Tickets - Novella - Chapter 5b

    "It's working.  It's coming off.  Yes!  Right, get a cloth and start on the other side."  And just like everything else, she makes all the other people work just as hard to do what she wants.
    "Let's finish breakfast first."  Priorities!
    "Shove it in your mouth and eat while you work."
    "Angie, there's no rush.  That wall will get clean by the end of the day.  OK?  I promise I'll help you with it."  As much as possible before work.
    "But we need to do all four walls today."  The whole kitchen?  In one morning?  Before work and in between tending to the baby?
    "Angie, that's not going to happen.  One wall, yes, we can to that, and maybe we can start a second wall, but the rest will have to wait.  There's no rush."  Oh, hold on, there's a rush.  And it's not going to be a particularly pleasant one.  "Why does it have to be today?"
    "My parents are coming over tomorrow."  There it is.  As feared.  "They haven't seen the place yet and they've been nagging me about that for ages.  I just want it to look nice when they come."  So that they don't have another reason to judge?  They'll do it anyway.  "And we have to clear out all the rubbish so they can see if it's big enough."  So now the grandparents have to judge if the home is big enough for a baby?  Just another reason to complain about the set up.  "They want us to host the christening.  Well, the gathering afterward, so that people can chat and have some food."
    "Oh, no.  I've already said no to the christening.  I'm not having my child forced into some religion she doesn't have a choice in, when her parents don't even follow it."
    "If it wasn't for my faith, we wouldn't have a child in the first place."  Yes, exactly.  And now you expect to reward that?
    "You have faith?  What in, exactly?"  The only evidence of this faith is Alice, but if there was more evidence of this faith that wouldn't have been possible in the first place.  Don't Christians believe in abstinence before marriage?  There were no complaints or professions of faith then.  People can't just pick and choose what they follow when they say they believe in something.  At least the rest of us admit that we just do what we like.  And we don't have to feel guilty about it because some priest tells us to.
    "My religion.  Whatever."  Whatever?  Isn't there a difference?  If you're separating them out like this then there must be.  You have a religion, but no faith?  Isn't that the point of a religion that it gives you faith in something more?  Why follow all the rules otherwise?  So, if you have a religion, but no faith, you're following the rules, but you don't have any hope in a reward.  Why follow the rules, then?  It seems like so much effort.  Just to make you feel like a better person?  Well, you're no better than me.  We all make the same mistakes, and we all break the 'christian' rules.  They're impossible to keep all the time.  So what makes a Christian better?  Because they only break the smaller rules?  Who judges what rules are worse to break than others?  I don't remember anyone giving me a list of which ones you have to keep and which ones you should try to keep, but don't worry if you don't manage to.  Or is it just that the punishment isn't as bad for some as it is for others?  What is the punishment?  I've only heard one reward and that's heaven.  So what's the grading system?  How many points do you need to pass?  Why do some Christians seem to be so care free about it all, but others just seem to do it to make themselves feel better, even though they’re still panicking.  I have no religion and I feel just fine about myself.  Well, I guess, I'll do.  I'm no worse or better than the next person.  Not even those Christians.
    "I'm not going to bring my kid up to believe something I don't, just to make me look good or please your parents, and I'm certainly not going to pretend to promise that I will, when I have no intention to."
    "Why can't you just support me?  And my family?  I'm sure yours will be happier knowing Alice has a place in heaven because of this."
    "What?  That doesn't make any sense!"  If you were baptised, that means you've got a place too?  So it doesn't matter what you do.  Why bother sticking to all these rules?  Well, some of them.
    "Look, I believe it.  Can you just accept that and respect it?  I respect that you don't believe it and I don't force you to."
    "Actually, Angie you are.  By making my daughter do this and making me support it and go along with it, you're forcing me to believe it, or at least pretend that I do.  You don't respect the fact that I don't believe a little bit of water is going to send my daughter to heaven instead of hell."  A drop through the letter box suddenly makes this argument seem ridiculous.  It's not.  It's important.  But there might be something else.
    Tickets?  No.  It's the post.  It was heavy.  But every time, there's a hope that it's tickets.  "Don't walk away.  We need to sort this out."
    Walking to that door is the only thing that can be done.  Something's waiting there.  Waiting for me.  But it can't be tickets.  The drop was too solid.  And no.  Just bills.  And maybe a magazine or catalogue.  That door holds no hope right now.  It's back to reality again.  "Bills."
    "I'll deal with them later.  Oh.  This isn't a bill.  It's another prospectus for Surrey.  Jacob.  It's addressed to you."  Another prospectus?  But only one was ordered.  In Henry's name.  And then it was tossed aside.  It wasn't a good idea.  According to Angie.  But it's not Angie who ordered this one.
     She remembered.  She really remembered everything.  Was it her?  But how did she know about Surrey?  If she's putting things through the letterbox, maybe she's monitoring what goes through it too.  No.  She wouldn't know.  The tickets never come at the same exact time as the post.  It really would be stalking if she watched the house that closely.  That's not what this is.  What is it then?  What does she want?  We can't go back to five years ago.  But if that was possible what would we change?  What could be changed now?  "It's just a mistake."  Throw it out.  Like the tickets.  You can fish it out again later.
    "Can we finish this now?  I'll tell my parents we can't have people round after.  They can book a hall or something.  That's fine.  But my daughter is going to be christened.  OK?"

    "OK.  But I'm not going."  Not to church.  Not to Surrey.  Not to Penzance.  Not anywhere.