Now They Always Say Congratulations

It is 9 pm. He is still in his white shirt and suit pants but has removed his tie. He sits in the dimly lit kitchen of their 800 square foot condo. Before him are two piles—on the left are the unedited pages and on the right are the reedited pages. He messed up the markings on the first two hundred pages and has had to redo them. He did this because he did not train formally as a copy editor but taught himself.

He makes $3100 per month at his day job. Of that, $1200 goes to health insurance, $1200 to their mortgage, $350 to tithing and fast offerings, and $200 to a car payment and insurance. He must make $1000 extra every month so they can eat and afford diapers and clothes for Grant.

He has just been called as elders quorum president. He is 26 and now in charge of every man in their congregation ages 19 to 85.

He erases red marks and makes new marks on the page and prays that he does not miss bad errors. He cannot lose this freelance client.

“Gordon, can you come here?”

His wife is in the bathroom. He walks through the front room and meets her at the door where the baby gate is still up. She holds up the pregnancy test that she asked him to buy on the way home from the Church. Both squares have the mark.

“You see it, right?”

“Yes. We’re going to have another child.”

She hugs him.

“Congratulations.”

She turns to clean up. He returns to the kitchen table. He sits down and takes a deep breath. He cannot see the words or the red marks clearly through his tears.

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