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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Adulthood (07/30/09)

TITLE: Milkshakes and Mortgages
By Eileen Knowles


“It’s not fair!” Becky sobbed, running out the door and down the front steps, the screen door banging shut several times before coming to a rest.

She walked up the street, shaking her head. Why didn’t her mom understand?

Becky always went to the park when she needed time to think. She was relieved to see just two people there, a lady and a young girl playing on the slide. She made her way to the other side of the playground and sat down at the picnic tables, letting out a heavy sigh as she did.

She had loved Ryan ever since he had transferred to Rincon High School last year. But it wasn’t until this year, her sophomore year when Ryan finally started to notice her. Ryan was the oldest boy in her class and was lucky enough to be the first one to get his driver’s license. This morning, between 2nd and 3rd period, while Becky was grabbing her geometry book from her locker it happened. Ryan asked her to go to the movies with him on Saturday night. She was still ten months away from turning 16, the magical dating number, but surely exceptions could be made.

Tears began to form again just thinking about it all. Becky folded her arms and rested them on the picnic table. This was so important, why couldn’t her mom see that? She dropped her head and buried her face in her arms, her mind fixated on replaying the argument over and over.

“Are you okay?”

Startled, Becky jumped and quickly lifted her head.

“Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to alarm you” said the lady. “My daughter and I were about to leave and I noticed you here. Are you okay?” the lady repeated.

Becky hadn’t even noticed the two had stopped playing on the slide.

“Oh, yes ma’am…I’ve… just had a bad day,” Becky replied forcing a reassuring smile.

“Okay…just checkin’. I hope things get better.” A warm smile had formed across the lady’s face.

Becky watched as the lady and her daughter walked to the parking lot.

What a nice lady, I bet she would let HER daughter date at 15, Becky thought. She watched as the lady helped her little girl into the car. The car was really nice, prompting Becky to think about the day she would finally be old enough to get her first car. I can’t wait to be an adult, free to make my own decisions, no one to tell me what I can or can’t do. Why does growing up take so long!

Becky stood up and reluctantly headed back home. She had geometry homework to do before dinner. Another reason she couldn’t wait to become an adult. No more homework.

Abby shut the car door and put the key in the ignition. It started effortlessly. Thank you Lord for good friends, Abby thought. Their family car was ten years old and had refused to start this morning. Her husband Bill was pretty certain it was the transmission. Money was tight and there was no way to fix the problem right now. Some friends had graciously loaned them this car and reassured them they could keep it as long as necessary.

“Mommy, can we stop at McDonald’s?” Sarah asked from the backseat.

“Not tonight, honey.” Abby said, knowing she somehow had to make the money in her wallet last until payday. “But, I tell you what,” she added “we have ice cream in the freezer. How ‘bout we make milkshakes for dessert tonight?”

“Okay!” Sarah said happily.

Abby glanced in the rearview mirror and looked at the smile on her daughter’s face. Simple things like homemade milkshakes still made her so happy. Gosh, to be that age again. No care in the world…except parks and milkshakes. As Abby neared the house, the tall grass in the yard caught her eye. Just a few more weeks, she thought, and the cooler weather would be here. Mowing would be one less item on the list of things to do for awhile.

Abby pulled the car into the driveway, stopping just long enough to jump out and check the mailbox. Reaching into the box and grabbing the envelopes, she noticed the familiar blue and gray logo of their mortgage company imprinted in the corner of the top envelope. Already? Boy, the months seem to go by so quickly, Abby thought, getting back into the car and driving the rest of the way up the driveway.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Dianna Schnabel08/06/09
Nice story, I like how you showed the contrast between the teenager's view of adulthood and the reality.
Seema Bagai 08/08/09
Good writing in this piece. I liked the contrast between the characters.
Connie Dixon08/10/09
We all have wanted to grow up too fast at one time or another and once we're here, the responsibilities can be overwhelming. Great job on this story!
Lisa Johnson08/12/09
I agree that you have done well in showing how one person's perception can be so different from reality. I read the story several times just to savor the effect.