Fiction Christian Friendship

Melvina kicked off her pumps. In stocking feet, skates down the hall into the living room, pirouettes in front of the sofa and flops on it giggling. Still got it. With her head back and arms spread, she inhales.

No conversations, meals to plan, or places to go tonight or tomorrow.

Enjoying her own company, something she discovered in her youth, but marriage, motherhood and devotion to Christ changed her perspectives. To engage others a challenge for her. Opportunities arose from the neighbor who asked for help to search the community for her runaway dog to Corine, a free-spirited colleague who, after years of working together, latched onto her.

She plucked the remote off the sofa table and turned on the ceiling fan. The light breeze dissipating the perspiration on her forehead. After a few minutes she jumps off, skips into the master bedroom and chooses a book. She plans to read in bed until the wee hours of the morning. A quick shower follows.

Melvina ate sparsely all week to prepare for the evening's indulgence. Frozen vegan pizza, meatless meatballs, and a combination beverage dessert. Root beer float with real vanilla ice cream.

She had another decision. Which classic sitcom to binge?

Melvina dug out the plaid picnic blanket. Laid it on the living room floor between the sofa and TV cabinet. If the children saw me. She hummed, chewing the first bite of crispy dough, tangy sauce, and gooey cheese.

She ate slowly, enjoying each morsel, laughing at the 70s show she used to watch Saturday evenings with her parents and siblings.

Her phone vibrated on the sofa table. She stopped chewing and looked over her shoulder. "Who could that be?"

Not her husband. She checked in with him while the pizza heated. Within ear shot of his fishing buddies, he didn't want to talk long. Their children mostly called in need of a favor or money, plus she spoke with each earlier in the week. They had plans and knew hers. Might be an emergency? More likely a spam call.

The phone stopped ringing. Melvina rewound the few seconds she missed, pressed play. The phone pulsated again.

She let it ring out. Took another bite before checking.


Melvina swallowed. The piece stuck in her throat. Coughing, she rushed to the blanket and sipped the float. After several draws, the piece scratched its way down, lodging in her chest. She slapped and hacked multiple times before it cleared.

Family, friends and colleagues knew of her solitary weekend plans, Corine the most. But she continued to convince Melvina her choice of going home alone on a Friday evening instead of dinner and drinks with the team a terrible decision.

Although they bonded over running, recipes and relationships. Lately, Corine seemed preoccupied during their lunch conversations. She even asked Melvina to pray for her.

The phone app showed 1 message. Melvina opened and played the voicemail. Sniffling and distant voices, the only sounds before the message cut out.

She pressed call back.

Corine answered after a couple of rings. "I…. Him…. Her."

Loud music separated the broken words. "Can you move someplace quieter?" Melvina yelled.

The sounds faded.

"Better?" Corine slurred.

"Yes. Where are you.?"

"Rascals by your house."

Melvina bumped against the table. "How did you end up there?"

"Need to talk."

"Are you expecting me to come to Rascals?"

Corine snickered. "Nope. I'm coming to your house."

Melvina attempted to finish the pizza, but it lost its gusto. She covered the rest with foil, shoved it in the refrigerator and dumped the float in the sink.

She took several deep breaths. This is what you're supposed to do.

An hour after they spoke, Corine had not arrived. Rascals, a Bar Restaurant in the shopping center less than five miles away, shouldn't take long, even with the present downpour. Melvina dialed Corine. It went to voicemail. Her heart pattered to the beat of the rain hitting the living room window.

The bell dinged.

Water dripped off her hair onto her shoulders and her top clung to her like a reused plastic food wrap.

"Stand here."

Corine swayed onto the Home Sweet Home mat. "Alright."

Melvina dashed upstairs, grabbed beach towels, a terry robe and laundry basket. She gave Corine the items. "Dry yourself, I'll get footwear." She found a pair of flip flops with the tag still on in her closet.

"Here." Melvina placed the slippers near the mat. "I'll be in the kitchen."

"You're the best." Corine spluttered. Her sour breath burst into Melvina's nose.

At the sink, Melvina grabbed the apple scented dish detergent and sniffed. Once the smell vanished, she perked coffee and heated soup from the freezer.

Corine wiped her nose on the robe sleeve. "Mel, sorry for disturbing your alone time." Tears ran down her face.

"Have a seat. I made you soup." Melvina sat the bowl and cup of coffee in front of a trembling Corine. She prepared herself a cup and sat.

"Thanks." Corine slurped the hot soup and coughed. "Spicy the way I like it."

"You gave me the recipe."

Corine's upper lip twitched. "He was with her."


"Frank. He didn't see me. Do you think God wanted me to know?"

Melvina put the spoon down. Corine's sudden interest in spiritual matters gave Melvina hope for her unconventional friend but also curious about the change.

She thought a Bible verse might be the answer. None came to mind. "Truth is revealed in many forms. We ignore our instinct."

"You're right. I suspected but…" Corine hiccupped. "He treated me nice."

"Are you going to tell him?

Corine lowered her head. "Can I stay here?"

Melvina knew helping her friend was more important than her own satisfaction, but annoyance swelled up in her at Frank

She made the bed in her eldest daughter's room. But Corrine wasn't sleepy. She wanted to talk.

Over the next two hours Corine recited every detail of her life from graduating High School up till meeting Frank at a social media hook up.

"Kind and funny. I thought him a phony. Every time I downplayed his actions, he stepped them up. When he introduced me to his family, I knew he cared for me. Months leading up to our wedding were the best I experienced. He suggested we wait until our wedding night. He was getting it from her." Corine said.

"Could I be jumping to conclusions? Maybe the woman was a relative or co-worker. He had plans after work." Corine used a battered napkin to wipe her eyes. "I feel like an idiot."

She ran into the bathroom and shut the door. Mel left her alone. Washed dishes, put away the blanket, hung Corine's wet clothes and the towels. Tasks complete, she returned to the bedroom. Corine had not.

Melvina knocked. "You okay?" She turned the knob. Locked.

The ventilation fan whirred. She pounded on the door. "Corine, open the door!" No response.

She rummaged through the junk drawer, found a flat head screwdriver, and unlocked the door, inching it open. On the floor, propped against the tub, chin in chest, Corine snored.

July 29, 2021 23:22

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