Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Beginning and End (04/16/09)
By MaryAnn Opal
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From the day I met her I wondered why she got to be her and I had to be me; the way many of us feel from time to time. I want to be her. I want her life. Author. Speaker. Song Writer. Singer. Some people have all the luck! In addition to her seemingly effortless talents she was beautiful; had the perfect smile, the perfect eyes, the perfect accent. The perfect everything! I invited her for afternoon tea, anxious to hear her secrets to the fairy tale life.
As she told more and more of her story the light in the room faded as if someone were gradually turning down the rheostat. I could not absorb the information as quickly as the words came out of her mouth. Handicapped Child. Unfaithful Husband. Bankruptcy. Bulimia. I spoke not a word, I knew if I opened my mouth the only words that would come out were, “Please stop telling me this.” I was only prepared for her story about life as a princess.
The room was getting darker and darker, like the dimming of the lights in a theater. For a second I imagined I was in the audience and she was an actress in a Broadway production; a drama that one could only endure on stage. I thought, she is all that and an actress too. This is really not fair! Not fair! I had to summon myself back to reality; this is a real person sitting in front of you, this is really your living room, this is really her story. The room had gotten so dark. I peered out my window, the sun was shining brightly in the sky, and the darkness was only in one room – the room in which we were sitting.
Her deepest and darkest secrets poured over lips like lava erupting out of a volcano, uncontrollable. Her smile faded. Her eyes darkened. The heaviness of her words made its way to my heart. The lump in my chest was so weighted my shoulders began to slouch, my spine started to curve, my head drooped. I tried so hard, but could not listen for another second. I faded out of the room to a place I had been before. I could still hear and feel the heaviness of her voice, but her words were garbled.
The white lights, then nothing. The red lights, then everything. Where am I? Who are these people? The room is big and sterile, the voices are stern, the directives are precise, without hesitation. I had seen this place before, except then I was sitting in my living room watching a 19’’ screen. Now I was strapped on a cold, stainless steel table, with everyone watching me. A long, glass straw was jabbed into my abdomen, blood spewed out like a fountain. The crash wasn’t fatal, but emergency surgery was necessary. Every life that is spared is spared for a reason. The room went dark…
Focus. Focus. Focus. Not knowing if my eyes were opened or closed I tried to focus on the light, though it was only a dim flicker. I was back in my living room with darkness all around me. I began to see her face and hear her words again, but his time I knew “the reason.” I was to be the one to turn up the rheostat in this room; not every room, not everyday - but this room, this day. One word, one prayer, one hug at a time, the room got brighter.
Many conversations later shared with me… “From the day I met you I wondered why you got to be you and I had to be me. She continued, I thought to myself some people have all the luck. In addition to your seemingly effortless talents you were beautiful, had the perfect smile, the perfect eyes, the perfect accent. The perfect everything. I wanted to invite you for afternoon tea, anxious to hear your secrets to the fairy tale life.”
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