Without Merit(9)

By: Colleen Hoover



I open the front doors and walk into Quarter One. It consists of the old-chapel-turned-living-area and a rather large kitchen, both remodeled to reflect their new uses, save the eight-foot-tall statue of Jesus Christ on a cross still hanging on the east wall of the living room. Utah and my father worked tirelessly one summer to dismount the eight-foot-tall statue, to no avail. It appeared, after days of failed attempts to remove Him from the living room wall, that Jesus Christ’s cross was an actual part of the structure of the building and could not be removed without also removing the studs and the entire east wall of the house.

My father didn’t like the idea of losing an entire wall. He enjoys the outdoors, but he is a big believer that the indoors and the outdoors should remain segregated. Instead, he made the decision that the eight-foot-tall Jesus Christ would have to remain. “It gives Quarter One a little character,” he said.

He is an atheist, which means the wall hanging is just that and nothing more to him. A wall hanging where an eight-foot-tall Jesus is the focal point. Nonetheless, I make it a point to ensure Jesus Christ is dressed to reflect the appropriate holiday. Which is why the eight-foot-tall statue of Jesus Christ is currently covered in a white bedsheet. He’s dressed as a ghost.

Quarter Two, which at one time consisted of three Sunday school classrooms, has since had walls added and is now divided into six rather small bedrooms, large enough to contain one child, one twin-sized bed, and one dresser. My three siblings and I occupy four of the six bedrooms. The fifth bedroom is a guest room and the sixth bedroom is used as my father’s office. Which I’ve never actually once seen him use.

Quarter Three is the old dining hall turned master bedroom. It’s where my father sleeps soundly for at least eight hours every night with Victoria Finney-Voss. Victoria has lived in Dollar Voss for approximately four years and two months. Three months prior to the finalization of my father’s divorce from my mother and six months prior to the birth of my father’s fourth and hopefully final child, Moby.

The last quarter of Dollar Voss, Quarter Four, is the most secluded and controversial of the four quarters.

The basement.

It is set up much like an efficiency apartment, consisting of a bathroom with a standing shower, a very mini-kitchen, and a small living area containing one couch, one television, and one full-sized bed.

My mother, Victoria Voss, not to be confused with my father’s current wife of the same name, occupies Quarter Four. It is unfortunate that my father divorced one Victoria, only to immediately marry another, but not nearly as unfortunate as the fact that both Victorias still live in Dollar Voss.

My father’s love for the current Victoria Voss was not so much a rebound relationship, but rather more of an overlap, which is the major source of contention remaining among the three adults.

It’s rare that my mother, Vicky, ascends from her dwellings in Quarter Four, but her presence is felt by all. Although none are quite as sensitive to the current living arrangement as my father’s current wife, Victoria. She hasn’t been happy about my mother’s occupancy of Quarter Four since the day she moved in to Dollar Voss.

I’m sure it’s difficult having to live in a house with your husband and his ex-wife. But probably not nearly as difficult as it was for my cancer-ridden mother to find out my father was sleeping with her oncology nurse.

But that was several years ago and my siblings and I have long since moved past the wrongs our father committed against our mother.

Actually, we haven’t. Not even slightly.

Regardless, it’s taken all of the last several years for Dollar Voss to be remodeled and revamped to appropriately house the entire Voss family, but my father is patient, if anything.

Despite what is true, we, the Voss family, look very much like a normal family, and Dollar Voss looks very much like a normal house, save the stained-glass windows, the statue on our wall, and the church marquee.

Pastor Brian faithfully updated the marquee every Saturday with clever phrases such as DON’T BE SO OPEN-MINDED THAT YOUR BRAINS FALL OUT and THIS WEEK’S SERMON: FIFTY SHADES OF PRAY.

Sometimes I wonder what the townspeople think when they drive by and read Utah’s daily facts and quotes. Like yesterday, when the marquee read THE FACE OF THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE MEDAL IS A DEPICTION OF THREE NAKED MEN.

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