Tears Sunday after a very pregnant Janet arrives home.
The story so far; Janet and Santie come from very different backgrounds, but they have one thing in common. Both have been raped.
Janet decides not to terminate the pregnancy; it's time to tell her parents. But how does she explain that her lover is another woman?
Tears Sunday, chapter 23 from A Family Affair, was last updated by Bernard Preston on 9th February, 2023.
Thought: Tears Sunday is an unedited, early version of our trilogy. If you have enjoyed 31 chapters of early script, isn't time to lash out and spend 99c and enjoy the fully edited version, with proper typesetting? Download them onto your Kindle, smartphone or tablet.
Book I, The Bostonians, is free here. Books II and III are also available on Amazon for $1.14 each, except that they fudge the prices regularly without informing their authors.
A family affair is Bernard Preston's fourth book; it's a trilogy.
Tears Sunday finds Janet with Mum and Dad; but how do tell your parents you have a lover and that person is another woman?
Janet invited Santie to come for Christmas and meet her parents. Officially, as her partner. It was a difficult weekend, awkward at every turn, but finally Janet’s parents accepted that their daughter loved another woman, and it was their responsibility to accept Santie. It wasn’t easy for either of them, but they did it graciously. As Barbara said later to her sister, Janet’s aunt: ‘They seem to find it perfectly natural!’ To which her sister responded: ‘At least Janet has someone to love her. I don’t think anyone can describe it as natural, but for some it seems stronger than if it were!’
‘And if for them it’s preferable to what we think is natural, is it for us to judge?’ asked Barbara.
There was another awkward moment just as they were finishing their Christmas dinner. Mr Jansen phoned. ‘There’s a call for you Janet.’
‘Who is it, Dad?’
‘I’m not sure. He wouldn’t say, just said he was a friend.’
Janet walked through to the passage where the phone was kept. Her parents still didn’t have a cordless phone. The thought crossed her mind that a new phone would have made a nice Christmas present but afterwards she was glad that it was an old fashioned piece, very relieved that she never had to take that call in front of her parents.
‘Hello, this is Janet.’
‘Ah, hello Janet, this is Jan. Merry Christmas. I’m glad I managed to get hold of you. How are you?’ He couldn’t have been smoother and nicer.
‘I’m well enough considering that I’m eight and half months pregnant,’ she answered icily. ‘How did you get this number?’
‘Simple. Out of the directory. Yes, it’s the pregnancy that I am actually phoning about. I’ve made a few enquiries, and it seems that it is quite in order for you to go to a small private clinic and have an abortion. What do you think?’
‘I think you are the most evil person I have ever met, Mr Jansen. This baby has been fully formed for six months. I could have a Caesarean section tomorrow, and it would be a perfect child. He is fifty percent your flesh and blood and you want to murder him! People like you make me sick, Mr Jansen.’
‘Hey, wait a moment Janet. I can understand how upset you are, I just thought this might be a way out of your predicament.’
‘What you really mean is a way out of your predicament, Mr Jansen. I’m sorry, but I am not going to murder your baby, and I will see you in court.’ With that she hung up, and quietly let herself out into the garden.
She walked slowly passed past? the swimming pool, and her favourite avocado tree, and then along a wild path between two rows of leculias. The first buds were opening and she soaked up the honeyed scent, dissolving in the tears running down her cheeks. How could he possibly think there could be a friendly entente between them, the rapist and the desecrated, the would-be murderer and the mother of the victim? She sat on a bench overlooking a small formal garden, edged with a carefully trimmed boxwood hedge. The last of the alstrameria lilies were still dressed in their bright summer colours, beginning to look leggy and untidy, ready for winter.
Eventually she heard Santie calling, and gave an answering yahoo. ‘We were wondering what happened to you. Who was that on the phone?’ asked Santie.
‘That bastard Jansen. He suggested I have an abortion.’
Santie didn’t know what to say, knowing that any comment supporting Jansen would probably mean an abrupt end to their relationship. ‘Just a few weeks before term. He’s a murderer.’ she replied with great passion, but secretly, guiltily, acknowledging her contradictory feelings.
Janet looked at her friend with a wan smile, and reached out her hand to Santie. ‘Come and sit. We haven’t had a chance to talk for such a long time.’
They sat in silence for a while, each lost in her own thoughts. Santie was wondering if she could again broach the subject of an adoption, but Janet was thinking broodingly of the tiny life that was at that moment playing football on her bladder, announcing enough, enough of being caged up for so long.
Santie held her tongue, and Janet gently dragged her partner’s hand over onto her enormous belly. ‘This is going to be a big, robust and strong baby. I can feel it. I want him to be your baby too, Santie. Our child.’
As the evening shadows began to lengthen, and mosquitoes started to unsettle them, they wended their way back up through the garden where Janet spent a blissful childhood, stopping for a moment to sit on the swings she had shared with Jenny. The evening meal was a happy evening for Janet and her mother as they chatted about the coming birth, but Santie and Henry found the meal stiff and awkward. Neither knew what to say, and the small talk never led into any meaningful conversation.
