Lesson 2 – Exercise 3 (Optional)
They all decided to meet in their favorite haunt, “Mackintosh Bistro” on that Friday night. Shelly and Vicki beat Alex there and rushed inside out of the rain. The restaurant was brightly lit. So much so, that the glass bowl containing a candle on each table was unnecessary, but lent a hint of atmosphere. The floor was black and white checkered and matched the tablecloths on the round, wooden tables.
When Shelly and Vicki were seated, Vicki spurted out, “You shouldn’t have left Mike!”
Vicki never was one to mince words. Even on things that weren’t any of her business. She was known as the judgmental, busy-body of the church. If there was anything that was going on, personal or not, she had an opinion and she wasn’t afraid to share it. She was also bossy. Her way was the only way to do things. Shelly, who was the only person who could match Vicki in her opinions. She stood up to her.
That is, usually. This was the first time that Shelly shrunk back in her chair, and silently traced the rim of the cup of coffee in front of her. Her eyes welled up with tears as she thought about Mike and how he had betrayed her. She thought about the look her friend Grace had when Shelly walked into the restaurant in time to see her husband kissing her best friend. Her thoughts were shattered as she heard Alex greet Vicki. Shelly dabbed at her eyes and she watched Alex sit down and grab the menu.
Alex had waited to speak to Shelly until she regained her composure. She patted Shelly’s hand and mouthed the words, “It will be alright”, although she knew that it won’t be for a long time.
After the waitress came and took their order, Vicki, in her strong voice, said, a little too loud, “Mike is a catch. Don’t you agree, Alex?” Without waiting for an answer, she plowed on like a bull in a china shop, “Besides, God hates divorce.”
Alex shot back, “I believe that you’re referring to Matthew 5:31, 32 which states, , ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’[f] 32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.’ Shelly has a right to divorce Mike. After all, she did catch him with Grace.”
Shelly burst out in tears. “Stop it! I’m confused enough. I still love him. We have been married 20 years, and went through a lot in those years.”
“Yeah, like when you caught him with Janice. Do you remember that?”
The sarcasm was not lost on Shelly. Her answer was to turn and gaze outside through the window. Tears began to trickle down her pale cheeks.
Seeing one of her friends verbally beat up on Shelly broke Alex’s heart. She could only touch her hand again. Shelly looked back at her.
“I’m sorry. I’m a mess. I should have stayed home tonight.”
Alex shot a look at Vicki that said, ‘shut up’. “No, Shelly. We were out of line. I can see how hard it would be to turn your back on him. Alter all, he was your first love. You need time to figure this out.” She looked back at Vicki. Back off! She hoped that Vicki got the message and wouldn’t continue to run Mike down.
She didn’t. “Mike’s nothing but a sleazy creep. How you can even consider going back to him is beyond me. There would be no way that I would allow him to step one foot into my house if he did that to me.”
Shelly threw her napkin down, scooped up her purse and ran out of the restaurant. It was impossible for Vicki not to understand the daggers Alex shot at her.
“What? I only told her the truth.”
Alex sighed and followed Shelly to her car.