A Courageous Battle (Chapter 5, page 2 of 4)

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Chapter 5

At home, her marriage was grim. Roger never included her in school functions. If she asked why, he said she wouldn't fit in with his professional workmates. They didn't have friends.

Roger's father had gone into a nursing home and his mother had moved to the States to live with Roger's brother. Lacey retreated into her books and spun daydreams where she starred as the happy heroine with friends, and love, and fulfillment.

Lacey's tolerance of Roger's disinterest and miserliness faded and they started an endless battle over money.

"I thought you'd go back to work after the kids were born," Roger complained.

"I would, except that what it will cost for a sitter will mean there's nothing left."

"Well, then," he retorted, "If I have to make all the money, then I get to say how it's spent."

"I could try to get work on Saturday and Sunday, if you will mind the kids."

"Are you kidding? I put up with brats all week, and you want me to do it on weekends too?"

Lacey just sighed.

As the children grew, and began clamoring for his attention, Roger became more frustrated. He spent his time curling and snowmobiling in the winter, and in the summer he went with Mario and Joe for weeks-long wilderness trips.

LACEY'S STRUGGLE to choose between buying food or other things became impossible. One day, her stomach knotting with anxiety, she asked Roger for more money for food and told him Julian needed a two-wheel bike.

Enraged, he screamed at her, "Look, bitch, I bust my chops every day while you sit at home and read books. You always want something. Your goddamned brats always want something.

I've got a fucking female foreigner for a boss who always wants something. The goddamned teaser girls are always coming on to me as if they didn't know what that does to a man. There's never enough money. Your fucking brat doesn't need a bike. Get off me!"

Taken aback, she ran from the room. Seven-year-old Julian was standing by the door, staring at them. Lacey reached out to him, but he turned and fled. In tears, she went to her bedroom, quietly shut the door and collapsed on the bed, sobbing into her pillow.

AS JULIAN'S ninth birthday approached, Lacey decided it was time to look for work. A 'Help Wanted' sign in a local bookstore beckoned her for a full week before she could summon the courage to ask for the job. The manager wanted a resume.

"Oh, I'm sorry, I do not have one. I've been at home raising children. But I finished high school. I am a reader, and I'm honest and smart. Please give me a chance."

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