the price of love

Photo by Ihsan Aditya on

It took 15 minutes before Michelle finally believed her sister, Francie, who called to report that she got married over the weekend.

Part of the problem was that Michelle had never met her new brother-in-law. She didn’t even know his name. Francie only ever referred to him as her “Mexican Gum Drop”. He was 10 years her junior and barely spoke English which wasn’t a problem because, according to Francie, “they didn’t talk much anyway.” Francie had only met the man a few months ago when she moved into the apartment next to him.

Had it not been for Francie’s move, one that happened because she was escaping an abusive relationship, they never would have met. When Francie wasn’t sitting at work doing her graphic design job, she could be found camped out in front of the television with a family-sized sack of chocolate chip cookies and a two-liter bottle of cola. “Mexican Gum Drop” reportedly worked 11 hours every day as a busboy and worked out at the gym for two hours afterwards.

“Aren’t you going to congratulate me?” Francie’s voice sounded like an accusatory wimper that said, “My family never supports anything I do.”

Michelle was tempted to say, “Congratulations.” She had uttered that and similar words plenty of times in the past to placate her sister. But her mouth now refused to form that combination of vowels and consonants, as simple as it should have been for her to do.

She knew it was a matter of time before she would have to help Francie put her life back together after “Mexican Gum Drop” performed a Mexican hat dance all over it.

Francie would never see it coming.

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