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Moments of Truth

By Sandra D. Bricker

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Welcome to VERTICAL MAGAZINE FOR WOMEN’s
MomentsOfTruth.com
Moments of Truth aren’t limited to standing at the foot of a giant with nothing more than a sling and a stone, or looking up at the throne of Pharaoh demanding that he let your people go. As women – and especially as Christian women – we face Moments of Truth every day as we make daily choices.
How am I ever going to survive his betrayal? … Is this new guy worth dating?... What does this outfit say about me, and do I really want to speak that to the world?
Join me daily on this lifestyle blog as we explore the everyday Moments of Truth that come with being a woman navigating this world while striving to honor God at the same time. I believe we can do this together.
Regan Sloane




“Who can find a virtuous woman?
For her price is far above rubies.”
Proverbs 31:10 
1
Eight years of marriage. No kids. She got the house.
Regan felt as if those words might make a great tattoo – assuming she were inclined to get a tattoo, of course – maybe right across her forehead. Anything to keep from explaining it time after time. With the long bangs she still wore acting as a curtain of sorts, when someone inquired yet again, she could just lift them with the back of one hand, give the inquirer time to read her forehead, and be on her way. Story told. No muss, no fuss.
No muss, no fuss.
The four words made her chuckle as she stirred vanilla creamer into her morning cup of bold roast. Had she ever had a muss- or fuss-free day in her life?
She couldn’t remember.
She snapped the lid on her travel mug and padded, barefoot, across the cold stone tile of the kitchen. She climbed the oak stairs to the loft and flopped into the creamy Italian leather chair in front of her desk, flicking the power button on her laptop as she did. It wasn’t much of a commute to work, but she set the alarm every morning, showered and dressed, and filled her travel mug with coffee before setting out across two thousand square feet of house. It made her feel as if her role as a blogger for Vertical Magazine carried more important weight than a simple lifestyle blog for Christian women might tend to hoist. Regan knew a little something about the challenges of remaining spiritually vertical, after all; especially in the face of adversity.
It didn’t pay much, but her one lone skill for putting words on the page combined with an abundance of random opinions on just about any topic concerning women made the job a good fit for her now. She almost thought it was a joke when Vertical’s senior editor had called.
“I ran across your blog this morning,” said Delores Cogswell. “And I was so drawn to it that I spent hours reading the archived material. This is really something special, Miss Sloane. You have a very in-your-face writing voice that I really appreciate. Would you consider writing it for Vertical?”
Seriously?
She’d started MOMENTSOFTRUTH.COM on a whim; an outlet for venting the steam of her own white-hot shame and niggling perplexity over the end of her marriage. Surely there were other abandoned woman out there, married one moment and single the next, who might relate to what she had to say.
“Miss Sloane?”
“I’m sorry. Could you repeat that, please?”
It wasn’t like she hadn’t already thought about going back to work. She couldn’t just sit on her duff and do nothing but collect a meager monthly alimony, after all. But Regan had spent the last four years of her eight-year marriage trying to get pregnant, and that experience didn’t exactly bulk up a resume. But out of nowhere, this phone call solved the problem. Someone saw the only thing she had of any value, and liked it enough to offer her a job?
So, what? A few years of working from home for Vertical during the healing process, writing her little blog and connecting with women just like her suited her just fine; despite that irritating little flutter in her gut lately, the one that poked her and whispered it might be time for something more.
Regan drew in a warm gulp of her coffee and sighed, opening her inbox as she did each and every morning. She skimmed the first few emails there:
 A collection of column suggestions from her editor
 A funny picture of Iris and Lynette in front of a truly hideous old hutch – the latest in a line of thirty or more of them Iris had considered in her consuming quest to redecorate the dining room
 An abrupt message from Delores Cogswell
Please mark your calendar. I would like a conference call with you today at eleven o’clock sharp.
As Regan added the appointment to her online calendar, the fleeting thought that Delores might fire her pierced the nerve behind her left eye. She quickly checked the site meter on her blog, and the numbers soothed her fear; but only slightly. She’d been holding steady at around ten thousand page views per day for the last month since that oddball reviewer had taken notice and gave her blog a mention; this week had seen an increase to twelve thousand. Then again, maybe Delores wanted to offer obligatory congratulations rather than fire her.
The next email in the list bore the FEEDBACK label, telling her it had come through the blog site from a reader. A woman named Bristol, 26, recently abandoned by her husband.
“I’ve been reading your blog for a year now, and I know you’ve been through the same thing,” Bristol wrote. “How did you ever manage to get out of bed again? I’ve never even considered the option of divorce, and I didn’t think Neal had either, but three nights ago he left me. I feel like I’ve been hit by a freight train.”
Regan couldn’t really say she’d never seen the train barreling down the tracks before Craig came back from his monthly business trip to Atlanta and packed two large bags instead of unloading his carry-on.
She’d heard the clomp-clomp-clomp of the wheels as he rolled the suitcases from the hall carpet and across the tile in the foyer. Drying her hands with one of the soft organic dishtowels she’d bought that afternoon while shopping with Abby, she strolled out of the kitchen and spotted his things parked at the front door as if waiting for a bus to come along.
“What are you doing?” she asked him. “You have another trip?”
He hesitated. “N-no.” It wasn’t like Craig to stammer. Or hesitate.
“Then where are you going?”
“Here’s the thing. I got a place in town,” he stated. “It’s close to the office, and it has good light…”
