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I walked into the lobby of a beautifully renovated building and felt like I had stepped into a palace. I looked around and wondered what road you had to take in life to end up here. Why do some of us have crappy jobs and crappy lives while others live in buildings like this? How can this possible be fair?
"Excuse me, may I ask who you're here to see? I'll need to announce you." A pleasant looking older gentleman in a uniform smiled at me from behind a desk.
"Oh, I'm so sorry! I was just admiring how beautiful this place is. My name is Ginger Granger and I am here to see Kyle Morris. He's expecting me."
The gentleman looked at me with sympathy and what may have been fear as he asked, "Are you sure he's expecting you?"
"Yes, he is. We're old college friends." I was hoping the man believed I was actually capable of knowing someone who could afford to live in such a fancy place because I wasn’t convinced myself.
"OK, if you're sure you want to stay, I can announce you. Once I pick up that phone though you're on your own." He said with a straight face.
I couldn't help but laugh. This poor man must have been desperate for someone to talk to. "I'm sure I want to stay. Thank you."
He shook his head and picked up the phone. A few minutes later the elevator door pinged open and Kyle came walking out. He had definitely put on some weight, but he still looked good. He was dressed in a three-piece suit and his hair was longer than it had been in college. His eyes were blue and that seemed strange to me because when we were in college, I'm pretty sure he had brown eyes.
Kyle held out his arms to embrace me and I noticed that he was wearing two large rings on each of his hands and he had a large gold cross dangling from a very thick chain around his neck.
Oh my God, did Kyle grow up to be some kind of music rapper?
"Ginger, my child, come give me a hug. It has truly been a long time since we've seen each other. How have you been? I've prayed for you so many times over the years." As he came closer I noticed that he was wearing foundation on his face and mascara.
Oh dear Lord, please, not another gay one!
Kyle pulled me into a bear hug and while he held me there I heard him saying something about a father, a son and a ghost. I really didn't get what he was saying because I was busy just trying to
breathe. He was wearing a whole lot of some kind of cologne and it was horrible.
Finally, Kyle pulled away and took my hand, "Let's get you upstairs. You look exhausted and I can't wait for Reba and the kids to meet you." He smiled at me before giving a strange look to the man who was working the desk. I watched as the man took a step back and positioned himself to run away if the need arose.
Kyle then half drug me behind him as he headed for the elevator. I took a look back over my shoulder and saw the gentleman at the front desk crossing himself as if he had just said another prayer for me too.
The elevator door closed. We rode up in silence, but Kyle didn't let go of my hand. I was trying to decide what to say when the elevator doors opened and I found myself staring into the faces of his wife and four kids. They were all lined up according to height and smiling from ear to ear.
"Everyone, this is my friend, Miss Ginger Granger, you've all heard of her. Please, lets make her feel welcomed in our home." With that being said, the girls all curtsied and the boys bowed.
"Hello, it's very nice to meet all of you. You have a beautiful home." I said that, but so far all I had seen of their home was what I saw over the tops of their heads as they bowed and curtsied.
His wife stepped forward and extended her hand. "Please come in. You can leave your shoes here, by the elevator."
When she said that I looked down and for the first time noticed that I was the only one wearing shoes. However, there were six pairs of shoes, lined up by size, right outside of the elevator. I slipped mine off and put them on an empty mat on the other side of the elevator door. I didn't like doing it, but it was their home and I didn't want to offend anyone.
Kyle spoke up rather heartily and said, "Children, come with me while your mother shows Miss Granger where she can freshen up." They all walked away and it looked like a mini parade with Kyle leading the way.
Reba smiled and asked me to follow her. She led me to a very tacky gold painted door just across from the elevator and opened it so that I could see inside. "There are fresh towels and some soap for you in here. We ask that you wash off all of your make up. We don't allow the devil's paint in our home."
I was certain that I must have heard her wrong. I mean, 'devil's paint'? Who says stuff like that? "I'm sorry, what did you just say?"
