General Fiction posted August 6, 2014 Chapters:  ...89 90 -91- 92... 

This work has reached the exceptional level
Paul learns the truth

A chapter in the book Enough to Miss Christmas

The Red Fire Engine

by Fridayauthor

Tension over Paul's inability to believe Karen's admission of abuse from her mother has caused Sarah to go to extreme steps to get to the truth.
            Paul and Timmy had moved from the den to the living room where they huddled together on the sofa. My husband was red-eyed and held on to his son as if his life depended on it. Timmy stirred and tried to pull away, but Paul wouldn’t let go. I don’t know who was more distressed, Paul or I.
            “It’s all true, isn’t it?” Paul said, his voice cracking.
            “I’m so sorry, Paul,” I replied as I sat down beside him, and put my arms around his shoulder.
            Karen began descending the staircase, a slow step at a time, the golden hair brush by her side, not knowing what to make of the huddled tableau.
            “Karen, . . .” Paul began, but I held him back.
            “No, Paul,” I said. “Let her speak first.” I addressed her as she reached the room. “What were you going to tell your father?”
            “I lied about all of it,” she murmured, in a rote-voice. “I loved brushing Mom’s hair, hour after hour. She never made me do it.” I released Paul and he moved to his daughter.
            “Karen, I’m sorry.  .  . ”
            She stepped back and continued her speech. “She never called me stupid. She didn’t make me lie to Dr. Graham like I said. Nobody spilled any pills. I didn’t have to hide her gin.” He hugged her, but she turned her head and continued.
            “She never beat me again and again with this hair brush and never told me the red marks wouldn’t go away.” She added, “Nobody switched any pills.”
            “Sarah, stop her!” Paul pleaded.
            “That’s how much she loves you and forgives you, Paul. She’d lie for you, just like she did for so many years.” I turned to my son. “Tell your sister what you told me when you were reading; what you told your father just now.”
            My little guy spoke nervously. “Mom wondered why I asked if she had to put salve on when Dad hit you, Kari. I told her that’s what Mrs. Doberchek had done when you hurt so bad that long time ago.”
            I was reading with Timmy when out of the blue, I suddenly recalled what he said after the incident when Paul struck Karen.  Did I have to put salve-stuff on her bottom so it would stop hurting? Does she have to stay in bed for two days? How would he know that? I made Timmy tell me. He was only three and a half, but the event was so shocking, he remembered Karen crying in her room, and Mrs. Doberchek applying ointment. Timmy saw the marks, ‘They were the same color as my fire truck’.
            Paul was barely able to blurt out his heartfelt apology to Karen.
            “It’s not all your fault, Daddy,” Karen said through her tears. “I lied too well back then. I’m just not any good at it anymore.”
            I remained in the living room with Paul long hours after both Karen and Timmy were fast asleep. He needed me as much as I needed him, as he tried to come to grips with what he’d learned this heart-wrenching evening. He was distraught beyond measure for not recognizing what was happening for years in his Newton home; the evil his wife disbursed behind his back. While my method of bringing it to light was unforgivable, I felt great relief we were all aware of the true facts and healing could begin.
            Paul anguished over the damage to his relationship with Karen, but I was no longer pessimistic now that the air was clear and the truth replaced the years of falsehoods. I anguished over what I had done behind my husband’s back on my visit to Boston. I hoped and prayed the damage to our marriage would be forgiven. True love forgave, and that was what Paul and I shared. I knew first hand our daughter’s capacity to embrace love once she was given the opportunity to express her true feelings.
            I apologized profusely for the unfair living room scene I’d orchestrated. It was composed without clear thought on the spur of the moment. I needed to quickly establish a shocking penance for Karen, and I knew her strong commitment to the honesty would make lying to her father absolutely appalling. In retrospect it was cruel to both of them, but I was utterly distraught at the time. I desperately wanted a quick end to all the tension and intrigue.
            We agreed that night Dr. Mason would have a new patient. Karen and I weren’t the only ones to have issues with our mothers.

Earned A Seal Of Quality

Sarah and Paul are both widowed and married only five months. Karen, precocious and age twelve, has developed a strong relationship with her stepmother. Sarah has learned not only did Karen witness her mother's suicide, but suffered abuse at the woman's hands. Her suffering was unknown to her father. He refuses to believe it happened. Sarah is pregnant, at age forty, a fact she and Paul thought impossible because of duplicity of Sarah's deceased husband.
Enough to Miss Christmas is a family love story, about sisters, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, parents and children. Foremost, it tells the story of a step mom and a precocious young lady and how they bond in spite of overwhelming odds.
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