Regan didn’t remember much of the other details about her husband’s new abode, but two days later he returned with three generic strangers and cleared out his side of the closet, his office in the loft, and more than half of their modest wine collection to take to that new place of his.
On his way out the door, Craig had handed her an envelope she couldn’t bring herself to open until the weekend. After she’d skimmed his petition for the dissolution of their marriage, Regan poured a large glass from the open bottle of merlot on the counter and downed it; then she calmly collected the four new organic dishtowels she’d bought – two with the tags still attached – and tossed them into the trash. They’d read warm and homey to her when she bought them; but Craig’s packed bags at the door while she cluelessly dried her hands with one of them ruined the appeal. She didn’t ever want to feel their lying softness again.
After saying a quick prayer for Bristol, she put together three different links to past blog posts about recovering from or preparing for divorce, and she added a note to her reply.
“Hang strong, Bristol,” she typed. “Take deep breaths and remind yourself that this isn’t your fault. I know this for certain—”
Really? she asked herself. For certain?
“—God can take the most desperate of situations and transform it into something unexpected and wonderful.”
She mostly believed that to be true.
“I want to say things to you like, Let Him have His way with you now. Down the road, you won’t regret it. But here’s the truth: This really stinks, girl. And it’s only going to get worse from here. You’ll have weeks of feeling useless and shell-shocked, and your friends will get so sick of hearing about your trauma that they’ll probably want to scream. And then one night they’ll order Chinese takeout without even warning you. They’ll bring you some chocolate fudge brownies, a bottle of Pinot and two boxes of tissues, and they’ll sit on the floor flinging those same platitudes I mentioned above until you finally realize … they’re truth. And you’ll get up and shower and comb your hair. And before you even realize what you’re doing, you’ll start to breathe again. And as a personal aside, you might think about getting a dog like my French bulldog, Steve. He’s great company, and all the demands he makes on me are completely manageable.”
Regan stared at the message she’d typed. When she finally blinked, her eyes stung and she realized she’d unexpectedly misted over with sharp emotion. Leaning back into the soft leather of her chair, she sighed. Iris, Abby, Celia and Lynette had been leading her along through the healing every week since. She never could have come through that first year without them.
She glanced at the calendar in the corner of her screen. Only Wednesday. She wished it was Thursday and clicked over to the next day.
Thursday night – Iris’ house – 7 p.m. – Bring dessert
She’d been waiting for it all week. Thursdays had become her saving grace because of the circle of women forming one all-inclusive life preserver around her for so long. She made a mental note to pick up five of the ooey-gooeiest pastries they had at Woolman’s Bakery before heading to Iris’ the following night before hitting send on the hopefully-soothing, reply to Bristol Somebody.
Regan noticed the file marked READERS, and she opened it as Steve toddled over to the foot of her chair.
“Where have you been this morning, huh?” she asked, scratching him behind the ear.
Steve nuzzled close to her leg for another few seconds before heading over to the overstuffed emerald bed angled into the corner of the loft next to the window.
As she suspected, that file on her screen bulged at the seams with reader emails she’d found interesting enough to set aside. She clicked through them quickly, one after the other, until she decided on the six she would use for her weekly vlog post, and she printed them out.
After quickly applying a light coat of cherry lip gloss with the tip of her pinkie, she wiped off her finger with a tissue and raked her thick hair with both hands. She glanced at her reflection in the small mirror positioned just above the webcam before activating the camera and raising the corners of her mouth into a relatively happy smile.
“Hi, everyone. Regan Sloane here for Vertical Magazine and MomentsOfTruth.com,” she told the silver eye of the small round camera. “I’ve really enjoyed hearing from so many of you this week. April from Buffalo, New York, writes, ‘Regan, I’m new to the meat market again after twelve years of marriage, and I’m wondering if you have any advice for me about whether or not to try online dating.’” Regan grinned. “Well, April, I can tell you this: I’ve always shied away from online dating myself, but one of my best friends – whom you all know as Annette – tried TakeTwo.biz about a year ago after her divorce. Three months ago, she married the second guy she met there, and they’re now raising a large blended family – the two of them and five kids – under one roof. So there are success stories out there. I just suggest you employ a specific strategy about what kind of man you’re looking for this time around, and stick to it. Keep us posted on how it goes, okay?”
Less than an hour later, Regan had completed the vlog and posted it to the site. She smiled when her gaze landed on Steve, snoring carelessly in the corner, his little beige body and head stretched across the cushion, and his short white legs and undercarriage moved a-mile-a-minute as he raced across some unknown dreamland meadow. His beautiful brown eyes remained clamped tightly shut, and the black fur mask that surrounded them both wrinkled with adorable consternation.
Regan picked up her phone and snapped a quick picture, knowing she’d become one of those dog owners, but not caring in the least as she posted the photo to her Moments of Truth Facebook page, commenting, “Come on. Is there a cuter guy on the planet? I’ve found my soul mate.”
At eleven sharp, just as Delores’ decree had demanded, Regan dialed the Vertical offices.
“Hi, Shell. It’s Regan Sloane for Delores.”
“I’ll put you right through.”
Delores never bothered much with greetings, so it didn’t really surprise Regan when the line opened again to the booming voice she’d come to know so well. But what she said didn’t exactly compute for a moment.
“Regan, I’ll get right to the point. Valencia Books wants to give you a publishing contract, and I want you to say yes.”
“I … I’m sorry. What did you say?”

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