Bernard Preston writes this time in a quite different genre to us chiropractic anecdotes.
Sunday morning dawned, dark and foreboding. Late autumn rain was not common, and the long dry winters were a trial to all, especially to those who loved gardening. Barbara raised her hands in the air in a strange gesture of joy, welcoming the sheets of rain that started falling during breakfast. It didn’t stop them enjoying the meal. Henry had baked cornbread the day before and was toasting slices under the grill. Janet fried the mushrooms and was debating with her mother about whether to add a few cloves of garlic. Santie sat at the small kitchen table, feeling rather out of it and looked gloomily out at the rain, knowing that she would have to drive home alone shortly after lunch.
And so began what became known as Tears Sunday. First came the pain. Janet grasped her head and cried out: ‘Oh, my head is suddenly so sore.’ They had just finished the homemade muesli that Barbara mixed herself, strewn with pecan nuts from their own tree, and sunflower and flax seeds. They poured on great dollops of yoghurt and streamed fresh honey from Henry’s hives.
Barbara was sizzling the eggs in olive oil, and the others were busying themselves with toast and clearing the dishes.
‘Is it a headache, darling?’ said Barbara anxiously, turning to her daughter. ‘Henry, watch the eggs, man.’ She had been started a midwife training before turning to teaching, so she knew something of the dangers of those last weeks. She kicked herself for not keeping a note of Janet’s blood pressure, terrified of a burst aneurism in her brain.
‘I don’t know, but a terrible pain has started in my head. My ankle too. I’m sorry, but I think I had better lie down.’
‘Here, come lie on the couch,’ said Barbara. ‘Henry, turn the gas off.’ Barbara and Santie each took an arm and led Janet through to the lounge.
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It was probably no more than ten or fifteen minutes later that the phone rang, bringing with it the first set of tears. Henry answered, and they all came running to the hall when they heard his cry. It was neither a groan, nor a cry but a primordial sound of a mortally injured man. He was unable to speak, the phone still clutched in his hand when Barbara grasped it from him: ‘Who is it?’
‘Mom, it’s John here. I’m afraid I have dreadful news. Jenny was killed half an hour ago, coming back from church. I’m at the scene.’ She could hear him sobbing. ‘She must have died instantly. A bus was passing a truck on a blind rise it seems, and there was no escape. I’m so sorry, Mom, I must hang up now. I can’t talk any more.’
Barbara put her hand to her mouth, white with shock and like her husband unable to speak. Janet called out from the lounge: ‘What is it? What’s happened?’
Within the hour Janet went into labour, two weeks early, and was delivered normally of a son, though it was long and arduous, after the sudden unexpected induction. Both Barbara and Santie stayed with her in the labour ward. She named her son Klein-Jan.
The next chapter: DARKNESS Family Affair ..
Abortion remains a vexed question in Christian circles, though completely accepted now in the non-Christian world.
Just this week I have contact with someone who has known all along that "something was wrong" with her first pregnancy. Ultrasound scans confirmed the baby was small but otherwise normal. Finally, at 24 weeks, the gynaecologist decided to do an amniocentesis. This lady received in the post yesterday a letter from the gynaecologist telling her that her baby has a rare genetic disease (one I've never heard of) and her child would be severely physically and mentally retarded.
It's now 27 weeks, and too late for an abortion anyhow.
What Jan Jansen was proposing was little short of murder. But aborting Klein-Jan three months earlier would have been just fine?
Abortion is the subject of one chapter in Stones in my Clog ... my latest book of anecdotes from the Chiropractic Coalface. How such issues do torment us.
Bernard Preston's passion not only concerns the odd things people do and say; he's also crazy about healthy slow food, made fast. It's the only way to prevent the slur of diseases like spina bifida that threaten our lives. Tears Sunday, or Monday for that matter, if you fall pregnant whilst having a deficiency of dietary folate, is a foregone conclusion.
Whether pregnant or not, likely to become pregnant or not, green leafy vegetables and salads are a vital part of sparkling good health. They also contain many of the phytosterols known to lower cholesterol and give cancer protection. These Broccoli facts and how to grow your own lettuce patch will interest you...
Lesbianism and homosexuality are as old as the human race, it would seem. That alone doesn't make it right or wrong. Many prominent people were homosexuals. Michelangelo for example, creator of one of the greatest art treasures of all time: The roof of the Sistine chapel. Oh, if only Tchaikovsky had been left in peace to create another thirty years of his genius. His piano concerto must surely be one of the greatest pieces ever written.
Two spinsters living together was once considered quite normal. No one consider the scandalous idea that they might be sleeping together. It was just for companionship, for sheer good economics...
Now lesbians are no longer afraid to "come out". You judge for yourself.
Is homosexuality wrong?
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