Ten Miles West of Venus

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"Ten Miles West of Venus" by Judy Troy is about a minister who visits a friend who stops attending Sunday service after her husband commits suicide. They have a conversation about the one time they kissed passionately. When the minister attempts to sway his friend into coming back to church, she admits to worrying about the people of their congregation being ashamed to have her part of their church because of the suicide. The minister admits that there might be a few people, but the majority is supportive. He is disappointed but understands that she is still grieving when she admits to not relying on God as much any more. On his way home, life seemed a little gloomier as he asked for mercy from God for his sins. Judy Troy suggests that the past decisions of not only oneself, but others surrounding, affect the lifestyle that one leads.

Marvelle Lyle stops attending church after her husband commits suicide. She drives a rusty old pick up truck and is a tall muscular woman. She loses weight after the suicide and is raising her son alone now. Franklin Sanders is the minister at a Venus United Methodist Church. He is a sixty-three year old, unhappily married man. Morgan Lyle is Marvelle's husband who commits suicide. He was in Vietnam and ran a motorcycle repair shop in their community. Curtis, Morgan and Marvelle's son is thirty-one years old trouble maker with blonde hair. Gussie was a member of their congregation who has a sister with cancer. She is optimistic about the illness but makes it clear on her radio program that she dislikes her brother in law who does not take care of her ill sister. The decision of Marvell's husband to commit suicide has affected marvels lifestyle tremendously; she is ashamed of his actions, therefore no longer attends Sunday services. Marvelle and Franklin's kiss was a decision made many years ago, and now they both have to live with the guilt. "Ten Miles West of Venus" takes place on an April evening in the willows...
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