Flash Fiction: The Fears of Love

The Fears of Love

by Susan Sage

Lillian stood looking through the clearance rack of dresses. No matter what she chose, either her grandmomma or mother would not approve. One wanted a fit and flare, the other demanded a mermaid. Why did wedding dress shopping have to be so difficult? Wasn’t it supposed to be fun? Of course, because Lillian waited too late for a custom dress, now she needed to pick from sample dresses once tried on by other women. She picked up a simple A-line gown.

“You know what?” Lillian strode to a chair near the mirrors with the choice draped over her arm and plopped down. “This is getting overwhelming. I don’t want the styles either of you do.” Tears crowded her eyes. “Dad hasn’t given me enough to find anything even close to what I would want to be seen in. He has plenty of money for golf, for Evan’s car, and for all the hobbies they share.” She blew her nose with a proffered tissue. Grandmomma laid a hankie on her granddaughter’s hand. Lillian took the cloth and wiped her face.

“Now dear,” her mother’s drawled words still sounded like a scolding masquerading as comfort, even after all these years.

Lillian shook her head. Would she ever get over the feeling her mother simply pacified her? “Please don’t go on. You’ve always taken Dad’s side not to mention favoring Evan.” Lillian looked up in time to watch her mother run toward the sign which read bathroom. Head dropped. Shoulders lowered. “Why did I have to say that out loud?”

Her grandmomma sat in the chair next to her, lifted her hand, and stroked it with her own wrinkled, bone-gnarled fingers. “What do you think?”

“What?” Lillian turned to Grandmomma Esther. “I don’t know … “

“I think you do.”

The music in the wedding store grated on Lillian’s nerves. Every song about happy endings, forever love, and all the visions of a life she’d never experienced. Her parent’s marriage ended before she turned thirteen. She stayed with her mom, while Evan moved in with their father since he would go to college the next year. Why hadn’t either of the men in her life fought for her? They both acted like they didn’t care, in fact, they came across as if glad to get rid of her.

How she’d missed her dad. At one time, she’d been special to him—at least that’s what he said. Every day he came home from work, walked in the door, and yelled, “Where’s my princess?” She would run for the door and jump into the air at the top of the landing. He always caught her, twirled her around, and kissed the top of her head, until she grew too tall for the leap.

Lillian lifted her hand to touch her chest where the memory landed. “What did I do to make him quit loving me?” Her shoulders now shook as she sobbed.

“You didn’t do anything wrong.” Grandmomma’s arm rested on Lillian’s shoulder, pulled her toward herself, and stroked her granddaughter’s arm. “Your father went through a rough time.”

“Please don’t excuse him.”

“Facts aren’t excuses, they are just facts. I think when my son made his decision to leave your mom, he couldn’t figure out how to deal with the reality that you were turning into a young woman.” Grandmomma’s chuckle rang over the now-sickening music. “With only having brothers, as you know, he had no clue what to do with a girl.”

“He could have stayed more involved with my life. He never came to school concerts, sports events, or even the play I starred in at church.”

“I think he would agree that he made mistakes. How much money did he tell you he’d give you?”

“He said to buy a nice dress.”

“He didn’t mention an amount?”

Lillian lowered her chin and shook her head.

Another pat on the arm, then Grandmomma pulled away, turned Lillian’s body toward her until they were facing each other, and lifted her granddaughter’s chin. “So, you’re blaming him for overspending on Evan and choosing to believe he doesn’t love you as much as your brother.” Grandmomma’s head bobbed. “Dear Lilly, he has no clue how much dresses cost now, and you’re believing he’ll keep back what you need. But more than that, you’re still holding his past against him. Yet you know very well, he’s tried in the past couple of years to spend more time with you.”

Again, Lillian’s head dropped to her chest.

“I’m so afraid years from now Chase will decide he doesn’t love me and will leave.” Again, Lillian shook with weeping.

“That’s what this is about then.” Lillian’s mother said from beside her daughter.

“Mom, I’m so sorry I said what I did.” The two hugged for several moments.

“Lilly, do you love Chase?”

A silent nod.

“Do you believe he loves you?” Mom’s soft hand caressed Lillian’s face.

She looked into her mother’s deep brown eyes. “Yes, I do.”

“Are you sure God wants you and Chase to marry?”

Without hesitation, Lillian responded with her full voice. “I absolutely do.” She watched the nod between the two women she loved most in the world.

“Then quit fearing what might happen and trust God with today and with your future. Now, we’d better find you a dress …” Her mom touched the garment Lillian still held across her lap, “one you’ll actually love wearing.”

About the Author

New to north Idaho, Susan Sage and her husband are enjoying getting to know the new area. She continues to work on her craft writing about God’s purpose and sovereignty in all aspects of life.

She enjoys writing devotionals and flash fiction. She enjoys mentoring other writers who are new to the craft.

You can find her on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and on her website.

You can read Susan’s “Flash Fiction” column on the 2nd Thursday each month here at Mustard Seed Sentinel.

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