by David Story

Pacing. How can I tell him? What will he say...do? She looks at the clock on the mantle. He'll be home in an hour. In an hour, my life will end.

She sits by herself on the living room sofa. The evening sun comes through the sliding glass door, the rays casting an ominous shadow on the furniture inside. How could I even do such a thing, be capable of such a thing...contemplate, much less go through such a thing? Thirty minutes.

Help me God, please help me.

Pacing again, her body moves in and out of the sunrays, becoming a shadow in itself, exemplifying her spirit, her now. The corner of her eye catches the spine of a Bible on the bookshelf and makes her stop in her tracks. She walks over to the shelf and reaches for the Bible, wiping the dust off with her hand. Holding on to it so tightly it makes her knuckles white, she resumes her frantic pace.

All at once she can handle no more. Oblivious now to all around her, aware only of the inevitable meeting that is to come, she makes her way back to the couch, literally falling onto the cushions. The Bible slips out of her hand and lands on the coffee table, opening somewhere in the New Testament.

For all of ten minutes she sleeps. Exhausted and spent, images and words dance in her head...

it was only one time you don't know him it will never happen again

...snapping out of dream state by the sound of the garage door opening, she sits up and tries to dry her eyes and straighten her hair. How will he look at me? What will he think of me? What could he think of me except...

She asks him to sit. He does. They talk. She tells her story, and her head hangs low. With each word she feels her life vein drain, her life candle burn out. She talks, and he listens. Words are exchanged. The sun slips into the night.

No "goodnight," no "I love you." She stops at the bottom of the stairs and looks at him. His back is to her. Thinking there's one last thing she should say, she changes her mind and slowly starts the ascension up to their bedroom, where for the first time in their marriage, she'll sleep alone.

An aroma awakens her. She opens her eyes as she inhales deeply. The aroma is satisfying, familiar. She walks downstairs and her ears register the popping sound of hot grease in a frying pan.

She walks into the kitchen to find him standing over the oven. The morning sun casts a welcoming brightness around the outline of his body. He senses her and turns around. Smiling, he stops what he's doing long enough to hand her a fresh cup of coffee. He kisses her on the cheek.

She walks into the living room and stops at the couch. She begins to straighten the cushions where he slept. Picking up the one he used as a pillow, she holds it close to her chest. Seeing the open Bible from the night before, she notices a highlight pen sitting next to it. She takes a sip of coffee, then sets down her cup. She picks up the Bible and reads a verse highlighted in yellow. "Then Peter came to him and asked, 'Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?' 'No!' Jesus replied, 'seventy times seven!'"

Closing the Bible, she turns and heads back into the kitchen, as she whispers a silent prayer:

Forgive me, Lord. And help us get through this, walking together, hand in hand.

She steps into the kitchen as he places two plates on the table. She smiles as she sits down, the sun now coming in full strength, filling the whole room.


Holy Scripture used is from the New Testament, as found in Matthew 18:21-22, in The New Living Translation.



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