I’m a 25 year old orphan.  Well, ok, not in the traditional sense.  My parents are alive and well, I am just dead to them.

I had a normal relationship with them until I met Roger.  Roger and I were fire and ice, steamy hot during the good times but ice cold when we argued.  We had been together for 3 months when we decided to get married.

My parents were against it from the beginning.  Being an Irish Catholic family there were rules to how this was done and we were breaking every last one.  Much to my mother’s horror, Roger and I were living together 3 weeks into our courtship.  That alone was the sin to end all sin.  According to my mother it was all fire and brimstone for my afterlife.  My father said nothing.  I just got the look.

Roger didn’t want a Catholic marriage.  We argued into the early morning hours night after night about it.  My parents expected a religious ceremony.  They damn well demanded it.  For everything I had done so far, I could at least give them that.  Let them marry their only daughter the proper way.  Save them from the scorn, ridicule and gossip that was surely already festering among the old biddies at their Church.

Roger won though.  He had given me an ultimatum – elope or lose him forever.  I was young and stupid.  He was my world and so we took a “vacation” and I got married at some Elvis drive-thru chapel in Vegas.  I cried through the ceremony.  Roger assumed they were tears of joy.  He gleefully told my parents what we had done, said it was my idea.  My parents didn’t speak to me for a year.

I sent them a letter when Rosie and Sophie were born.  My father was the one to call.  They had one condition – I was to come back to the Church.  Roger welcomed them with open arms, said he had been pushing me to make amends since the wedding and that we would be sitting right next to them every Sunday.  Funny how he never made a single Mass.

By that point I was pro at hiding the bruises.  Concealer is an amazing product – having a damn good poker face is another.  Roger hit me on our wedding night so that I would “learn my place”.  I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve “tripped and fallen” since.  I always left just a little bit showing.  Just a smidgen, enough for someone looking close.  Every Sunday I would sit next to my mother and silently pray that she would finally notice, finally ask.  My mother apparently has an even better poker face.  The closest I got was a comment that my “mascara had run” and I “might want to go touch up my face”.

Father Mel saw right through me the first Mass I attended.  He quickly befriended me. Asking how I was at the end of each Mass, inviting me for coffee.  I always politely turned him down.  What exactly could I have in common with a 70 year old Priest?

One Sunday, though, I just accepted.  I didn’t want to.  I wasn’t planning on it, but still “Sure” came right out of my mouth.  My mom took the girls and Father Mel walked with me to the corner coffee shop.  Over coffee words just tumbled out of my mouth, desperately trying to fill the void.  Father Mel just looked at me and listened to me ramble on about nothing and everything.  Finally he stopped me and simply asked: “how long has it been happening and when was it going to end?”

The question took my breath away.  Then I laughed in his face.  I didn’t mean to, but really “End it?”.  Does he think I haven’t dreamed of that?  How the hell was I supposed to stop a 250lb man from hitting me?  It was Father Mel who suggested a divorce and the escape plan.  I was never married in the Church, so it was never “official” anyway.  He said my parents would understand.  They were good people.  They wouldn’t want this life for their daughter or grand-daughters.  He would come with me, support me when I told them and give me a safe haven when I left Roger.

I never got the chance.  One of my mother’s friends was at the coffee shop and overheard us.  She called my mother out of “concern” for my eternal soul.  Fearing that I would divorce Roger, my mother told him about my “date” with Father Mel.  He beat the shit out of me that night.  Left me for dead.  I wasn’t though.  He fell asleep on the couch and I got the gun.

I’m serving 15 years now.  They labeled it manslaughter, but I murdered him and my only regret is that I could only do it once.

I’ve been told my parents are calling it an accident.  That there was never any talk of divorce.  I guess they got that much right.  I never did get to ask Roger for one.

For the IndieInk Writing Challenge this week, Britania challenged me with "Your character has to tell her extremely religious parents that he/she is getting a divorce" and I challenged Carrie with "Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example. - Mark Twain The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson".

4 Replies to “Orphan”

  1. Great work! This made me angry and sad at the same time. I can see something like this happening in real life; made me want to slap her parents. Great writing, and congrats on Editors' Choice!

  2. Very good and brutal! There's a twistedness to this that's very unexpected and keeps you on your toes – the characters, particularly the parents, really blindside you, here. Very well done.

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