Saturday, September 11
I left him sitting in the car, and went inside. Maddie and Malcolm met me in the kitchen. “Nana’s called twice,” she said. “I told her you had taken Dad to see Dr. A, but she wants you to call her.”
“Thanks. I’ll call her back.” The dog skittered around Maddie’s feet trying his best to catch my attention.
She glanced at the door. “Where’s Dad?”
“Is he okay?”
“Dr. A did some quick tests and gave him a prescription. He wants to see him again.”
“But he’s okay?”
She stretched up to her tiptoes and looked out the window. “Why is he just sitting in the car?”
“He got a call from someone at church and he’s deciding what to do.” I got a treat for the dog and he eagerly took it and strutted out of the kitchen.
She looked at me, then at the floor then her eyes darted to the window and back. “You can say it,” I said. “Part of our problem is that we’ve spent years burying what we think and feel. You can tell me anything, Maddie.”
“It sounds bad.”
“Maybe it won’t be as bad once you say it. Sometimes imagination is worse than reality.”
“I know Dad loves me . . . but sometimes . . .” She glanced at the door, then the window. “Sometimes it feels like the people at the church are more important to him.” She dropped her eyes. “That’s bad to think that, isn’t it?”
It would be hard for her not to come to that conclusion. “Pastors have a really hard job trying to balance their commitments to their churches and their families.” Which was true, and I respected how hard it must be to strike that balance. David expected me to fill in for him at home, but it never clicked that Roger could do the same for him at the church.
Maddie stepped back and crossed her arms, almost hugging herself. “Did you really mean that I could say anything to you?”
“Why’d you do it?” She blinked and quickly wiped her eyes. “It was so wrong. You knew that . . . and it’s disgusting and . . .”
“And I embarrassed you. I am so sorry.” I held out my arms to hug her, but she quickly shook her head and stood rooted to her spot. I tried again, a little softer this time. “I’m not sure I can explain it yet. I hope Neil can help me.”
“You can try.”
“All right.” I took a deep breath. “You remember when you were little, and you loved to watch Snow White and Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty and all those others?” She nodded. “And you wanted to dress up like them? You wanted to be them?”
“Pornography is not about princesses, Mom.” Her voice was flat, dismissive, not unlike her father’s.
“No, it’s not. But . . . I think we desperately want someone who will love us enough to face the dragons for us, who will love us even when they find out the ball gown is just an illusion, and we’re really clothed in rags and dirt.” I looked into her sweet, precious, innocent eyes. “And that’s where it started, Maddie. I didn’t start out on the internet. I started reading stories about women who were cherished . . . and I wanted that more than anything.”
Read the rest of UNDONE Chapter 7