Growing up Michelle and Amanda had been as close as close could be. Being sisters and being only a year apart in age had made their bond so strong that whenever you saw one you saw the other. This closeness continued on from elementary school, throughout high school and even into womanhood. Michelle and Amanda were sisters…sisters who loved each other so much that nothing could separate them, not even a bold face lie.
Amanda met her husband Terry while she was attending The University of Memphis. After dating for two years the two got married and shortly afterwards they had two children. Michelle who had no children had welcomed Terry into the family with open arms, as did the rest of the family. Michelle spent many days at her sister and brother in law’s home, spending time with the children and having girl talk with her sister.
One day while at Amanda’s home babysitting the kids while Amanda and Terry had date night, Michelle received a phone call from Amanda. Michelle had initially thought that it was just a courtesy call to check on the kids and see how things were going, but she immediately realized that something was wrong when Amanda began to give her specific details on finding a specific item in the house.
Amanda had directed Michelle to go upstairs to the master bedroom and look inside the walk in closet in a shoe box. In this shoe box was a piece of mail that Michelle was to immediately shred, then take the shredded waste and throw in the outside garbage can at the curb. Amanda told Michelle specifically not to open the mail, but to do what she had asked and that she would fill her in on the details when she had time.
Of course Michelle followed her sister’s instructions, except the part about not reading the letter that she was supposed to shred. Michelle quickly located the letter in the shoebox, but before she shred it, she went into the bathroom and read it. After reading the first paragraph of the letter, Michelle immediately knew that her sister was in big trouble. The sender was from a man whose name Michelle did not recognize. The letter simply stated that he was only writing Amanda to inform her that he would not grant her a divorce and that he wanted to speak with her face to face.
Michelle was completely baffled. Who was this stranger and why was he talking about divorce to a woman he had never been married to. Michelle looked at the outside of the letter and saw that the sender’s address was in another state. Who was this mysterious man and more importantly who had he been to her sister.
After reading the letter Michelle immediately shred it and tossed the entire bag from the shredder in the outside garbage. Shredded or not the letter had exposed “something” but Michelle just didn’t know what that something was yet. She decided that she would give Amanda a day or two to talk about the contents of the letter and if Amanda didn’t talk about it she would ask about it.
True, she had agreed to not read the contents of the letter, but she did and she couldn’t take that back. Now she knew what the letter was about, and she needed Amanda to tell her the truth behind the man’s words.
After a week of wondering if Amanda would ever speak up about the letter that was destroyed, Michelle decided that she would bring it up. While out shopping with Amanda, Michelle blatantly told her sister that she had read the letter before she shred it. Amanda seemed surprised, but not shocked. She knew that it would be hard for anyone to resist reading a letter under the circumstances in which they were presented with the letter.
On the car ride back to the house, Amanda told Michelle about the letter. She told her that the male sender was her first husband James who was refusing to divorce her even though they had only been “officially married” for three short months. She stated that they had dated briefly, supposedly fallen in love, gone down to the court-house and gotten married and three weeks later realized that they had made a big mistake.
Michelle could vaguely remember Amanda dating a guy named James, but maybe that was because their encounter was so brief. Michelle didn’t know what to say. As close as she was to her sister, she had never known that she had been married before Terry. She couldn’t even believe that Amanda would make such a hasty decision as marrying a strange man that she “thought” she loved. Michelle was also kind of hurt that her sister had kept this secret from her. She had always believed that over the years they had been so close that there was nothing they couldn’t share with each other.
Amanda went on to tell Michelle that once she and James had gone their separate ways she had attempted to locate him several times to serve him with divorce papers, but her attempts had been unsuccessful. She knew so less about him that locating him had been an ordeal. She had been tempted to hire a private investigator but by that time she met Terry and he had swept her off her feet. She had fallen madly in love with Terry and honestly her brief marriage with James had been placed into the back of her memory along with other little tidbits from life that didn’t really matter. That is until she received the first letter from James that had actually been a greeting card with the word bigamist scrawled inside. When she had picked up the card from her car windshield she had almost jumped out of her skin when she read the big bold letters of the word BIGAMIST. She immediately remembered her little “situation” with James.
Amanda told Michelle that James was refusing to grant her a divorce. He sent the second letter requesting a face to face meeting with her which was the letter that she had Michelle to destroy. Michelle sat in the passenger seat of the car with her mouth hanging wide open. She was shocked, better yet she was mortified. How in the hell had Amanda allowed this to happen and better yet how in the hell was she supposed to explain to Terry that they weren’t really married because she had never been divorced from her first husband.
Michelle looked over at her sister whose face showed a look of grave concern. She immediately began to feel sorry for her sister because she knew that this situation with James could potentially destroy the life that Amanda and Terry had built together.
They drove in silence for a minute and then Amanda dropped the real bombshell. She told Michelle that James had shown up at her home earlier in the week and that she had been forced to tell Terry that he was her second cousin visiting from out of town. Michelle knew then that this situation was uglier than she had thought. Not only did this man know where Amanda and Terry lived, but since he hadn’t received what he wanted now he had showed up on Amanda’s doorstep.
Amanda said she felt helpless. She wanted a divorce, but James wouldn’t agree to divorce her. She couldn’t tell her husband the truth because now she had lied and said that James was her cousin. What exactly was she supposed to do?
As they pulled into the driveway of Amanda’s home they noticed Terry outside washing his car with a gentleman. As they parked Amanda immediately realized that it was James! She wanted to back out of the driveway and leave, but she knew that she couldn’t do that. She had to face this problem head on. She would get out of the car and go greet her cousin James because she and Michelle were so excited to see him after so many years. She told Michelle her plan and it took everything in Michelle not to scream “Hell No!” She didn’t want to go along with this. She had grown to love Terry as a brother and to stand there and lie to him and leave him in the dark about this situation was as wrong as wrong could get. Michelle really didn’t want to do this, but what else could she do? She loved her sister believed that if no one else would have your back when times got hard, your sister should have your back right? She knew that she had to go along with her sister’s plan regardless of how wrong it was…afterall she was her sister’s keeper.