up the last of the ashes. “Give me thirty seconds.” I raised my voice to be heard all the way to the front door.
I opened the door to find a young blonde woman on my porch. “Oh, are you selling something?” I asked. Even with the ‘No Soliciting’ sign on the door, the occasional door-to-door rep will try their luck.
The young lady, I’d put her at about 18, shuffled her feet uneasily, before looking at me with big brown eyes. “I’m sorry to do this to you, but you need to know something. Mark has another family, on the other side of town. I’m his daughter, Sasha.”
Just then Mark came down the stairs and stopped abruptly beside me. I could see shock written all over his face. “Mark. This young lady says she is your daughter. Tell me she is lying.”
“Dad! If you don’t tell her, I will!”
“Emily, I–I–…” Mark stammered before the young blonde interrupted him.
“My mom and dad have been married for 20 years.”
Twenty years? We’ve been married for 22!
“I always asked Dad when he was going to stop travelling so much for work because my brother and I miss him, and I know Mom does too.”
Mark suddenly exploded and raised his hand as if to strike her. “How dare you come here! How dare you follow me. You’re a …”
I blocked Mark from reaching her and caught the sheer terror in Sasha’s eyes. “Tell me more.”
“I always thought it odd that he went away the same days every week. And that sometimes when we talked through FaceTime, he’d be careful to keep the background hidden. Then, last week, I bought a GPS tracker and put it in the wheel well of his car.”
“Why you little…” Mark sputtered.
“Enough!” I yelled. “Sasha, come to the living room. I want to hear this.”
“Are you going to believe some young thing who comes parading to our door selling lies,” Mark sputtered. “How about we kick her out and we go out for a nice meal, and I’ll call my boss and tell him I can’t travel this week.”
“You don’t travel at all, Dad,” Sasha retorted before I could reply. “Unless you count driving between two homes, travelling.”
She turned back to me, “I can’t live with this lie, and I didn’t think you should either. I am so sorry.”
“She’s lying!” Mark bellowed. “It’s all lies!”
“Yeah. Well if I'm lying, how come I have these?” She pulled a bunch of cards from her shoulder bag and thrust them at me. They were birthday and Christmas cards, all in Mark’s handwriting and all signed, “To my best girl from a lucky daddy.”
“Wait a second.” I spun on Mark. “That’s how you sign Lily and Lisa’s cards, all of them.” I looked at Sasha, “Lily is my 19-year old daughter and Lisa is 16.”
“My brother is Simon. He’s 14. I’m 17.” Sasha said.
Mark sank to the nearest couch, head between his hands, rocking slightly. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. So sorry,” he keened.
Anger and rage boiled up in me. “How could you? You despicable human being! I trusted you! The girls trusted you. You are their world!”
“Do they need to know?” Mark lifted a tear-stained face to look imploringly at me.
“Do they need to know?” I echoed. “Yes, Mark. They need to know. Especially since I’m divorcing you.”
“No! Please Emily. I love you!”
I stood in front of him, “You have exactly 20 minutes to pack a suitcase and get out of here. You can go and live with your other family.”
“Well, no he can’t,” Sasha said. “Once I tell my mom about this, I know she will chuck him out too. In fact, I think you should come home with me. You’ll like my mom and you have a lot to talk about.”
Life will never be the same.
Numbers 32:23 (MSG) …you can be sure that your sin will track you down.
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