A Courageous Battle (Chapter 5, page 1 of 4)

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Chapter 5

SURELY NO DAY in my life will be as happy as this one! thought Lacey, as she and Roger moved into their new house a few months later. It was a split-level with three bedrooms and a den. Every penny of Lacey's money had gone to the down payment, but she didn't care; she had her Roger!

At first they were compatible enough. Roger said he liked having the garage to putter around in, and Lacey saw him swell with pride the day Joe and Mario picked him up for curling practice and Mario said, "Hey, man, nice digs!"

Lacey worked at an insurance company, and used that income to buy things for the coming baby, and for the house.

She made drapes and bedspreads on an old sewing machine she got at a church sale. Together, they bought furniture from 'contents for sale' ads. The Dominion Food Stores featured a 'Masters' Series' promotion. Lacey collected grocery tapes and paid $12.95 for a 'Van Gogh'. She hung this lovingly above the second-hand sofa in her living room and stood back to view it with as much pleasure as a millionaire could get from the real thing.

Roger reached for her, most nights, in bed. Lacey responded warmly, but it was always over so fast, and he rolled on his side and went to sleep immediately. It's not like it is in books. Would I feel that ecstasy if he took more time? She was too shy to ask Roger about it.

Lisa was born in May. A shockwave of emotion engulfed Lacey as she held the tiny human; at last, someone would be close to her forever. The precious early months of the infant's life, as Lacey suckled her and snuggled close, helped to ease her pain as she realized that Roger did not love her and had no interest in the baby. Without a job, Lacey's tiny cache of money dwindled, and Roger was outraged about the cost of running a house and providing for a child on one income. Lacey was so grateful that Roger had married her, and saved her from the agonizing choice of abortion or shame and poverty, that she didn't confront him; tried instead to stretch each dollar and swallow her disappointment at his cruel disdain.

Jana was born three years after Lisa, and finally Julian, in 1974. Lacey reveled in caring for them. She hugged them and they did not turn away from her; she kissed them and they kissed her back. Frequent visits to the library were rituals, as were daily trips to the park, where Lacey chatted with the other mothers while their children played. She told elaborate tales about her handsome husband and the restaurants they went to and the vacations they were planning. But she never accepted invitations to their homes because she could not reciprocate as a hostess. One day, she noticed the sidelong, pitying looks the women exchanged when she spoke, and realized they knew she was making things up. Mortified, she sat quietly after that, trying to block out the happy talk and gossip that swirled around her.

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