When Whisper woke up the morning after praying the Sinner’s Prayer with her parents, she didn’t really think about it much.
Nothing was different. Life at the Rain house went on as usual. Homeschooling every day, changing clothes to go to friends’ houses, and yes, church was still scary. Her parents and brothers and sisters were her favorite people in the world. Second place went to the Orwells, the family who had moved south with them. The Orwells came over a lot, they were Whisper’s family’s best friends! The children were close enough in age that everybody had somebody to play with.
Around this time, two new things started happening. Whisper started noticing Mama Rain getting a lot more serious about certain things. She would get up early so she could spend time reading her bible. She had started listening to tapes of a preacher from up north… a preacher with a funny, almost german-sounding accent that struck Whisper as interesting. She had never heard an accent like that before. That preacher shouted a lot, but his shouting was different. He used King James English a lot too- he said things like, “heritage,” “covenant,” “godly seed” and “as unto the Lord” when he wasn’t even quoting the bible. His messages seemed to have less to do with fire and damnation… which was kind of nice. One day a tape came in the mail from this preacher, and after Mama Rain listened to it, she tied a bandanna on over her hair. Whisper caught something in passing about “submission” and “authority.” She didn’t think about it much though.
The other new thing that started happening was that Mama Rain’s best friend, Mrs. Orwell, started calling a lot more often. Mrs. Orwell always seemed to be upset. She needed someone to talk to, but the things she said were happening seemed unthinkable. Mama Rain wasn’t sure what to do… and the next thing they knew, Mrs. Orwell had left her family. She filed for divorce. Now she didn’t call Mama Rain as often… and when she did Mama Rain didn’t know what to say.
The little southern town started buzzing with gossip about the Orwells. Most of what was said was unkind and hurtful. They stopped coming to church, and Mr. Orwell didn’t really want to be around anyone who reminded him of the past… Whisper’s best friends were suddenly gone. The Orwell children were put into public school. Their lives were upside down, and all of a sudden Whisper had nothing in common with them. It hurt to be pushed away like that. Whisper was a teenager by this time, and it really upset her that she couldn’t be there for these people she cared so much about. The Orwells and the Rains grew apart, but Whisper and her family never stopped thinking about them, and hoping they were okay.
Thankfully, the little Baptist church started having problems and split in half right around then, and in the confusion, the Rain family stopped going & nobody noticed. Soon after that, they moved away from that little town, up into the mountains. Angelica Dietz faithfully wrote letters to Whisper after they moved. The girls had less and less in common, but Angelica still kept writing regularly, and Whisper felt obligated to answer.
Angelica was a model daughter. A contented follower. She loved being gentle and feminine, and taking care of babies, and wanted nothing more than to be a wife and mother of many on a farm someday. She was secure in her belief in God, and that he had saved her when she was very young.
Whisper, on the other hand, had never had much use for feminine things. She liked being strong and independent, and enjoyed building things and fixing things with her Dad. She was fascinated with anatomy and biology, and wanted to learn to perform surgeries and heal people someday. Her thoughts about God were sporadic and uncomfortable. She was still afraid of God and hell, but she told herself that the Prayer she had prayed all those years ago was all God wanted. Now she was safe from his wrath… she hoped. So she put it out of her mind as much as possible.