Walking into the coffee shop at work, Beth was thinking about that night in Boston. She had closed the deal that eventually earned her promotion to Executive Accounts Manager, but the price that she paid had been much too high. Even though it had occurred three years ago, that night was still as fresh in her mind as if it had happened yesterday.
How could she have allowed herself to spend the night with Bill? Sure she could blame it on one glass of wine too many, or being out of town alone and finding herself with a stunningly handsome man in a hotel, but those are flimsy excuses. The fact is there was no reason for her adulterous behavior. The deal that she made turned out to be a deal made with the devil.
As soon as Bill had left her hotel room, Beth had become violently ill-and not from the wine. Realizing what she had done to her marriage, her betrayal of Pete, her damaged self-worth, made her sick to her stomach. Her desire for material gain and pleasure had obfuscated the morals and values that her parents had inculcated in her from early on.
Moreover, just as devastating as the illicit relationship with Bill, was the fact that she had betrayed her faith. She had committed a mortal sin, one that could condemn her to hell. Her faith had always been strong; at least that's what she thought. Now she had not only deceived her husband, but even more importantly she had turned her back on the Lord.
How was she ever going to make things right? How could she expect anyone to forgive her when she couldn't even forgive herself? She hadn't yet formally admitted her sin at confession. She continued to attend Mass on Sundays, but couldn't bring herself to confess to the priest what she had done. She certainly couldn't tell Pete what had happened-he would be devastated. He may even want to end their marriage.
Beth found that a couple of months after the incident, the Lord was intent on teaching her a lesson. She had been experiencing nausea in the mornings, along with some dizziness. On one of those mornings, the pain had become intense. Pete was out of town that week; he and Joe had driven to Detroit to compete in the Police Olympics. She couldn't rely on him for help. However, the pain continued and got worse once she arrived at work. Then she began to bleed.
Beth decided to have one of her co-workers drive her to Rush University Medical Center, which was only about 10 minutes from her job. By the time they arrived she was barely conscious. They immediately took her into the ER. An hour later they had her stabilized and she was resting comfortably. To her astonishment, the ER nurse later explained to her that she had miscarried!
For a moment, she couldn't believe what she was hearing. But when she regained her composure and thought it through, it all made sense. Bill Reynolds that night at the hotel...and now the ultimate punishment from above. The Lord was making her pay for her sin. She was falling deeper and deeper into a pit that she felt she could never crawl out of. So many people were adversely impacted by her moment of weakness and infidelity...how would she ever make this right again?
Paying for her coffee, she took the elevator to her office. Her close friend and colleague, Patty, greeted her, "Good morning Beth".
"Good morning Patty. How are you today?"
"Great! Someone brought in bagels and crème cheese this morning, care to join me for a quick breakfast?"
"No thanks Patty, I've got my coffee."
Patty frowned and said, "Beth is anything wrong? You are really looking thin lately, and you seem to be down in the dumps quite a bit."
"No Patty, I'm fine-just fighting a little cold, not much of an appetite..."
"Okay.... Listen Beth, I want you to know that if you ever need someone to talk to, I'm here for you. I love you as a sister, and if you need me please reach out for me."
"Patty I will, believe me I will. I've got some ‘stuff' that I'm working through that I can't share with you right now, but thank you for being there for me."
"Alright Beth, just know that there's always One that is waiting for you to ask for help."
Patty walked out of Beth's office. Beth knew that Patty was right; she should be asking God for help in freeing her from the bonds of guilt that had shackled her these past three years. But she felt that God had turned his back on her. After she lost the baby, she couldn't bring herself to spend any private time with the Father. She was humiliated-she had forfeited her Christian birthright to eternal life when she allowed Satan to rule her thoughts instead of the Lord. That one night with Bill was turning out to be the worst night of her life.
As far as her appearance was concerned, Beth didn't see herself the same way that Patty did. Sure she was thinner than she had been, but that was of her own doing. Her thinking was that her life was out of control in many ways, but the one thing that she could control was her weight. She would determine if and when she would eat or drink and no one could take that power from her. She needed to be in control of at least one thing.
Just then the phone rang. "Hello, this is Beth Shannon at Prudential."
"Hi babe! You'll never guess what happened last night...."
Regaining her composure she said, "Let me think...you and Joe arrested a serial killer, then wrote three moving violations each, and brought home two curfew violators."
"C'mon Beth, get serious."
"Okay, I can't guess Pete. What happened last night?'
"The WC called me into his office and offered me and Joe spots on the TAC Team! We start next week."
Beth took a sip of her coffee. "That's pretty dangerous stuff isn't it-plain clothes work?"
"Not any more than what we've been doing already. It's a big step for us; it could really help us make a name for ourselves in the District and the Department. Joe and I are psyched about it."
"Honey that's great. Will you still be on mids?'
"Oh yeah, that's where all the action is. Besides, I still have to go to school during the day. Hey, we're all going to dinner tonight at Palermo's to celebrate."
"Whose we?" Beth inquired.
"You, me, Joe and Susan."
Beth hated going out to dinner anymore. She had to play games in order to hide the fact that she had been cutting back on her food consumption. No one had said anything to her yet, but she sensed that people had been scrutinizing her during meals lately. She felt that maybe they had been keeping track of her alcohol intake as well. Last time they went out, Joe's wife, Susan, seemed to be paying a little too much attention to Beth's plate.
"Okay babe. I'll see you after work. Get some sleep...love you."
"Love you too Beth; see you tonight. Bye."
Next: The Devil Man
Previous: Leaving Home
- Article Word Count: 1200
- Total Views: 101