When Brad returned to his living room he found that he could not sit still for even a few seconds. He would alternately sit on the couch briefly and get up and pace around the room. He poured himself another scotch but after taking the tiniest of sips he placed it on the end table where it would sit untouched for the rest of the night. His mind buzzed ceaselessly as he tried desperately to remember everything he had learned tonight.
While the night’s conversation reverberated in his head he also realized that he needed to figure out a way to do what God had asked. He had absolutely no idea where to begin. This realization left him in a state of panic. He had the same feeling in the pit of his stomach as when he was in school preparing to take a test that he hadn’t studied for.
Another thought struck him. How am I going to explain this to Kelly? He started to form the words in his head but he realized, rather quickly, that it just sounded crazy. He knew he would have to tell her. Hell, he couldn’t wait for her to get home so he could tell her. But he realized that telling her was the easy part. Making her believe him was going to be a lot trickier.
Brad paced anxiously around the first floor of the house. He had turned on the TV but after a couple of seconds it became nothing more than background noise. His mind would jump from his conversation with God to how he was going to get God’s message out to how was he going to explain himself to those close to him. He began to realize that Kelly was the key. Well, the first key anyway. He needed to convince her that he hadn’t lost his mind and then she would be able to help him figure the rest out. Yep…he thought….That’s the key.
His admiration for his wife was nearly limitless. She was smart, creative and organized. She was a wonderful wife and mother and in the more than a decade that they have been married they never once had any substantial fights. Their marriage was not perfect but then again whose marriage is? Any arguments that they have had have been over trivial things like Kelly’s inability to put the ketchup back in the refrigerator after she uses it or Brad’s penchant for forgetting to turn off the lights in a room he is not in.
When Brad and Kelly met at that Halloween party it was clear that they were meant for each other. Brad was never very good with the ladies but when he saw her he knew he had to talk to her. So he gathered up all of his nerve and (with the aid of several margaritas) “casually” strutted over to where she sat. He tried to act cool but his opening line came out as smooth as an unpaved road. “How’s it going” he mumbled and then immediately regretted ever going over there or even coming to this stupid party. But much to his surprise she looked up at him and smiled warmly without a hint of annoyance.
What Brad didn’t know at the time was that she had been standing near him earlier in the night and had eavesdropped on a conversation he was having with a friend of his. She thought he was smart, funny and unbelievably cute and she wanted to talk to him but because she was dating someone else and, she thought, he’s probably seeing someone too; plus the fact that she hadn’t had nearly enough drinks in her to start up a conversation with him. So when he finally came over she was thrilled. Her heart thudded heavily in her chest and her boyfriend was completely forgotten. She never even heard the words that he said she just knew he said something… and he said it to her.
They dated for a mere eight months before he decided that this was the one. He bought an engagement ring on credit and in his dilapidated studio apartment; he got down on one knee and proposed.
From the very beginning their life together was idyllic. Even in the early days of their courtship they had an easy, comfortable relationship; as if they had known each other their whole lives. Brad was able to make her laugh until her sides hurt and Kelly was able to bring Brad a sense of happiness and complete satisfaction that he never, in his wildest dreams, thought possible. Even as they planned their wedding, an undertaking that often caused stress and animosity in most couples, they never fought.
The wedding was beautiful and aside from Brad’s 55 year old uncle Chet getting plastered and inappropriately grabbing Kelly’s best friend and maid of honor on the dance floor, it went off without a hitch. The happy couple regularly forgot there was anyone else in the room.
Their life together had the normal ups and downs of any married couple. They struggled for a while when Brad lost his job four years ago and he lost himself in an extended bout of self pity and self doubt. Kelly got fed up with Brad moping around the house for several months constantly complaining that no one would ever hire him and why did he drop out of college and how were they ever going to survive. She loved him so much but secretly she wasn’t certain that they could live like that for very long and she considered taking the kids and moving in with her parents.
After Brad landed a job in the home office of a large retailer and things returned to normal, Kelly was glad she had stuck it out and was secretly ashamed of having harbored thoughts of leaving the man that she loved and admired more than she was willing to let him know. Likewise, Brad also felt a great deal of embarrassment at how poorly he handled that period in his life. He, with the 20/20 vision of hindsight, realized that he was lucky that Kelly stood by him.
