Cal Freeman was born and raised in West Detroit. He holds a BA in literature from University of Detroit Mercy and an MFA from Bowling Green State University. His writing has appeared in many journals including Commonweal, The Journal, Nimrod, Drunken Boat, Ninth Letter, and The Paris-American. He currently lives in Dearborn, MI and teaches at Oakland University.
Cal, in this excerpt Pastor Timothy Eigen finds himself compromised in his position as spiritual advisor and marriage counselor by his feelings for Paula and ability to dismiss Jerry for someone who “loves her for her prettiness though and has no notion of her beauty. An old story dating back to David and before.” By the end of this chapter things it appears are going to get rather tricky, and could affect Eigen’s life in many ways, including the relationship he has with his congregation. Does this dilemma continue on as the crux of the novel?
In a sense, yes, though Eigen manipulates the situation in order to get what he thinks he wants. He and Paula fall in love and she leaves her husband, which is what, at this point, she is leaning toward anyway. The tragedy is that every choice she and Eigen could conceivably make is untenable. The psychic consequences of this kind of thing make the pastor’s descent into an early senescence merciful.