Silenced: Chapter 6, Part 1: Fish for Dinner
Unsurprisingly, we get more description of the dinner Jae serves for Straight than of Jae herself:
Jae found a banquet of frozen fish in the bottom of her freezer—everything from scallops and shrimp to lobster and mahimahi. This she thawed, stir-fried in garlic sauce, folded with generous amounts of three different cheeses, and baked as a casserole.
That sounds…kinda gross. WAY too much cheese. And I like both fish and cheese. That’s just…so much. I think Jenkins was writing right before lunchtime again.
The kids loved it, she supposed because it was close enough to macaroni and cheese.
Or maybe because Jae keeps a variety of ingredients on hand and her kids are used to things other than hot dogs and mac ‘n cheese?
Straight had two large helpings and was effusive in his praise.
Problem was, the fish was old. Had Jae sampled it during the stir-fry stage she might have noticed the rubbery quality of especially the scallops and shrimp. But good cheese, not overcooked, apparently overcame the texture malfunction, and unless Straight was a better actor than Jae knew, she had scored.
Straight is a better actor than you know, Jae. He poses as a mild-mannered, incredibly rude and pushy atheist hospital volunteer. But he is actually an incredibly rude and pushy Christian volunteer.
After dinner, Straight orders the kids to put their dishes in the sink, since I guess atheist parents don’t teach their children to take responsibility by doing minor chores. That’s two strikes against atheism, since atheist women don’t know enough to check food for freshness before serving it.
Jae has a lot to learn before assuming her rightful place as RTC Stepford Wife.
Later that evening, Jae and Straight bond as they nurse themselves and the kids through a disgusting bout of food poisoning.
She wanted insight on Paul, though, and she couldn’t think of anyone better to get it from.
Well, Jae has known Paul for over twelve years, and Straight has known him for about ten months, so you’d think she might know someone better. But it is rather telling of Paul’s narcissistic personality disorder that he has no friends who have any better insight than someone who has known him less than one year.
“…Paul captured me. He’s a very special person. ‘Course, you know that better than I.” [said Straight]
Jae leaned forward, elbows on her knees, peering at this magnificent man.
Well. This is becoming awkward in several different ways.
And things become even more awkward as Straight opens up to Jae…about the fact that he and Paul discuss the private details of the Stepola marriage, including Paul’s countless affairs. The closest Straight comes to giving Jae an “insight” on Paul is his assertion that Paul’s new man-ness is the result of “an inner change, ma’am.”
And with this not-at-all-a-hint-that-Paul-got-religion, Straight prepares to escape this weird house and get back to his own weird life, when Jae brings up the plan to move to Washington, D.C. until Paul comes back.
“What do you think?” [Jae asked]
“I don’t know. You want an honest answer, I just can’t say. At first blush, I’m not sure it’s wise. Can’t tell you why. Just makes me uneasy. But let me think on it. I shouldn’t be the one to help you decide anyway. Paul should. But you asked.”
“I feel led of God to tell you that the Baby Jesus would cry if you left your wifely duties to your absent husband to spend quality time with your godless heathen hellbound fam—NO! Darn it! Stupid, stupid!”
After the evening of awkwardness is over, Jae thinks herself in circles: she wants to go to Washington but doesn’t want to disappoint Straight (WHY, Jae?). Then she lapses into alone-in-the-house-at-night paranoia, obsessing about the number of cars passing the house, and if anyone is watching the house. (Who that would be is something Jae doesn’t reveal to us, or doesn’t know.)
Finally, thinking about how much she misses Paul (again, Jae, WHY?), she determines to listen to some of his New Testament discs.
Might listening to these give her some insight into him or at least something they could discuss?
And thus Jae admits something that Jerry Jenkins will not: that Paul and Jae have exactly nothing to talk about, and that their supposedly “better than ever” marriage is nothing more than two virtual strangers exchanging a few daily pleasantries. I don’t care if they’re both atheists, both RTCs, or “unequally yoked”—this marriage is devoid of even the rudiments of friendship. It cannot be saved.
And now Jae is on her way to RTC-ianity. Bye, Jae.