The thing that both of them believed kept them together was the fact that they considered themselves a team. They always had an us against them mentality, no matter who the them was it was always us. If Kelly had a fight with one of her sisters (as she often did) Brad always took her side. If Brad complained about how he was mistreated at work, Kelly was always there to sympathize. As their years together moved on they never considered that they would ever be on different sides of any big issue.
At 11:45 that night Kelly glanced at her watch and was surprised to find that the hour had grown so late. She had been having an enjoyable evening with her friends. They drank some wine and commiserated over their lives as wives and mothers. Kelly was sometimes surprised at how her life turned out. When she was in college she had grand plans of being a high powered business executive at a Fortune 500 company while living a rich and glamorous life in New York City. She never once thought she would become a suburban “soccer mom” with a mini van in the driveway and a position on the Cub Scout advisory committee.
There were times that she wished that she had had a chance to live that alternate, exciting life. She sometimes fantasized about living in a loft in New York and making $150,000 a year while hanging out with glamorous people and doing glamorous things in glamorous places, but when all was said and done she never once regretted the choices she made that brought her to this point in her life. Even in her fantasies she could never make the leap that she would be happier in that other life than she was in this one.
Kelly grew up as Kelly Davenport, in a rapidly growing town just 15 miles outside of Boston, Massachusetts. She was the last of four children and suffered from a case of ugly duckling syndrome. In her formative years she was a gangly awkward girl that people would consider on the plain side. Through her junior year in high school she was never noticed very much by the boys in her class. Over the summer following that year she underwent a transformation. Her body changed rapidly and she went from 90 pounds soaking wet to a curvaceous 115 pounds. Her chest went from a boyish A cup to a 2nd look inducing C. Because her body changed so much she needed a whole new wardrobe. She started to favor clothes that showed off her new body rather than the baggy, amorphous wardrobe she had been wearing to that point. She had her long straight hair cut into a more fashionable style and thanks to a ritual of spending virtually every waking moment in a neighbor’s pool her body went from gawky school girl to beautiful woman.
That fall, when she returned to school, she was delighted to see that the boys took notice of her transformation. Unfortunately, because she was much smarter than your average high school senior she quickly discovered that the attention was more of an annoyance than a blessing. She had little interest in the boys she went to class with so consequentially she had very few dates. She found them at the very least, immature and at the most downright tiresome. She became very goal oriented, probably as a result of her father’s constant insistence that she get the best grades so that she could attend the college of her choice. She, like a lot of young girls, adored her father and wanted desperately to please him.
This did not mean that she didn’t harbor the flights of fancy that most girls engage in about members of the opposite sex. In her room, after all of her work and studying was done she fantasized about meeting her soul mate. He would be tall, handsome and make a lot of money doing a job that he loved to do. They would vacation on Nantucket or Hawaii or the Caribbean and would be perfectly happy spending their lives together. They would make love with a passion that few couples ever experience and in time they would have three beautiful children and live in the clichéd suburban house with the white picket fence.
Her father had a “type A” personality that he passed down to his youngest daughter. In her senior year in high school she studied almost to the point of obsession. She became an honor student and finished in the top 5 in her class. She went on to study business at Boston University and graduated suma cum laude. Her goals and her life were right on track. She landed an entry level job at a large financial institution in Cambridge and told herself that she would work hard and within 5 years she would be a vice president.
The boyfriends that she had in college were not what she considered “serious”. Each one had his good points and bad, and in the end Kelly never saw herself spending an extended period of time with any of them. They were good for a couple of laughs and to sleep with when she needed an itch scratched but all of them ended within a six to ten month period of time. She me her first “real” boyfriend 5 weeks after she landed her first post college job. He was, for the first year that they dated, a happy, gregarious man who adored her. She was equally smitten with him and after 9 months of dating he proposed. She was giddy with excitement and immediately said yes. Shortly after that, however, he lost his job and became angry and bitter. He was jealous of her success and happiness at the company that had so unceremoniously showed him the door.
After 2 ½ months of absorbing his anger and resentment, Kelly had decided that she would break up with him. It made her sad because deep down she really loved him but he was not only resentful of her accomplishments but he had started to become both verbally and physically abusive.
Kelly’s girlfriends at the time knew all about her rocky relationship and in an effort to raise her spirits they invited her to a Halloween party that one of them was throwing that weekend. Kelly was so depressed at how awful her personal life was going she initially said no but her friend insisted and ultimately Kelly relented.
The rest, as they say, was history.