Secrets unfold and while they do, petals of lies whither exposing the truth. Sarah can hardly compare herself to Job, so maybe it’s the balance of her sins adding up. Something in her changed that day, something she has not yet understood. The day she talked with Ray.
It’s been a week now since they have declared her father missing. Her mother’s skirts sway even wider, her brother more passive aggressive and Ruth, quieter. They meet for prayer but they don’t stay too much together, somebody always ends up sobbing, that makes everyone cry too. No one says it but they are tired, tired of crying, tired of listening at the phone, tired of looking out the window, tired of hoping. The only thing she can be happy about is news she heard from Rachel.
“Devon, I mean father and I have been talking more these past few days… some things recently have taught me to be more appreciative of him.”
“It’s okay, you can say it, the last thing I need is somebody who tip toes around the subject. Plus, friends are happy for you even when they aren’t happy.”
Rachel apologized and continued. She tried to control the excitement in her voice, but the bouncing of her legs betrayed her.
“He wants to know the weirdest things, like how old I was when I first lost a tooth, scraped my knees, learnt to swim, if I had a boyfriend, if they treated me well and all. After all of them he apologized, said he wished he was there. The skeptic in me is still reserved, but I don’t want to be the one to mess this up, so I’m cooperating and all.”
“Has he spoken to your mother?”
“Yea, they call each other now and then. It’s weird, but I think she still loves him.”
“Ewe, old people.”
Both giggled. It was nice to. Those things were rare.
“You said you had something to tell me?” Rachel enquired.
Sarah swallowed and called her closer.
“Mark and Adrian came over this morning. I was in no mood to talk but they insisted they had some information about Dad.” Sarah said.
Rachel straightened. “Mark? How did he seem? Relieved?”
“Far from it, I didn’t like the pity in his eyes when he saw me.”
“Perhaps it’s sadness Sarah.” Rachel looked away. “This might be painful for him too, you know.”
Sarah lifted her glass, “To Rachel, always seeing her glass half-full.”
“I thought that was your job.”
“What does it get you Rachel? A ‘global scandal’, a missing father, and a brother who thinks you are as weak as a mouse, a God who leaves breadcrumbs that won’t ease the hunger for relief. Sometimes a butterfly’s wing gets broken and it can’t be mended. This is me now.”
Rachel took a drink.
“You said you heard something about your father?”
A lot of things have caught Rachel off guard, but this, this was different.
Rachel leaned over and whispered, “A gang?!”
“Well, he owes them money. They have some deal where he gets a different girl from the community every Friday. It seems they couldn’t find one on my Friday.” Sarah chuckled, then more seriously, “Ray’s more of a monster than we thought.”
Rachel’s hand flew to her forehead.
“Adrian‘s friend told him. Adrian had the symbol and everything on his forearm. He said he saw it when they visited the garage where they kidnapped him.”
“Do you realize what’s happening?! They want your father to pay his debt or drop the charges so Ray can pay them.”
“I do. They might lock up Adrian. I tried persuading him, but he said Dad was a real mentor for him when he just came to church, that he loved him like a son. He couldn’t just stand by and not do something.”
For the first time all evening, Sarah softened. Perhaps it was the fleeting sun that made her feel safe.
“I don’t know what’s up from down anymore Rachel. I am trying to read and pray but it’s like my fears gets triggered like a siren, it keeps interrupting me.”
“What do they say?”
“That they will never find my father and my family will blame me, that I will never be normal, that I can never love God like before, that I’ll end up in hell.”
“I can understand why you would feel like that. You can consider your love was not a secure as you thought. Houses on rocks don’t fall when winds and rains come, it stands no matter.”
Sarah shifted in her seat.
“You remember that church sister I said was the only who called often? She prays with me most days too, especially now. She had a similar experience, but she was out in the world. She often prayed with me. She said how she got over by calling the biological brother that raped her and told him she forgave him. She said she cried for about an hour on the line and he didn’t hang up. She said a weight lifted off her.”
Rachel looked at her expectantly.
“I don’t think I can do that yet Rach. He ruined my life, my family.”
“Okay, I trust you understand you will continue to feel like this until then.”
Sarah pulled the frays of her sleeve. “I have to get home now. Text me when you home.”
God is funny sometimes, he requires the victim to leave an offering to make it ‘right’. Sarah pondered this as she journeyed home. The God she said she served seemed for foreign now. When she saw her house, the needles of pain returned and the weight on her shoulders gained ten pounds. She was tired of this. Tired of being tired.
“If a confession will fix this, might as well try.” She snorted as she turned the keys.
Her mother offered to accompany her the next day. Grace grabbed her in such joy. She spent her nights praying that God would work on the hearts of her family and to protect Malcom.
Mark’s father prepared a room for them at the station and stood in the corner. Ray’s charm seemed off. He couldn’t look her in the eyes.
“Look, I don’t know where your father is. I don’t intend to be here long.” He said.
“That’s sad news, but that’s not why I’m here. This is.”
The series is coming to a close, but don’t let go of that breath yet! Better is on before. What’s your house built upon? See you next Friday! Remember, you are precious.