My best friend in primary school was Chantelle. We were best friends for two years before we both moved to different high schools & lost all contact.
Right after high school, I decided to track down some old school mates & stumble upon her again.
Going back in time to those two years, we spent almost every weekend together, with me mostly staying over at her house. She stayed quite far away, on a small farm.
I loved going to her house. Those were some of my favorite moments in life before I stopped counting them.
We used to climb trees, create scavenger hunts for each other & steal ripe vegetables from their gardens & hold picnics in the field. Very fun times!
Her parents were very nice. Always friendly to me, always caring. Coming from a semi-broken home, I craved this, I loved every moment of it.
Mr. B scared me a little as he was the strict parent while Mrs. B was happy, pleasant & always baking something delicious for us to pack for our “secret” picnics.
Chantelle’s family also had something in her family life that I didn’t. Religion.
My dad says he doesn’t believe in anything; just himself. So I guess that makes him an atheist. I don’t know. He doesn’t classify himself as one, but what else can you classify it as?
My mom says she’s a Christian but she only really goes to church when she needs to get new library books (there’s a light romance section) & when there are gatherings to celebrate a Russian holiday. So not much of a Christian.
So I didn’t really get raised in a religious home. I recall a time I had a fever & no medication could bring it down, my mom said prayers over me. That’s the closest I saw her being a “Christian”?
Back to the perfect family. Before every meal, they said grace. Before bedtime, they said prayers. Before leaving their home, they said prayers.
In those days, my favorite saying was “Gheez” which I was banned from saying because it sounded too much like “Jesus”. I was allowed to say “Yoh” though, which was nice… At least that had no sound reference to “Yahweh”..
For those who don’t know what that means, it’s a form of the Hebrew name of God used in the Bible.
Now on Sundays, after Bible study, you had to go sit in your room & do nothing. As in a rule in the house. No watching TV, no listening to music, no playing with toys in the room (what a temptation!!). You had to stay in the room, only excused to go to the bathroom & to eat. No other contact with anyone outside. Mr. B even checked up on us to make sure we were doing nothing. Even reading wasn’t allowed, as I was scolded for the first time I tried that.
That was the only thing that sucked about being at Chantelle’s house over weekends. Though sometime’s all that was even better than being at home.
Everything bad was forbidden in their house. Swearing was obvious. I never heard her parents swearing. I heard them fight only once in my whole two years visiting their home. That was everything compared to what I experienced often in my home.
Being the perfect parents, I expected them of doing nothing wrong. Always happy, always friendly. Always loving.
One night, Chantelle & I couldn’t sleep. It was pretty late & we decided to sneak out to watch some TV. Little did we know there was someone already occupying that space. Mrs. B was alone in the living room, watching a movie. Not just ANY movie, an x-rated one. Even with the sound pretty low, we could still hear the distinctive moaning of a woman. Embarrassed, both of us went back into the room & fell asleep. We never mentioned the incident. I mean, what were we suppose to say to each other after that!
I thought to myself, was a Christian allowed to watch movies like that; even if you were an adult? Surely that was somehow seen as adultery, no? Adultery isn’t just a physical thing, but a mental thing as well.
My views of the happy couple changed a little – relationship wise as well as the Christian part. We were told to behave a certain way, shouldn’t they follow the same principal.
I guess there is always more that what meets the eye..
Today I know that Mr. & Mrs. B are divorced. I don’t know what happened, when or how. But I learnt from all this, that no matter how perfect a family looks, there are always cracks in the image & there are always secrets. Some exposed, & some hidden.