2. Awkward Moments

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Church was the last place Sally or Michael wanted to go to the following morning, but Sally felt the need to go all the same. No doubt people will ask about the stitches on Amy’s head, but Amy will have to go to school tomorrow anyway. Sally wouldn’t want people to think she was un-Christian or that she let her daughter skip Sunday school. She wanted to show people she wasn’t ashamed of what happened, because there was nothing to be ashamed of. It was a simple accident, that is all. And that is all anyone is going to know or think of it.  Michael had a hangover, and would have done almost anything to avoid going, but he didn’t dare contradict Sally. After all, “Hurry up, we’ll be late for church” was all she said to him.

Michael didn’t have enough courage to speak to her about the previous night. From what he remembered things weren’t looking too good for him, but he had to set the record straight. He

couldn’t hurt Amy, he just couldn’t. He couldn’t believe it even if his memory was too drowned in whisky to prove it. There had to be an explanation for all this. He would remember hurting his own child. And above all, he thought, frowning in the mirror and straightening his tie, he wouldn’t.

He had to ask Amy what happened. But Sally wouldn’t let her out of her sight, and asking that in front of Sally seemed like an invitation for a fight. He mused this while sitting in the passenger seat while Sally drove to church. Either way, what rights did a stupid drunk have to an innocent child? He couldn’t expect Sally to be fine with this.

The whole service Michael’s head swam between regret and determination. Sally had a right to be angry. But he will show Sally what a good guy he can be. He will make her love him again. He could do it. He didn’t deserve to, but he could. It was true he had a problem. Once Sally sees that he fixed the problem she’ll forgive him. He couldn’t feel guilty over it. It was both of their fault they failed so much as a couple. She was so approachable and unforgiving. Ever since Amy was born Michael became nothing more than a sorry sideshow. Finally Sally could love someone other than him. And he was only grateful for this. In his experience Sally didn’t love unconditionally. He had to work for her love, only to be turned away almost every time. Maybe the truth was there just wasn’t enough attraction there. Not enough to make the fights worthwhile and the reconciliations sincere.  He had to cope somehow. But this has gone too far. He had to find something less destructive. Take up golf. Read. Join the trainspotting society. Anything other than this.

After the sermon finished Sally walked off to pick up Amy from her Sunday school, and Michael walked straight to Doug one of his oldest, and still closest friends. He enjoyed weekly discussions with Doug after a tedious church service. Doug was a chatty man, and one that as well as expressing his opinion sought everyone else’s. Overall, Doug was a genuine, kind and friendly man, the man Michael used to be alongside him years ago.

“Hey, Michael! How ya doin’?” He asked slapping him on the back warm-heartedly.

“Not the best I’ve ever been.” Michael answered.

“I can see that!” Doug laughed.

“Oh, thanks Doug. Really.” Michael said sarcastically.The question that pricked his tongue every Sunday was on his lips. “How’s your wife?”

Doug chuckled.

“I’m great, thanks for asking. She’s beautiful as always. We’re goin’ to her mother’s on Friday. Boy, that’ll be hell for sure. I just don’t see how those two women can be related. I mean, Arlene is stingy at times - she’s a woman - but her mother... she’s from a completely different species. Right?” He smiled at Michael, nudging him with an elbow.

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