Reba held her arms by her side, but I could see that she had her hands twisted into fists. "Miss Granger, I'm certain that you heard exactly what I said. If you wish to enter further into our home, then I have to insist that you clean your face. Please." She looked at me with the meanest, scariest smile on her face.
What could I do? Part of me wanted to run away, but an even bigger part of me wanted to stay and watch the freak show for awhile. How bad could the night go? We were in their home and their children were there. I stepped inside and closed the door behind me.
I spent several minutes snooping through the cabinets and drawers, but I didn't find anything exciting. This room obviously had no use other than washing the 'devil's paint' from the faces of their visitors. I washed my face and looked at myself in the mirror. I couldn't help but laugh. Now that the devil's paint was gone they were about to see just what the devil looked like!
I opened the door and found Reba waiting for me with her arms crossed under her breasts. I smiled. She smirked.
"OK, I'm all clean now." I said.
Reba uncrossed her arms and exhaled loudly as she said, "If only it were that easy."
"What's that supposed to mean?" I demanded to know.
She stepped up close to me. "You will stop this affair you're having with my husband now. If you're pregnant, you will have an abortion. You will not ask for money. And after you leave this home tonight, you will never be seen by anyone in my family again. Do you understand me?" Reba said with fire in her eyes.
"Are you crazy? I'm not sleeping with your husband! I haven't even seen him since we were in college!"
Reba took a step closer to me, lowered her voice and pointed her finger in my face. "Do you really think you're the first slut to come around here thinking she was going to replace me? Well, you're not and you won't. My husband has strayed in the past. He's a man. He's weak. That's what they do. But let me make myself very clear. I have worked hard to get the things I have and I am not about to let some cheap whore in a tacky outfit take anything away from me."
I was about to take my earrings off and fight the witch for calling my favorite outfit tacky, but she backed up and said in a louder voice, "Oh good, there you are. My husband will meet with you in his office." Then she smirked again and motioned for me to follow her.
I followed her like a good little robot. Something about that house just seemed to turn everyone into a robot.
She led me to a very large room with lots of books and religious stuff hanging all over the walls. I entered the room and found Kyle sitting in the middle of a leather sofa looking over some kind of
document. He looked up and smiled at me.
"You look so beautiful, Ginger. I hope you'll learn to stop hiding behind all that make up and let your natural beauty shine through." He looked toward his wife, "Reba, please give us a few minutes to talk. We'll be in for dinner shortly."
Reba curtsied and backed out of the door. She pulled it close as she left.
Kyle put the paper he was looking at down and motioned for me to have a seat on the sofa next to him. "I was just going over an essay that Abraham wrote. Reba home schools the children. We don't want them to get corrupted by the public school system and hate the elitist attitude that private schools instill. So, what is it that you are doing with your life?"
I looked back at the closed door and wondered if I should stay with Kyle or take my chances with Reba. I decided that I could probably take Kyle down easier than I could Reba so I stayed put.
Instead of sitting next to Kyle I moved and sat on a stool that was a good three feet away from him.
"I'm a teacher in a public school. What do you do?"
"Well, teaching is certainly a noble profession, Ginger. It's just a shame that they took prayer out of the schools though. Our society has suffered greatly since the powers that be made that mistake."
"I'm really not in the mood to tackle that subject with you. Kyle what happened? How did you get here? You used to be...you used to be fun."
He laughed and ran his hand back and forth over his chin as he decided how to answer. "I got lucky. I woke up one day and realized that my life was on the fast track to hell. I knew that I had to make changes and that I had to make amends for the things that I've done. I went online and got ordained as a minister. I started my own church. Now I have a cable access show that runs Monday through Friday at 4:30 AM here in the tri-state area."
"What did you ever do that was so bad you had to become someone with a robot wife and children?" I was amazed by the things he was saying.
Kyle laughed before he answered. "Reba can be rather intense. She is a wonderful wife and mother though. I'm afraid that I haven't always been the best husband, but she stays and loves me anyway. That's the way the Lord says things should be. I am a blessed man."
I was horrified by what I was hearing. "Kyle, just where did you find this Lord that you're talking about? I think someone should have a talk with him. After all, it's 2010, you know!"
