I knew I couldn’t blame the book although I wanted to.
I had nothing to read so my friend dropped off the bestseller she had toted to the beach with us the week before. I had eyed the cover and commented that she could pass it to me when she finished. She left it the night of my daughter’s bridal shower.
“It’s six o’clock and he isn’t home yet, cat. What do you want to eat?” Pacifying Alphie with my toe, I leaned into the fridge. Crusty potato soup greeted me. It would have to do although Alphie wasn’t in total agreement with the menu choice.
We set our perspective dinners on the coffee table now laden with a week’s worth of newspapers. He usually waited until the pile impaired his line of vision before taking them around back to the garbage can. I was sure they were at the required height.
By seven pm, it was time. The woman in the book had risked taking a ferry to an island. I didn’t know of any ferries nearby but I knew of a mall that catered to lonely housewives until ten pm. That gave me three hours.
“I’ll be back.” I spit into the sink being sure to wipe the traces of mascara from beneath my eyes. The shirt I wore on our last anniversary was the only one that didn’t need ironing so while pulling it over my freshly cut hair, I reached for the lipstick. He’d whispered to me that night it was his favorite shirt. Had it been eleven months already? His promises almost stopped me.
“I know this position will be the best I’ve had yet. You just have to give me six months and then everything will be back to normal.” I couldn’t help but get caught up with his excitement. The pay was great and it was a testimony to his hard work. It was the reason we left Ohio. It was the reason I gave up my twenty year friendships.
The woman in the book found another way to cope. My mind twisted around the possibility.
The parking lot was still three quarters full. I turned the ignition off and reached behind my seat for my purse brushing against a soft reminder.
“Not today,” I whispered. “I don’t need this today.”
Three rain drops splattered the windshield. I distinctly remembered the weather man declaring we would have clear skies until Wednesday. Dark clouds now blocked my view of the path to the mall entrance. My hand reached further into the back seat. I pulled the bible out and dropped it in my lap.
She never did as I asked. “Clean out the car, Becka. Be sure to get everything so it doesn’t look like we live in it.” I didn’t need this now.
I wasn’t totally sure if it was just his job. Our daughter was moving but I knew that wasn’t the problem. What would I have with him once she left? I wasn’t sure what I had now. My fingers creased the grainy rivulets. I wished it was the other book. That woman had been bold enough to make some changes. I felt trapped where there weren’t any solutions that made sense.
The book in my hands called to me.
“I don’t know what to do, God.” I prayed aloud. “I don’t have the strength to wait on your perfect answer.”
The storm washed the hood pollen clear into the next parking space. My own tears ran with empathy. If I wasn’t careful, the security guard would be tapping on my window questioning my state of mind.
I searched the gold imprint on the bottom of the front cover. He had given it to me on our wedding night holding my eyes as he pulled it from his suitcase. Then he’d read the inscription. I knew the words by heart.
I will always love you as Jesus loves us. You hold my heart and total devotion.
The mall suddenly lost its appeal as the memory of his wedding promise reflected in the pools of water. I wasn’t the woman in the book left back on my nightstand. I prayed I never would be. I was the woman in the Bible who needed her Savior for strength when she lacked her own.
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