Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Measure (01/10/13)
TITLE: Measuring Up
By Emily Ritter
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At Sue’s I find myself inspecting everything as I walk around, desperate to discover dirt or disorganization. Once I noticed that the grooves on the underside of the plastic soap dispenser had hidden dirt. Success! So I went home and scrubbed my plastic soap dispenser until it squeaked when I rubbed my thumb against the side. Now I’m smug when I wash my hand at Sue’s, as if I know her dirty secret and I’ve bested her.
Once a year we give our lungs a rest from our accumulated dust and stay a night in a hotel room, to breath in the bleach for a while and feel rested. Cindy Crawford smiles at me through this Best Western T.V., batting her eyes and reeling with enthusiasm; she wants to sell me her serum, and make my skin as soft as an apricot and as taut as a rubber band. Had I purchased it fifteen years earlier, when she started smearing the melon juice infused goo on her face, maybe I too would be fortuned with the sway of smiling and becoming a millionaire.
My husband keeps changing the channel, and I ask him to put it back on the infomercial. He looks at me as if he has just seen a pelican in a bow tie, but he acquiesces to my request.
“We’re packing to leave,” he reminds me.
And I nod, not even looking his direction. When the T.V. fades to black, I notice how sad and ugly I feel. I had looked in the mirror earlier and been satisfied with my makeup application, but now I frown at myself and turn away, accusing myself of betrayal.
“Why didn’t I purchase that melon juice earlier?” I think. And direct my focus to the floor to keep my hand away from the phone. I plan to order later, when it’s not so obvious that I was tricked by the infomercial. My longing is for the subtle health of adequacy, to soak my soul's discontent in a swimming pool full of melon serum, and have it heal me.
Home again at my dish window, I notice our above ground pool in the backyard and imagine a pale orange hue of silky thickness peeking at me, and glimmering in the sunshine. I think how nice it might be to immerse my limbs and release the travel grudge. I settle for the lemon beaded soap at my fingers, and notice the accumulated dirt beneath my plastic pump.
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