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Sunday, 6 July 2014

Novella Part Four Sally Forth

Sally’s phone chirped like a bird. It was Matt. “Hey, Sal. Can Abbey and I join you for a day or two? Do you have room there?”

“Sure, no problem-she can sleep in my room and you can sleep on the little sofa, but it is a bit boring here, I mean not for me, but this place is quiet and isolated. I have a beach front and there is one small store about a mile away.”

“Sounds perfect. We shall be there tomorrow in the afternoon and stay until Friday. I have a job to do on Saturday for the city and Abbey needs to visit her parents. See you, then.”

Sally sensed news. Maybe the two were engaged. She was not sure how she felt about Matt marrying a Mormon. Since he had found the TLM, Matt was more and more pious than ever. She could not imagine how they would work things out. Abbey was not even a Christian.

These thoughts led Sally to her own problem of the future. She wanted so desperately to be in order and peace, in harmony and optimism for the rest of her life. She was coming up for review for tenure, and yet, the thought of this security did not add to her happiness. She would only enjoy, to some extent, the pleasure it would bring her parents, who always had expectations for her.  But, she also knew that even if she was granted this pleasure, Massie and Duke would undermine her moment of glory. She had seen the drama before, with James, when he was elected mayor of a small town outside of Fargo. Massie had said, “Too bad you are not mayor of Fargo.” Duke asked about his salary and shook his head when James told him.

Massie would not stop. “Well, it is sad that your talents are so wasted, but then you were never really competitive.” And so on…

When Mary was appointed head of the Museum of Modern Art in Minneapolis, Massie made a comment of how much she hated modern art. Duke asked whether it was a paid position or just volunteer. Even the super-correct and patronizing Mary almost lost her cool then.

When Sean won the all-state science fair award, Massie merely wished that the financial award was larger, and mentioned out loud that scientists were becoming extinct and that Sean would be better off going into medicine or dentistry.

Bobbie stopped sharing things the kids were doing, and Massie complained that she was never told what was going on.

Sally toyed with the idea of not even telling her parents she was up for tenure. Massie would make a comment, as she had done before, that the University of Wisconsin was just “not Notre Dame”.
Sally went inside and prayed. She was now praying up to four hours a day in her time off. She loved the silence and read Scripture daily. She even ordered a breviary from the monks at Clear Creek. She was beginning to plan her day around two of the Hours.

In the morning, earlier than expected, Matt and Abbey arrived. Yes, she was beaming. Matt was strangely shy. Sally invited them in for a veggie lunch she had made for them.

After they sat down, Sally said, “OK, tell me the good news.”

Abbey glanced at Matt. “You tell her.”

Matt said, “Abbey and I are engaged. And, Abbey is going to become a Catholic. She is taking instruction from Father Eliot, the new priest in Houston. What do you think?”

Abbey held out her hand and Sally took her fingers to look at the ring. It was a sapphire surrounded by diamonds. Sally’s eyes filled with tears.

“I am so happy, I can hardly see. Wait, I have to get a tissue.”

“See, I told you she would cry.” Matt laughed and looked relieved. He really wanted his sister to love his fiancé as he did.

“And, I have a new job. Do you remember Tomas Page? He asked me to go into business with him, just the two of us.”

Sally could hardly answer. “I am so happy. Do you have a date for the wedding?”

Abbey spoke first, “October 7th which we chose on purpose. And Sally, would you be my both my sponsor when I come into the Church as well as my maid of honour? As you know, I have no sisters and well, I really want you to help me through the whole day-both days.”

Sally got up and hugged Abbey. This had to be one of the happiest days of her life. She said that she and Abbey would talk weekly after her meetings with the priest, and then, on the big day, she would fly down.

The three passed the time just enjoying each other and relaxing. The few days went quickly. Sally knew her decision would have to wait, whatever that decision would be.

Still, Hans’ words echoed in her ears, like the wind coming off the small lake at sunset.

To be continued…