Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Divorce Meeting

Fifteen-year-old Jessica Ingram knew what this evening's "family meeting" was about, even though Mom would not tell her anything spe­cific. Jessica's older sister, Karen, and younger brother, Mark, knew too. You'd have to be blind, deaf and brain­less not to understand what was going on. Dad brought a couple of pizzas for dinner tonight. What a cruel joke—to sit down and casually eat pizza while dismantling the family. "Your mother and I have something to tell you," Dad announced finally. "Our problems have gotten worse instead of better since I moved out. The separation and counseling haven't helped. So we have decided to get a divorce.

We want you kids to know that this is not about you; it's about Mom and me. We both love all three of you, and we will—" Karen jumped to her feet so quickly that her chair toppled backward and hit the hardwood floor with a crash. "This is so sick!" she screamed at both parents. "If you really loved us, you wouldn't do this to us. Why can't you work things out? I don't think you want to try." Dad tried to interrupt a couple of times, but it was like spitting into the wind. The more Karen blazed, the more Jessica could feel her own anger and hurt. It was as if her older sister were venting for both of them. And when Karen started crying, Jessica felt a swell in her throat and a warm tear on her cheek. In less than two minutes—which seemed more like two hours to Jessica—it was all over.

Dad was looking at Jessica when he said, "Maybe when school starts in September, someone would like to come live with me." Karen had told Jessica that she was pretty sure Dad was already dating and that he probably wouldn't want the girls or Mark living with him, for obvious reasons. This was a new fly in the soup for Jessica. She wasn't about to choose between her parents, but neither was she ready to become a ping-pong ball bouncing between them. Jessica's father had a business appointment at 7:30, so he left a few minutes after 7:00. Jessica loved her dad, but she was glad to see him go.

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