This is Part 2 in this year’s Christmas Story. Sometimes life throws curve balls at us. And sometimes those curve balls are caused by our own choices. Are we resigned to live with the consequences of our sins? Well, to a certain extent the answer may be yes. But we serve a great God who can heal even the most broken of relationships. This is the theme of this year’s story. (Find Part 1 here)
As I sat on the sofa, my mind went back to that first time I saw Rick. Evie’s best friend, Monica, had introduced her to Rick at a football game and it didn’t take them long to become inseparable. After just a few weeks she asked if she could bring him around for dinner. Mom had prepared her delicious roast beef and made-from-scratch mashed potatoes in Rick’s honor. For dessert, she had made a chocolate cake with a thick coating of peanut butter icing. Isn’t it funny what you remember about certain moments?
Evie was 23 and had just settled into a good accounting job upon her graduation from the local university the preceding May. And she was ready to get married. It didn’t take her more than a few weeks of dating to believe that Rick was her future husband.
I was 21 and working at Dad’s store while I tried to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. Dad and I got along well and it seemed like the perfect fit for the time being.
Our whole family loved Rick from the very beginning. He was laid back and funny and had twinkling blue eyes that lit up when he talked to you. By the end of the evening, my dad had offered him a job at the store and I…well…I had fallen hopelessly in love.
For the next year, I put on a pretty good act. No one knew I was head over heels in love with my sister’s handsome boyfriend. Well, Mom might have figured it out but if she did she didn’t say anything.
But working together at the store had given us a special, albeit platonic, relationship. We had a lot of fun together. He teased me and I teased back. I think he enjoyed my lightheartedness and love for fun in comparison to my very serious-minded sister.
One day, my sister came home with a ring on her finger. How it is possible to be so happy and so heartbroken at the same time is truly a mystery, but as both emotions washed over me, I told myself that I must move on. Rick was Evie’s. He would never be mine. I must resign myself to that.
My mom caught my eye as I hugged Evie tightly and wished her the best. It was then that I realized that Mom most certainly did realize how I felt about Rick. I gave her a wry smile and went to my room.
A little later she came to talk to me. She told me she knew this was hard for me, but that I must be more careful with Rick now that he was engaged. She realized he treated me like a little sister, but I must be careful not to show my true feelings. For Evie’s sake and for Rick’s.
I told Mom I understood and she left. And I really did understand. Of course, I didn’t plan for anything to happen between Rick and me. What loving sister ever would? I knew what was right. But, of course, one rarely does plan for these types of things.
One night, a few weeks after my conversation with Mom I found myself in an undesirable situation. Christmas was always a busy time but this particular year it was extra busy because Dad was opening a second store in a nearby town. This demanded a lot of Dad’s time and so I was left to run the store many times on my own. Thankfully, it was always with one of the local high school kids that helped us out, as Dad had Rick at the new store more often than not. I found this a huge relief and honestly believed that my feelings were waning and I was ready to move on with life. But then, just a week before Christmas, came that one unexpected and dreaded night. Dad, completely unaware of my feelings, left Rick and me alone at the store.
As we were closing for the night, we ended up in the back store room together. I had tried so hard to avoid this moment, always being so careful to not be alone with my sister’s fiancé. But when the moment finally presented itself, I caved. I am ashamed to admit it, but all of those feelings hid deep inside rushed to the surface and I caved.
I am pretty sure Rick didn’t mean for it to happen, either. Although I have always wondered about that. I guess I’ll never know.
My face grew hot as I remembered the rest of that night. What had I been thinking? My parents were very moral people. We didn’t go to church but I was raised right. I definitely knew the difference between right and wrong and that this was so wrong. How in the world could I have sacrificed the friendship of my sister and destroyed my family for a few stolen moments? I realized the sheer stupidity and blatant immorality of it all immediately afterwards.
But it was too late. Within a year, life had utterly and completely changed forever: Evie had sworn she would never forgive me and moved away to California. Rick disappeared from the scene altogether and none of us ever saw him again. And I was a single mom to a baby girl who looked an awful lot like Rick. I named her Greta.