DOZ Issue 43 May 2019 - Page 35

to grandma Parks. She knew my brother Dan was the favourite son and my younger sister, Kate, was adored by all. Kate, the beautiful one, was in California making TV commercials. I added jealousy to my shame list. I was the lost middle child to everyone except grandma Parks. A wave of guilt rolled over me, and I felt glad she was not around to share my disgrace and dishonour. “Now Doris is a special child. She’s a slow learner and couldn’t go to school. It’s up to me to take care of her. Now, don’t you go hurting her feelings.” Esther’s icy eyes and pursed lips whispered to me after Doris skipped outside to play with the kittens. “What colours do you want your room, Doris?” I asked when she came back inside. “I want pink and purple and yellow and blue and green and red!” Doris twirled around and clapped. Her life was simple, and I envied her. My life had become a chaotic mess. I was a big ball of shame floating in a murky pool of humiliation. “Now Doris you can only pick two colours.” A rare and fleeting smile travelled across Esther’s face. Doris and I became instant buddies. As we worked on her room, we talked of butterflies and chatted about picnics. I bought new curtains and a bedspread with my own money because I knew the favoured one would refuse. He knew the Null sisters were on a fixed income, but he was all business with no The renovations to the Null house passed inspection. Dan gave me a brief compliment on the completion of my mission. I admit to feeling prideful that I had accomplished something that Dan could not. I added pride to my shame list. At the end of the summer, Doris planned a picnic for my weekly pity party. I loaded the Null sisters and food fixings into my car, and we drove to the local lake. While Doris picked wildflowers and chased butterflies, Esther and I chatted. “Esther, if you knew what I did you would not have welcomed me into your home.” I felt the urge to confess my shameful sins, but at the same time, I feared her rejection. Esther and I had become friends, not buddies like Doris and me, but friends. “Your mother told me what happened at the beginning of the summer.” I know I must have looked like a deer in the headlights. My head dropped to avoid Esther’s face. She put her arms around me, and I cried. I thought about grandma Parks. “This needs to be your last pity- party,” Esther stated firmly, and I nodded in agreement. That night I called my husband and asked for his forgiveness. I wanted my marriage back. I wanted my life back. I wanted a second chance. Then I fell on my knees and asked God to forgive me. I wanted God back. That’s how the summer of my pity parties ended. Melissa writes about God and human connection and condition. THE SUMMER NIGHTS WERE LONG AND RESTLESS. I LONGED TO CALL MY HUSBAND, BUT I DARED NOT. I LONGED TO SPEAK WITH MY CHURCH FRIENDS, BUT I REMAINED IN MY SILENT SHAME. time for charity. I can still remember the very day when Esther warmed up to me. Doris wanted to host a tea party with the guest of honour being me. “Doris, the only party I deserve, is a pity party.” Unexpected tears flowed. Doris patted my back and sang a chorus of Jesus Loves Me. “Yes, we will have a pity party for you on Friday! With cookies and tea! Esther can we have a pity party for our dear friend?” Esther actually looked sympathetic. “Yes, Doris. You can plan a pity party.” Doris twirled and clapped. Every Friday afternoon, I attended my pity parties with the Null sisters and their two cats. Doris dressed the cats in pick washcloths. Esther and I put on the straw hats decorated with feathers, fake fruit, and lace. Doris said the food blessing. We sipped tea from pink porcelain cups and nibbled on gingerbread cookies placed on paper doilies. The summer nights were long and restless. I longed to call my husband, but I dared not. I longed to speak with my church friends, but I remained in my silent shame. My future was unknown. I could not, would not pray. I did not deserve forgiveness. How could I approach a holy God? 35 DOZ Magazine | May 2019