"Faith, what's taking you so long?" My mom yells.
I groan and drag myself to the living room. "I don't want to go to church. I'm tired."
"You should have gone to bed earlier." Mom tries to wrestle Blair into her coat while Blake runs circles around them. "Could you help me, please?"
I grab my overactive brother before he can get in another round and prop him on my hip.
"Sister, no! I'm not a baby," Blake protests and arches his back.
"Yeah, but Sister just loves holding you."
"Great, teach him sarcasm at the age of three." Mom huffs her hair from her freshly made up face and pushes me towards the door.
"It's not the worst thing he'll learn, Mom."
"You're right, Faith; but couldn't his home be a positive place? I'm so sick of your attitude. And you wonder why I want you to attend church."
I don't answer. She always has something to say about attitude lately. I help with the twins and I make good grades. What more does she want from me?
I set Blake on the ground and drop onto the couch, waiting for her to grab all the necessary attachments that come along with twins and looking good at church. Last week she shopped at some new Christian bookstore and bought Bible covers for me and her. I scoffed at the idea of being caught dead with a stupid angel pictured carrying case for a Bible. I mean, come on!
“Faith, please stop with the attitude.”
“What do you mean? I’m not doing anything.”
Mom sighs and shakes her head. “Exactly.”
Whatever. I stand up and heave Blake onto my hip. After strapping him into his car seat, I slam the car door and exhale loudly while Mom is still arguing with the lock on the door. I hate ruining the last day of my weekend away from school by getting up early and sitting through a sermon of contradictions.
In the car, Mom turns the radio on Q-Heart. The local Christian radio station and I stare out the window. Lately it seems like all of our drives are like this. She’s this new person that I don’t know anymore. Like she says, “Son of a beehive,” instead of “Son of a bitch!” all of a sudden. Instead of jamming Bob Seger or Credence Clearwater Revival while we cleaned, she bought stock in the Worship Series CDs. I don’t think the transformation is really flattering. Especially when it infringes on my rights.
We pull into the parking lot and Mom turns to me. “Don’t you feel the weight lifted from your shoulders already?” Her grin is wider than a half moon.
I can only stare back and wonder where she stashed her alcohol. Well, I’m kidding. Even before the whole Christian thing Mom never liked alcoholic drinks.
Blair and Blake start screaming to get out from the back seat which is the perfect opportunity to escape my mother’s lunatic gaze. Blair had pulled her barrette from the top of her head, which is about the only thing that distinguishes her from Blake.
“Blair, where’s your pretty?” I ask her with as much cheer as I can muster at eight thirty in the morning.
She looks at me with wide blue eyes and a curious grin. “Find it, sister! Hide and find!”
I can’t contain my smile. Hide and find is our special game we started a year ago. It began with her defiance to find her shoes. I pretend to hide her shoes and tell her to find and it magically works.
I unbuckle the safety gear that rivals a race car seat and see the shiny pink barrette in the bottom of her seat. I lift her out and grab the barrette while Mom coaxes Blake out of the car. Blair smiles at me, drool gathering at the corners of her mouth while I clip her hair in a high ponytail of blonde curls. She gets on my nerves a lot, but I can’t help but love her during these times of endearing cuteness.
The church is crowded and loud as usual when we first walk in. Music plays from the huge stage up front and people everywhere are hugging, laughing and talking. Save for a few surly old people that don’t like the new live band.
My chest is burning so I pass Blair off to Mom and find the water fountain. I didn’t wake up in time for breakfast this morning and that always makes me feel funny.
“Save me a seat, Faith,” Mom calls.
I wave and make my way through the maze of people trying to avoid any eye contact.
“Faith! Faith Novack, you come here this instant!” The high pitched shriek belongs to my Mom’s best friend, Meagan. Meagan has a daughter named Charity and our parents think it’s the coolest thing since sliced bread. Faith and Charity. The only problem is that Charity is a stuck up snob and I hate hanging out with her.
I wave. “Hi Meagan, how are you?”
As soon as I approach my insides are squeezed together mercilessly while Meagan kisses me on top of my head, whispering strange words in another language. I close my eyes to keep from showing her daughter my disdain. How did she live with this woman?
“Oh, darling, why do you need prayer this morning?” she asks brazenly.
It doesn’t matter how often it happens that these people assume I need prayer, it always grates on my nerves. “I must be tired.”
Meagan pouts and studies my face. “Maybe. You’re getting circles. You know Charity has a night time devotional she uses and now she sleeps like the protected lamb she is.” She looks to her daughter in admiration.
Charity looks up from her Bible which is sitting open on her lap. “I’d be happy to share it with you.”
I’m ready to throw up all over her designer clothes. Instead, I smile as sweetly as I can and decline. “Really, that’s okay. I’d hate for you to lose sleep.”