Rachel looked over her Scrabble tiles. All vowels and a Q. “I like the old Scrabble games.”
“What’s the difference?” Shannon added the score sheet. “I’m only beating you by eighty tonight.”
“In the old version the Qu was a single tile.”
“Stuck with the Q. Good to know.”
“Not if I don’t find a word.”
The phone rang on the wall behind her. Rachel reached back and answered it. A shrill whine like a Fax machine assaulted her ear. “I’ll be right back.” Rachel said over her shoulder as she went to the TDD machine in the front room.
“Rachel here GA.”
“Where are mom and dad? GA.”
Shannon came behind her. “Adam?”
“Looks that way.” Rachel’s older brother was born profoundly deaf and was the golden child in the family because of his abilities, not disabilities.
“What does GA mean?”
“They’re out. Probably looking for a house or husband for me. GA.”
“If you want to take a break this could take a bit. He hasn’t even said go ahead yet.” Rachel said. Shannon was reading the screen over her shoulder. One of Rachel’s peeves.
“You want coffee?”
“I need to come home…GA.”
With or without Yvonne? She wanted to ask but how could she ask her big brother if his marriage was over.
“When do you guys want to come? GA.”
“Just me. ASAP. GA.”
Rachel flipped open her cell and had her mom on the phone a few rings later.
“Mom. Adam’s on the phone. I think things are bad with Yvonne.”
Her mom’s words were slow. “What exactly did he say?”
“Said he needed to come home. I asked when they were coming-.”
“You there? GA.” Adam asked again.
Rachel cradled the cell the best she could and typed, “Asking mom. Give me a minute. GA.”
“He said he needed to come home alone ASAP.”
“I’ll be home as soon as I can.”
“Mom, I’ve got him on the phone. What do you want me to tell him?”
“I’ll handle it. Tell him I’ll call when I’m home. We’re walking out now.”
“Mom on way home. She will call you. Anything I can do? GA.”
“Yvonne out of love with me. Need time apart. Coming home. Need a roommate? GA.”
“Always place for you. GA.”
“Thanks. Tell mom to call at my office. GA or Hang up.”
“Bye. Hang up.”
“His wife left him.” Her big brother was on the other side of the country, alone.
“Why?” Shannon walked out and showed as much shock as Rachel. Yvonne wasn’t her mom’s first choice for Adam, but then no woman ever would be. This would not be a reconcilable disagreement if mom had her way.
“I’m not sure. Do you mind if I go upstairs for a few minutes.”
“No, sure go.”
Rachel walked up the small staircase to the second level of her mom’s split level house. She padded down the carpeted floor and in to her old room. Mom had turned it in to a guest room after Rachel graduated from college but other than a few family members Rachel had been the only guest to use it.
The room was decorated in bright colors and there were pictures of chubby babies dressed up like animals and flowers on the walls. She walked to her old bed and slid her legs under the covers.
“She left him.” The words squeezed her heart. They had moved from Ohio to California a few years ago following what Adam thought was God’s call. They were two halves of a whole, Yvonne and Adam, despite her mom’s opinion of the relationship. Yvonne never once complained about Adam to her. Even when Rachel would get frustrated Yvonne would tell her that she would never stand to hear Adam insulted in her presence.
Adam for his part wouldn’t allow Yvonne to be insulted. That, more than a divine call, was the real reason he moved his wife and life to the west coast. Rachel never blamed Adam for the way mom compared the two of them. Adam wasn’t in to all that anyway. He stayed true to who he was.
But now they’d split up.
It couldn’t have hurt any more if it were her own break up. It might as well be. This was more evidence that the old notion of meeting one person and loving forever was never realistic. It was an economic arrangement where women traded their body for-.”
“Wanted to give you fair warning your parents are pulling in.”
“Come on in.”
Shannon slipped in the room and closed the door. “Should I lock it?”
“No.” Rachel patted the bed for Shannon to sit on the end. “Mom won’t be up here until she’s called Adam and made sure he’s okay.”
“You don’t sound happy about that.”
Rachel sat up with her back to the headboard and hugged her pillow. “I’m fine with it. I don’t think it will be a fair fight.”
“A fair fight?”
“Mom will try to tell Adam why Yvonne is the worst thing that ever happened to him and why Adam never did anything wrong. Then Adam and her will squabble…never mind. It will be a while until she tries to find us.”
“Don’t forget we need to leave a little before seven to look at the new place Drew found.”
“I know…I hope mom isn’t mean to Yvonne.”
“I don’t think she’ll call here.”
“Would it be a betrayal if I called her?” Rachel scanned through her cell’s phone book. “If she’s at their place I’ve got that number in my phone.”
“Do you know why they split?”
“No clue.” The screen blinked off on her phone. “Is mom talking to him?”
“How should I know?”
“Listen for typing.”
Shannon walked to the door and opened it a few inches. “I hear keys clanking.”
“Close the door. I’m going to call.” She scrolled down and pushed send.
“Hello?” Yvonne’s voice was quiet.
“Hi.” Yvonne hesitated a moment. “Your brother isn’t here right now.”
“I’ve talked to him.” She willed back the tears that threatened to escape her eyes. Yvonne was in pain. She was without her husband and her mom was going to be no help in the situation. “What can I do?”
“I’ve asked myself that question a lot lately.”
“Adam said you left him.”
“It was mutual.” There was muffled nose blowing on the other end. “We’ve been drifting apart since we moved out here. We thought maybe a break would help.” Yvonne sniffled. “So I’m staying here and Adam said he’d stay with your parents.”
“Is that what you want?”
“Rachel?” Her mom called through the door. “Rachel your brother’s on the phone. Wants to talk to ya.”
Rachel held her hand over the cell phone. “I’ve gotta run. I’m at my parents’ house and mom’s at the door.”
“Oh my, don’t let her know you’re talking to me.”
“I’ll think good thoughts.”
“Rachel? You comin’?”
“Yeah mom.” She closed the phone and Shannon opened the door.
“What took so long?”
“Girl stuff.” Rachel exchanged a nervous glance with Shannon.
“Don’t forget ‘bout your appointment this evenin’.”
“Adam’s waitin’ on ya.” Her mom motioned to the steps. Rachel swiped her hand across the wrinkles on her comforter and went down the steps.
You are reading A Face in the Shadow by Tiffany Colter.
Tiffany is a writer, speaker and writing career coach. She is a frequent contributor to print and online publications in addition to her regular marketing blog at www.WritingCareerCoach.com
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This story is copyright Tiffany Colter. 2007. It may not be copied, distributed, sold or included in any larger work without the expressed written permission of Tiffany Colter.
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