Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Hear( 07/08/10)
By Marita Thelander
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My last drill-sergeant/OCD foster-dad said loud music in my ears 24/7 would mess up my hearing. As if I care. Whatever. I wouldnít have to hear him barking orders laced with insults.
When I heard OCD man yelling at his wife I knew the gig was up. ďItís either her or me. One of us is not spending another night in this house.Ē He hollered so loud it reverberated in my chest.
I remember thinking; flip a coin, lady. Iím sure weíre both equally bad for your blood pressure.
I packed when she headed for the phone, caseworkerís card in hand. I sure didnít need to be blamed for ruining this marriage, too.
The automatic door slid open announcing the arrival of the new parental figures for my well-being. I pretended not to notice.
I accidently let my guard down. Only the woman showed up? Figures. Our eyes met and we sized each other up in a nano-second. Iím thinking: How long will my chances be this time? And Iím sure her thoughts were: How can I fix her? Letís start with forcing her to dress like me, Miss Priss.
After all, fixing me is what every foster parent has tried and failed. Iím unfixable.
My caseworker popped through his office door like puss from a zit when Priss showed up. I pulled one ear-bud out when he lamely introduced us before he whisked her past me to fill her in on all the dirt of my past. I stuffed it back in, but turned the music off. My survival tactic for eavesdropping works every time. He blabbered on about my awful childhood, horrendous school recordÖeven the forced abortion. I wanted to scream: ďI can hear you, Jerkwad.Ē
Well, at least she knows everything. That eliminates the, let me get to know you, conversations.
I could barely get my key in the ignition, my hands trembled so bad. Maybe my kids were right. They think Iím off my rocker and Iím certain theyíre researching assisted living apartment complexes.
Why in the world would I want to open my home to unwanted misfits? Am I that desperate for companionship?
My best friend gets me, though. The day I finally put thoughts to audible words for the first time, she wrapped her arm around my shoulders and drew me close, allowing me to use her shirt to absorb my tears. Iím not sure she appreciated the snot-bubble mess.
The silence in the house since Ben died drives me crazy. I need a purpose to get out of bed every day. Iím fifty-two, fit, and full of love that needs a recipient. I asked the Lord to send me the one He wanted to receive this pent up love. Thatís when foster care popped in my head. I know itís a God thing because I was thinking along the line of a man, yet unsure if I really wanted to re-marry.
I walked into the office and saw her, decked out in black with safety-pins decorating her clothes. I was nervous, but when our eyes met for that split-second, I knew she was the one.
Itís been six months. I must admit, sheís a tough one, but Iím persistent. She recoils when I try to touch her with simple acts of affection. If I spontaneously buy her anything, she looks at me like Iím stupid. She prefers to be alone in her room and insists she doesnít need me to do anything for her.
Sheís halted every attempt to love her. All but one: verbal affirmation of worth. Sheís been devalued by hate-filled words. Love-filled words are salve to her wounded heart.
Today a slip of paper slid out of my Bible.
But it seems too dumb.
Anesthesia makes everything numb.
A heart has senses,
Well at least maybe three.
It hears, it feels, and it can see.
More than an organ,
Thatís inside my chest,
But my whole being tucked in a nest.
Blind, dumb, and numb,
And still full of fear,
But please know, my heart now has ears.
I believe Iíve discovered her love language and the anesthesia is wearing off.
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