Rachel’s Contrition: Chapter 1

Sophia Institute Press

Every day in Lent, read a chapter of Michelle Buckman's award-winning novel, brought to you by the Aleteia Book Nook

In memory of

Durelle, Logan, Jason, and Joshua,

cradled in the arms of heaven

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Rachel’s Contrition


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I have to act civil when I see him. That was part of the agreement. So, I plaster a fake smile on my face and bat my eyelashes at him.

“Hello, Sinclair. I hope you had a nice weekend.”

“Rachel.” He says it as if my name is an answer.

His real name is Joseph Sinclair Winters, Jr., but his daddy goes by Joe, so he was stuck with Sinclair, which suits him better anyway with the highfalutin family he comes from. It also suits his sophisticated looks — his soft face and thick black hair, with serious eyes staring out behind those thin gold spectacles of his. Not ruggedly handsome like a guy in a women’s magazine, but the kind you’d look for in Forbes; the kind voted Most Likely to Succeed in high school.

He has an IQ off the charts. Intelligent but no common sense, his mother says. She knew what I was at first glance. He probably agrees with her nowadays.

I agree with his mom about his lack of common sense. How else could he forget about our baby? He remembers now. He forgot only once. But that was enough to change our lives forever, and enough to end hers. Me, I’ll never forget our baby, ever. Just thinking of her sends a shooting pain through my gut.

The parking lot is full of cars, but we’re the only people standing out in the midday sun. We could be open with each other right now. No one would witness our conversation and pass it on during some social tête-à-tête. We could say what’s really on our minds, we could come to terms with the truth, but we don’t. We used to have so much to say to each other that we could stay up till the wee hours and not run out of words until our lips found better ways to communicate, but lately Sinclair doesn’t even answer my polite questions. I think of all we’ve been to each other and wither inside.

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