Adam would be there any minute. Rachel raced around her apartment to put the food she’d bought at the deli on to nice plates. Thankfully mom had agreed to drop him off and not stay. She needed to talk about both of their relational issues.
The buzzer sounded and she let Adam up.
“When should I be back for’em?”
“I’m not sure.” Rachel turned to Adam and signed. “When you want mom come back you?”
Her mom put her fist on her hip. “Then how to I plan my afternoon?”
That wasn’t Mom’s issue at all and it only made Rachel madder. Adam was in his mid-thirties and she still wanted to mommy the man. No wonder she hated Yvonne. Yvonne didn’t put up with it.
“Do whatever you had planned and if it isn’t convenient to come get him I’ll drive him back out.”
“I need rent car I think.” Adam signed.
“Maybe good idea.”
“No.” Her mom both signed and spoke. “There is no need for him to rent a car.”
“He here.” Adam signed. “And he man can rent car.”
Wow, Rachel couldn’t remember Adam snapping at Mom like that before. She didn’t think kids should be rude to their parents but it was a two way thing. Mom left and the two of them ate club sandwiches and chili at Rachel’s dining room table.
“How has your visit been?”
“Good, I miss friends here and Ohio. People where I live not talk a lot. Don’t know neighbors. People busy.” He signed slowly as if carefully choosing each word.
“Why you not come back live Ohio?”
Adam watched her sign the question then turned away. He stood up and walked across the room. Rachel watched him. “Adam why won’t you talk to me?” She said out loud but of course he didn’t know. He had left for California with such joy ready to do ‘God’s work’ as he put it but now he was back broken. That happened fairly often in Rachel’s life. Oh, it was fine to get excited thinking you’d had an encounter with an all powerful being that was going to make sure life worked out for you.
The reality never fit the dream.
No, people ended up like her brother Adam. They go chasing some notion that they attribute to God and they give up a fine life to do it. Then when their marriage falls apart, their job gets cut or their life is destroyed they come back broken like Adam.
Then they blame themselves for some ‘sin’.
Thankfully Rachel only beat herself with that stick once before she learned. She didn’t spend her life trying to be perfect, whatever that was.
She walked to Adam and gently touched his shoulder. Adam turned to face her with tears in his eyes.
“Adam, can I ask you something?”
“Since we talked at Wendy’s we haven’t really gotten back to why you are back in Ohio.”
“Why do you think Yvonne stopped loving you?”
“You never understand.”
Of course she understood. Maybe she had never been married but she’d had enough relationships to understand giving yourself fully to a person only to have them decide they didn’t want you any more.
“Explain me.” She said to him.
“We go California I work hard.” His gestures were exaggerated but Rachel didn’t need to see the large gestures to know how passionate he was about this. “I talk lots of people and every, every I go talk pastors, I talk ministries share my vision but no one listen. Yvonne go with me, interpret. I day she say ‘No, I stop go with you.’ I mad, tell her she my wife I need with me. She tell me God no say come California.”
“When that happen?”
“Two week before I come.” He signed it then walked to the couch and sat down. “I tell her I know God. I hear God. She say not sure I can hear God now.”
Rachel sat beside her big brother and put her arm around his neck. She was so sick of hearing about God and what He did and did not want. People blew up shopping centers for God and people stayed in loveless marriages. God wasn’t a benevolent dictator, that is if the Christian God actually existed. No, this religion that had been used for centuries to keep women oppressed and men in power was now becoming every person’s excuse or crutch.
If it hadn’t been for Shannon helping Rachel escape from the guilt of that life she would probably be in the same situation as Adam. Worried sick that she was going to miss what some voiceless mist wanted and being willing to give up the love of your life, your hopes and dreams for the illusion of a hereafter.
At least in her confusion over her love life she only had people to contend with. Between her mom and Shannon trying to choose Mr. Right for her she had enough to worry about. If she had an elusive being to add to the mix…no wonder people went postal. Their trying to read a two-thousand year old book to figure out a twenty-first century world and apply it using gut reactions, of course attributed to spirits in competing factions. She wanted to scream thinking about it.
Adam tapped her leg. Rachel turned to face him. “Mom tell me you date man who find you house?”
“I went on one date. I not sweetheart.”
“Oh, mom try make you fall love again.” He smiled and poked at her like they did when they were kids. He understood better than anyone how mom liked to pry. “You like realtor.”
“His name is Drew. I think I like him.”
“You no sure.” His smile was gone. “Rachel, you be sure. Need love if you make marriage work. No love it too hard and not fun.”
“I know but Shannon and Mom think Drew wonderful. I like fine. He good kisser.”
“Awww” he vocalized. Rachel laughed. When it was the two of them vocalization was reserved for the biggest shocks. Her brother knew she wasn’t ‘pure’ any longer but he didn’t judge her and with each relationship he acted as if she were a little girl who wasn’t familiar to the ways of the world. “You careful kiss boys. Good boys respect you. Bad boys take you further.”
“Drew bad boy.” She signed
“Awww, Way chall.” he vocalized. She loved how her brother said Rachel. He could speak clear enough to be understood when in an all hearing environment that required it but since they both signed they never used their voices together. It also cut down on their mom eavesdropping when they were younger. He always called her Way chall though. To her it was a term of endearment, not a mispronunciation.
“Adam, I so happy you back Ohio. I wish you live here, have family near me.”
“When God tell me live Ohio again I come home.”
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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