April 4

11:15 a.m.

Frankie did it again. He didn’t call. Now that he knows I’m on Twitter, he randomly tweets something at me, and then disappears. Or does some rah-rah bro stuff with one of his Twitter idols. Or says something to some woman or likes some dumb woman’s photo. And while on that, why do Christian women try these suggestive poses and post a Bible verse on them? If they’re not doing that, they’re so busy telling people to pray for them because they have to forgive someone. Really? Jesus is so comforted by this.

I’m focusing on my plan to escape to Europe. I love Paris in the springtime…

10:45 p.m.

Sooooo happy Gwen dragged me to the mall to find something to wear for Easter. She was shocked because I came out in a pastel lilac dress and an Easter hat. Retro and old-fashioned classy. Or just old-fashioned. Not sure. I never wear hats.

“You look beautiful, Nat.”

“That bad? I’ll go find something else.”

“NO! You’re not going to wear black for Easter.”

“I know that already. You know…Mom.”

Gwen laughed because we both know Easter and Christmas are mandatory Mom-ordered-clothes days.

“She asked me what you were going to wear.”

“She told me she’d come and take me shopping.”

And we were both laughing and half-crying. We miss our parents so much on holidays. Mom has a way of making everything happier.

EASTER! April 5

11:30 p.m.

So this is why I won’t go to church on Sunday…at the church where I work. I used to wonder why Dottie, our dad’s secretary, never liked to attend our church, and she was the best secretary ever. Now I know.

Mitch and Gwen decided they wanted to attend the worship service where I work. Just figured out why Gwen insisted I buy a new dress—I see that my mom and she are talking about me. Anyway, seeing the church parking lot filled was a new experience for me. So this is how what we do all week comes together on a Sunday morning.

Mark was delighted to see me. He immediately announced my presence and made me stand up so he could introduce me to everyone. Gwen giggled beside me knowing how much I hated this type of attention. Ugh.

“Welcome Natalie! Now folks, this is Natalie’s first Sunday here so make sure you give her a warm welcome. We are very blessed to have such a hardworking and efficient secretary. But remember, she’s not working today!”

Everyone laughed and clapped, and I quickly sank back into my seat.

“Let us pray.”

Tav stood up to lead us in prayer.

Gwen whispered, “Who’s that Greek god???”

Thankfully, everyone stood up to sing and the moment passed. I knew this is how Gwen would go on about it, so I told her when I started that my boss was short, rotund, and balding.

I have to admit, Tav did look good behind the pulpit today. This is what I was thinking as I watched him. He must have read my thoughts. He stared right in my direction…and smiled. I could actually feel people turn to see who he was smiling at. I quickly shifted my glance to the words on the screen. I hope he’s not actually a mind reader.

Then I noticed Chuck and Andrea getting up to sing together. And, I must admit, my mind was focused more on the fact that Andrea kept swaying a bit too much and making more eye-contact with Chuck than the song warranted. It went like this, Jesus…something something…sway…sway…so…eye-contact…in love with you. I casually glanced around me and there were just these adoring looks from people watching the both of them singing. I mean the song was horrible in the first place. Okay, not my choice. But these people obviously loved it. Won’t hold it against them. What I’m wondering is whether anyone else was thinking what I was thinking.

Probably not.

Except Gwen, who suddenly dug me in the rib cage and I nearly squealed. “Who’s the lovely duo?”

“Later.”

“You’ve got a whole lot of explaining to do later.”

Mitch waited for us in the car while Gwen and I searched for Kate. I wanted Gwen to meet her. I’m so happy they got on so well.

“Love seeing you here, Nat. Gwen, we are so happy to have her here at First.”

“That would be a…first. Ha ha?”

Kate laughed and then was stolen away by some cranky church person. Will everybody. Stop. Whining.

Gwen and I edged past a group of ladies collecting their lilies.

Not quick enough. Grammar Nazi stopped me.

“Hi, I’m Joel. I used to be an English instructor at the college.”

Oh good. You must know everything about everything then.

“Hi. Nice to meet you.”

“I’m not sure who’s responsible for the bulletin…” I’m sure you don’t, that’s why you headed straight for me “…but I’ve been finding some mistakes. See here, this should be a period, not a comma.” Joel pored over the entire bulletin trying to find something else wrong.

“Joel, I’m so glad you pointed that out. I’ve been very disappointed with this church. I purposely do this so that people have something else to do rather than listening to the boring sermons! Thanks for finding them.”

Poor Joel. Hope he doesn’t call up and complain to Tav.

I went off in the direction of Fellowship Hall to get some coffee and sweets, or as I call it, the Gossip Pit.

Before I can reach the coffee table, Tav headed straight in our direction.

“Hi.”

“Hey! I’d like you to meet my sister Gwen.”

“Hi Gwen. I’m Tav.”

“Tav,” I could see the wheels in Gwen’s mind spinning. “Natalie has told me so much about you.” Gwen gazing, all innocence, in my direction.

Remember, I had not told her anything. I had purposely not mentioned much about Tav.

“Really?”

“Yes.”

“Good?”

“Very.”

“You did a good job with the service,” I said to redirect the conversation.

“Not much to do,” Tav laughed.

“That’s why you do it so well.”

Loud laughter. Several people turn around to see why Tav was laughing. It wasn’t even that funny, to be honest. But Tav thought it was hilarious. Dude needs a life.

But there were two groups who didn’t shift their focus off of us. One was Jessica’s. The other was the Singles—consisting of mostly women, typical of church singles groups. My uneasiness began to grow.

“Let’s get out of here.”

“But I want to see your office,” whined Gwen.

So from the Fellowship Hall to the office, I gathered sixteen requests to do something.

Somebody forgot to tell me that my office is like a photo op moment on Sundays. It was crowded, and people were trying to get into the drawers in my desk. Who does that? It’s my desk! Thank God I had taken to locking them…

“Hi everyone!”

That was how I spent another two hours of my Easter Sunday. Okay, I exaggerate, but it did feel like two hours of my life that I’ll never get back.

“As long as I can help it, I’m not going to church there again.”

“If you do,” suggested Gwen mildly, “just learn to say ‘no’ to work.”

Not going to happen. I just don’t know how to say no.