His wife was a proud woman.
She was a respected lecturer and a Minister of the Eucharist. They arrived together each Sunday for mass. Their car was freshly polished and their kids had on matching dresses. Arriving early made them feel empowered. They sat in the front row. They listened attentively to the sermon and the mother always waved at her kids. They beamed with pride.
His mistress was the local widwife.
She had delivered many babies in the community and had plenty of stories to share. She always arrived strategically late, just as they were closing the church doors. They sat in the back row. Arriving late made her children feel unsettled and they learnt to channel that feeling inward. Shame and guilt were warm feelings and they knew them well.
After church, all the kids went to run around the playground. They all relaxed. None the wiser to the dark secrets everyone standing at the tea table guarded closely.
The mistress was committing the crime. Knowingly. So, she knew the price. She stood far away from the priest and allowed the official couple to receive the praises. Her kids were never central to the conversation about grades, sports and other accolades.
Many years passed this way.
When their kids entered their teen years, a cosmic smack was long overdue and the game changed in a big way.
One of the girls in the pretty matching dresses was pregnant. She was 16. She felt shame and guilt. The spotlight was painful.
The son of the mistress was awarded a scholarship to a top university. He was 17. He felt pride and excitement. The spotlight was lovely.
The wife and the mistress thought they would escape the earthquake but the spotlight was not done with them either.
The midwife would have to deliver the baby and the lecturer would have to nominate her top student. The time would surely come.
Everybody braced themselves for the next chapter.
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