In case you missed it, Part I starts here.
“Katy, are you ready to go?” her Mom opened the door and walked into her room.
Katy had been asleep on her bed, surrounded comfortably by pillows. She opened her eyes. A pile of empty gift bags was piled up on the chair in her room. Her mother must have gone through everything she had brought home and washed and folded it by now.
“No Mom, why…?” She stretched carefully and groaned. “That was the best sleep I’d had in…months!”
“It’s Christmas! We’re going to church for the Children’s Christmas program. You have to come. It’s tradition! Now, come on, I’ll help you get dressed. What have you got here?” Her mom walked into the little walk in closet and started pushing around hangers.
“Mom, I don’t feel like going. I’m so tired and my feet hurt. And my back… and I have to go to the bathroom like every fifteen minutes.”
“Oh honey, I know exactly how you feel. Trust me, your brother was nine pounds and you and are about the same size.” Katy rolled her eyes but her mother saw her as she walked out of the closet carrying a cute red top.
“Stop that, young lady. You will listen to your mother for the two weeks I’m home. You’re still my little girl. Well, for two weeks or whenever your baby is born. Now come on, does this fit?” She held it up against Katy’s belly and realized it was far too small and tucked it back in the closet.
“Well, you’re just going to have to get up and get dressed yourself. Three years from now you’ll be so excited to see your darling baby perform in front of the church. Did you ever think of that?” Her mother left the room, leaving the door open. “Be ready in 10 minutes!” she called behind her.
Katy groaned and rolled herself out of bed. She did have a snug fitting red shirt but it was warm. Although everything at this point was snug. It would have to do, paired with the long, black, stretchy skirt she had bought early on in her pregnancy before she had really begun to show. Should she wear it? Well, with no nylons and slip on shoes, it might be okay.
She got dressed, went to the bathroom, ran her fingers through her thick, wavy auburn hair and added a layer of lipstick to her lips. Tucking a muffin and water bottle into her purse, she walked to the front door where Julia was waiting for her. Her sister was dressed in an figure hugging long dress that nearly covered her big black boots. The dress was her usual shade of black, and her dyed black hair was pulled back in a low, messy bun. Her pale face hid behind her thick, black rimmed glasses and bright red lipstick was the only colour she wore.
Katy glanced down at her belly in distaste. One other thing she hated about pregnancy – she couldn’t wear the cute clothes she had spent so much money on her first year at the law office. She had hardly spent anything on a maternity wardrobe, making do with this one black skirt and two pairs of black dress pants and various large sweaters and shirts. At home it was nothing by sweats and tights. At least pregnancy had been good for her hair. She had let her hair grow past her shoulders for the first time in years without suffering the usual split, dry ends.
“Hi gorgeous. You look like a lovely giant ladybug,” Julia said with a hint of sarcasm.
“Shut up, Morticia Addams.” She swatted at Julia with her purse but Julia was much faster than she was. “Let’s go get this over with.”
“Yes, ma’am.” The sisters stepped out of the house into the chilly December air, then into Katy’s stifling warm car where their parents were waiting for them. Christmas music was blaring over the speakers and Katy slowly eased her aching body into the tight back seat and pressed her cheek against the frosty window.
Ten minutes later, they pulled up at the large church parking lot which was nearly full.
Her Dad stopped the car at the front doors to drop them off. Katy started wiggling out. The backseat was harder to get out of than the front seat was. And no one came to help her. Where was that tow truck driver when she needed him?
She followed her mom and sister into the church. They hung up their coats and found a place on the side near the back. Just like the parking lot indicated, there wasn’t a lot of room in the church.
She glanced through the Christmas program she had been handed as she had walked into the sanctuary. She recognized a few of the names. She had loved teaching Sunday School to the grade five girls last year. But the church had decided that it wasn’t suitable for her to teach this year since she was pregnant. She kind of understood since at that age, girls were starting to get curious about boys and sex. But couldn’t they learn from her mistake? She missed the preteen girls a lot. She had been a pretty good teacher if she said so herself. Beyond teaching the Bible which she new better than most, Katy had also shared with the girls her love of fashion. They had even gotten together one evening so she could do each girl’s hair and make-up for them. The girls had loved every minute of it and so had Katy.
She made a fan out of the program and cooled herself with it. It was already warm in the building. It would be even more stifling in an hour. Katy took a sip from her water bottle and pulled out her snack. Fortunately, she was sitting on the aisle and her Dad was sitting on her other side and he wouldn’t make any weird comments to her. He only smiled at her and said, “Smart.”
The music started and the Pastor asked everyone to rise for some carol singing. Katy sighed and pulled herself up with the help of the bench in front of her. She stood through “O Come All Ye Faithful” and “Joy to the World” but she had to sit down for “Angels We Have Heard on High.” Maybe she was only imagining it, but it felt like everyone around her was staring at her as she slowly lowered herself down onto the padded bench.
After the pastor gave the usual warm welcome to everyone including all the guests, he handed the stage over to the Director of the children’s Christmas program. She introduced the premise of the play before the lights dimmed and the children began walking up the aisle from the back with fake candles singing “Silent Night.”
It was cute but the darkness only made Katy feel hotter. Plus she needed to go to the bathroom again by now. She was beginning to think the baby had dropped since she had been hungrier today and she had had no heartburn. But the pay off was a bladder that was half the size.
At the next transition in the program, she pulled herself up as discreetly as a nine month pregnant woman could and tiptoed out to the back of the church. Unfortunately, it wasn’t much cooler in the entrance. Katy quickly went to the bathroom and was tempted to splash cold water on her face but she didn’t want to mess up her hair and make up. She decided to go outside for a few minutes to get some fresh air.
Quietly easing the door open, she double checked to make sure it wasn’t locked, then let it close softly behind her. Not that it mattered if she was locked out. No one in church seemed to want her there anyway, other than maybe her family.
She stepped out onto the sidewalk and into the now quiet parking lot. She gazed up at the sky and saw one exceptionally bright star twinkling in the night sky. Thinking about the Christmas Story she knew inside and out, she wondered how much brighter the star that had led the Wise Men to Bethlehem had been.
Then she thought of Mary. Pregnant Mary, scorned by everyone as an innocent, pregnant teenager. A true innocent teenager, unlike herself. And Joseph. He probably got it bad too, or at least he thought he would. Why else would he want to quietly get out of their engagement? Katy shook her head. This church wasn’t any different than the churches back in the day.
Out of nowhere, Tyler’s words came to her mind. “Not everyone judges a book by it’s cover.” Ouch. She knew exactly how that felt.
Thanks for taking the time to read!
Continue on with Part 8.