Fred and Mary seemed to have it all. They had three beautiful children, a very nice house in one of the most elite neighborhoods in Iowa City. Fred drove a top of the line SUV and Mary had a sleek sports car most soccer moms wouldn't be driving. Joseph was given a sensible car for his 16th birthday. Mary was quite the social butterfly, belonging to many of the high society organizations and Fred was a Kiwanian. The children attended the public schools and were on the honor roll every semester. But behind closed doors it was a different story. Mary was constantly yelling and screaming at her children and Fred. If that didn't get her what she wanted, she resorted to violence. The small woman tortured the family until she put one of her children at death's door. Read how this family coped with the struggles of life with an abusing parent and spouse. See how they overcame her torturous ways. And then you may understand how It Always Doesn't Show on the Outside.
This book is a prequel to Through The Crystal although it was written a few years after. But you should definitely read Crystal first.
“You aren’t getting into that cookie jar again, are you, Magdalene?” Mary yelled from behind her romance novel in the living room.
“No, Mother,” Maggie lied as she gently placed the lid back on the cookie jar so it wouldn’t make a sound before tiptoeing back to her room with a handful of Oreos. It seemed that the only things that made her feel good lately were Oreos or Chips Ahoy. But after she ate them, she felt worse. When Maggie walked into her room, she dropped the cookies on her dressing table and fell across her bed. Tears welled up in her beautiful violet eyes as they always did when her mother yelled at her.
It wasn’t her fault she inherited her father’s genes for large bones and a tendency for weight gain. Just like her father, Maggie had a Romanesque figure and was tall for her fifteen years. She had beautiful long flowing ebony hair reaching her waist, but Maggie hid behind her hair so often. Heavy dark eyebrows hid her beautiful Elizabeth Taylor eyes that have cried many tears in private.
Maggie got up and walked out to the kitchen to start fixing supper for her dad and two brothers, leaving the cookies behind. They were just going to have leftovers from last night’s supper so all she had to do was fix a salad and nuke some baked potatoes. Maggie was getting the lettuce and tomatoes out of the refrigerator when her dad walked in the back door.
“Hi Dad,” Maggie said as her dad walked in.
“How’s my baby girl?” Fred Madison asked his daughter as he gave her a big hug and a kiss on the forehead.
“I’m good,” Maggie replied hugging her father. “How was your day?” Maggie asked hoping her dad would sit down and talk to her while she fixed supper.
“It was a pretty typical day,” Fred said as he took off his jacket and loosened his tie. “I closed on two houses and got a couple prospects for new listings.”
“That’s great, Daddy!” Maggie said as she continued slicing tomatoes. “Have you got any bites on the Morgan place?”
Maggie and her father continued the conversation about his day at the real estate business while she fixed supper. It was a conversation one would have thought a husband would have with his wife, not with his teen aged daughter. However, Mary was sitting in the living room, reading yet another romance novel, far away in some distant land with a young handsome lover doing who knows what.
Joseph and Thomas, Maggie’s brothers, joined Maggie and Fred in the kitchen just as Maggie was setting the final plates on the table.
“Mom is deep into one of her books again,” Thomas said as he sat down next to his father. “She said she would get something to eat later.”
“All she’d do is complain about the food anyway,” Maggie said as she sat down at the table.
“It’s smells very good, Maggie,” Fred said as he patted Maggie on the arm. “Let’s say our prayer.”
The family bowed their heads to begin their prayer when Mary walked into the kitchen.
“You were going to eat without me?” She cried. Mary walked over to her seat and sat down. Seeing they were having leftovers, she shrieked at Maggie. “Didn’t you make anything decent for your father’s dinner? He deserves better than slop for a meal!”
Mary stood up and picked up the left over casserole from the night before and threw it into the trash can breaking the corning ware dish. She then went back to the table and sat down to begin eating her salad.
“You fix something decent for your father while we eat our salads,” Mary said demanding but calmly to Maggie.
Maggie looked over at her father who was sitting quietly with his head down. She got up and walked over to prepare something different for the family’s meal. Tears were stinging her eyes as she pulled some Boca Burgers from the freezer and stuck them in the microwave. Within minutes she placed a plate with the burger and a baked potato in front of her mother.
“A chef you are not, Magdalene, but this will do,” Mary said as she picked at her salad. “Give it to your father. I can wait for mine.”
Maggie served her brothers and her mother before fixing her own plate. By the time she was ready to eat, everyone was almost finished eating. Her dad had already left the table and Joseph was getting up. Mary always nibbled at her food and it took a long time for her to eat a meal. Maggie hated eating with her mother. Mary’s icy stares pierced Maggie with every bite she took so Maggie took big bites and ate as quickly as she could.
“You eat like a pig,” Mary sneered at Maggie. “No wonder you’re as huge as a house. We’ll probably never get rid of you. No man will ever want to marry a huge hog like you.”
Maggie put her fork down, got up and walked into her room. Thomas sat there continuing eating as if nothing out of the ordinary was going on. He had heard this kind of banter so often it didn’t bother him anymore. Mary just finished her dinner as if nothing had occurred.
Maggie was so angry and hurt. She hated her mother at this moment and wanted to run away. But where would she go? She walked over; picked up one of the Oreo cookies she had brought in earlier and ate it. She had Grandparents in Hamilton, Illinois. She picked up another cookie, twisted it apart and licked off the cream center. Then there is Uncle Bob and Aunt Barbara who live in Chicago. Maggie ate the outside of the cookie. There’s Aunt Helen but nobody knows where she lives now. Maggie picked up the last cookie, twisted it apart and licked off the cream. It looks like she is stuck here. She popped in one piece of the cookie and then the other. Maggie walked over to the dresser to get another cookie and they were all gone.
Maggie hoped her mother was finished with her supper as she walked out to the kitchen to clean up the dishes. The kitchen was dark and the only light in the living room came from the flicker of the television. That meant that her mother had gone to her room to read. Maggie turned on the kitchen light and was shocked to see that the kitchen table was clean. She walked over to the counter and someone had washed the dishes and put them away. She crept in to the living room to see who was in there before saying anything. Seeing it was her father, she slipped up behind him.
“Thanks, daddy,” she said as she slid her arms around his neck and kissed his cheek from behind.
“For what?” Fred asked surprised by Maggie sneaking up behind him.
“For doing the dishes and cleaning the kitchen,” she replied.
“I didn’t do it,” he said as Maggie walked around in front of him. “Maybe it was one of the boys.”
“I really doubt it,” Maggie said. “But it sure wouldn’t have been Mother.”
Maggie started to walk away when Fred grabbed her arm.
“I’m sorry, Maggie,” Fred said to her with tears in his eyes.
“I know, Daddy,” Maggie said taking her dad’s hand. Then leaning down she gave her dad a big hug. “I love you. Good night.”
“I love you, too, baby girl. Never forget that,” Fred whispered in Maggie’s ear. As she was walking out of the room he said, “Good night, honey. Sleep well.”