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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Grrr! (01/28/10)

TITLE: Three Little Words
By Kathleen Tollifson


I wondered where Brian had disappeared to. My face was arranged in a professional smile while my eyes searched the room for him. Old habits die hard, and I had been taught the social graces of wealthy society since I was a tot. Smile if it kills you.

Speaking of which – my shoes were killing me. All 4 inches of the heels felt like they had sworn an oath against me. I thought the balls of my feet must be bleeding. Elegantly, I chanced a glance at my feet. They looked perfectly fine. “They ought to look fine considering what these shoes cost.” My anger surprised me.

How long has he been gone? My irritation mounted. Finally I spotted him in the foyer of the hotel, leaving. With a woman I had never seen before! Tears stung my eyes as I tried to blink them back. My perfectly applied make-up began to erode. How could he have just left me there?

The next two hours were a haze. I smiled and greeted our cities most prominent residents. As a politician’s daughter, I was accustomed to being on display. Finally, glassy-eyed and tired from the strain of my emotions, I decided to hide in the bathroom. I wisely chose one in a different part of the hotel. As I flopped on the couch in the powder room, I reviewed Brian’s desertion. I’ve been tempted to flake out on these affairs before. I understood that part. But dumping me without even a goodbye was inexcusable. It really hurt.

That was the last time I saw Brian. Someone told me that he had bumped into an old friend in the bar, and that was all the excuse he needed. So much for his undying love! I added that disappointment to my growing list. Eventually that list was longer than my reasons to get up in the morning. So I stopped getting up. Sleeping all day has its virtues. For one, my feet didn’t hurt.

So I guess my meltdown began without my assent. I slept through the first stage of coming unraveled. By the time I was half way through, I was too depressed to sleep, if you can believe that. So I had my ‘dark night of the soul’ in broad daylight, wide awake. I was skeptical about the merciful God who cares that I had heard about every Sunday. So where is He now was my question.

I smiled weakly at the memory of that hopeless time, and the phone call from my sister that changed the direction of my despair. “Alexis? Is that you?” she queried. “Mom says that you are having a tough time. What’s happening?” My older sister Julie had met her true love in college. They had married right after graduation and were expecting their first child soon. We had been inseparable growing up and I really missed her. I wasn’t even mad at her that her life was perfect, and mine was a mess.

“I’m okay” I lied. “It’s just that….” And the tears started to flow. The more I cried the more I wanted to cry. “Nothing I do ever turns out right” I wailed, trying to mop up the streams that were pouring from everywhere. “I miss you so much” brought another round of sobs. She made quiet noises to indicate that she understood what I was telling her. “I’ve been missing you too.” she admitted. “I always want to tell you the cool little things about carrying a baby. And about being married to the greatest guy in the world. I need to call you more, I have unlimited minutes on my cell.”

The long months of loneliness began to dim, and I felt the warmth of our friendship. Why hadn’t I just called her? “I thought you were too busy for phone calls, being a newlywed and all.” There, I had said it. “Do you still have time to talk sometimes?” I paused, afraid to verbalize my fears. Do you have time for me? I still need a sister and a friend. Do you? I held my breath. “Alexis, I will always have time for you. You are the best sister in the world! I love you.”

Three little words. That’s all it took to fix me. “I love you too.” I smiled and got dressed.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Verna Mull 02/04/10
This was a heart-rending piece. You did a wonderful job in describing your "Grrr" and, best of all, your recovery. God bless you!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/06/10
So many people feel the despair you described. How wonderful to have a family and a God who truly loves us even when we are at our darkest. Great job.
Ruth Brown02/07/10
Well written piece. This could be the start of an interesting novel. You captured the main characters feelings so well.
PamFord Davis 02/07/10
Honest look at a broken heart, depression and isolation. The ending of two sisters coming together is like the rainbow in the storm...
Sarah Elisabeth 02/11/10
Congrats on your highly commended award!