"Ginger, you can find the Lord any place. He's here right now. He wants you to know that he loves you." Kyle stared at me like I was a child or something.
"Kyle, really?" I looked around in awe and confusion. "How did you go from being the happy party boy in college to being some kind of religious freak?"
"Are you ready to hear my testament, Ginger?" He smiled a strange, scary smile that made me feel dirty.
"Lay it on me, brother!" I said, wishing I had a Margarita and thinking that I was about to find out just how badly things could get.
Kyle took a deep breath and leaned back on the sofa. "Ginger, it isn't a pretty story. There are bound to be parts that you won't like. I apologize for that now and I will try to be as gentle as I can when I reach those areas. There are just some things that a lady should not have to hear."
"Are you kidding me? Those are going to be the best parts? I can't wait to hear this." I said in a raised voice.
Kyle looked at me with a frown on his face, but I swear that there was also a sparkle in his fake blue eyes.
"My story starts when I was a child and I did things to defy my parents. I wouldn't clean my room. I would talk back. I used the Lord's name in vain. From there I progressed to drinking and staying out late in high school. In college, I started having premarital sex with girls that had no morals. I didn't care anything for them. They were all just sex objects to me."
"Excuse me, I think I was one of those college girls and I do have morals. You slimy jerk!" I shouted at him.
"Ginger, please watch your language and your tone in my home. I have young innocent children. I warned you that this would not be easy to hear. Do you want me to continue?"
"By all means...continue." I waved my arms in the air letting him know that I was not happy, but that I planned on hearing his whole story.
"I feel awful about how I used you and every other girl that came into my life before I found the Lord. When I think back on all those "Theme Ugly" parties we had in college I am ashamed." Kyle lowered his head and pretended to cry.
"What's a 'Theme Ugly' party? I don't remember those."
"Oh Ginger, my child, I am so sorry. The guys and I used to all throw five dollars a piece into a big pot. We would then all go out and find the ugliest girl we could find and invite her to a party in our dorm. At the end of the night, the guy with the ugliest date won all the money."
I jumped up off of the stool so fast that I knocked it over. "Our first date was at a party in your dorm. Are you telling me that I was your ugly date?"
Kyle looked at me with tears actually rolling down his cheeks, "I'm not proud of it. If it makes you feel any better I never won the money. Besides, some of the guys thought you were kind of cute. That's the only reason we ever went out again."
"We dated for ten months!"
"Yes, we did."
"Oh, you son of a...."
"Please sit back down. I'll fast forward through the rest of my story. Now that I‘ve started it only seems right to finish."
I took a seat because it was the only way I could guarantee that I wasn't going to hit him.
"After college, I came to New York and got a job at a small publishing company. It didn't pay much, but part of my job was to entertain the clients when they were in town. That meant partying on the company dime. I partied better and longer than anyone else in the company. Then, one night I partied myself right into the drunk tank at the city jail.
The next morning, as I was being released, I saw Reba in the lobby. She was wearing an angel outfit. At first, I thought I was still drunk. I asked her if God had sent her to me and she said yes. She said that she was there to save my sorry ass. She said that I needed to give her fifty dollars for cab money so that God wouldn't be mad at me any more. I gave her the money and promised that I would get my life together.
After I started my church, I went back to the jail every Saturday morning and waited outside. I knew that eventually she would return to help some other lost soul. Finally, one day, about three months later, I saw her. She came out wearing the same angel outfit and I took her to breakfast. The rest of the story is obvious. She's my wife now and I have a very successful TV ministry."
Kyle leaned forward, looked me in the eyes and said, "The Lord sent me an angel. He can send one for you too, Ginger. Let me be your angel. Let me save you."
"Have you completely lost your mind? She wasn't sent to that jail by God. She had been arrested too and I‘m pretty sure she was doing a whole lot more than just getting drunk!"
Kyle stood and came toward me. "The Lord does work in mysterious ways, doesn't he? I think we should join the others for dinner now." He grabbed my hand and pulled me off the stool. He
started walking and I had no choice but to follow him. He had a death grip on my hand and I was hungry.