Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Time-consuming (02/24/11)
TITLE: Photos of Grace
By Cathryn Hasek
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It hasn’t even been a month since she died, and here I am trying to clear out her home. What to keep, throw away, save for her daughter, Melissa, and give to the needy. It was all way too much to take in. I decided to just box everything up that I felt was worth saving and bring it home to my basement.
“What are all these boxes doing here?” My husband, Dale, said as he walked down the basement steps to change out of his work clothes.
“I’m trying to sort through some of Diane’s things.” I stood up and stretched my aching back.
“Don’t you think you should wait a while? It really doesn’t need to be done right away, especially since it’s all here with us now.”
“I guess so. I just wanted to get a start on it since I’m sure it will be quite time consuming and I feel bad about not having anything set aside for Melissa.”
I started crying again and walked over into Dale’s loving embrace.
“Why don’t you start with that heap of photos over there? Maybe it will bring back good memories.” Dale smiled, and handed me a tissue.
I dragged the heavy blue tub of loose pictures and other mementos over to my work table and Dale hoisted it up. I overturned the contents and out came a whole era’s worth of moments.
“Oh! Do you see this one?” I reached down and picked up one of Diane and me at a New Year’s Eve dance and showed it to Dale.
“Wow! You both look amazing!”
“Yeah, it’s hard to believe all that beautiful hair of hers fell out when she got sick.”
I sat down hard and stared at the photo.
“What about this one? Dale said, picking up an old black and white photo of three kids on a slide. Where was it taken?”
Taking it from his hand, I noticed he had selected a photo of the three of us; my sister, brother and me.
“That one was taken on the playground near our old house. I think I was about four years old at the time.” I took my thumb and blocked out the faces of my brother and sister, both gone now.
“Karen, stop doing things like that. Try and concentrate on good memories.” Dale said, walking over and rubbing my back.
“It’s just too soon, I guess.” I looked down at the heaping pile of reflections, and suddenly a memory seemed to jump right off the table.
“I can’t believe she saved this! I cried. It’s my ugly high school senior picture that I never gave to the yearbook editor. I thought I had ripped up every one of these.”
In a flash, Dale grabbed it up just before I could tear it to shreds.
“Wow! That’s a bad cut you had on your face that day!” He said, trying to hide a grimace with his hand.
“Just give it back to me!”
I grabbed the gruesome photo from him and noticed that there was some writing on the back.
“Karen, I’m sorry I scratched you so badly that day. Love, Diane.” I read aloud.
Breaking out in hysterical laughter, Dale looked at me as if I had lost my head.
“What in the world is so funny?”
“Diane and I had a fight the night before I had my pictures taken. She reached to pull my hair and missed and ended up scratching my face with her mood ring.”
“That doesn’t sound so hilarious?”
“Well, it wasn’t, then. But for me to find her apology after all these years, it just seems like, well, Grace, to me.”
“Ah! I should have guessed. Grace IS your favorite thing to look for each day.”
I smiled and nodded my head. “Perhaps sorting through all of this stuff won’t seem so daunting after all. I think I’ll make a pile for Melissa, too!”
Three hours later, Dale yelled down the stairs, “How about some supper?”
“Be right up! I’m finding more Grace!”
“Okay, but save some to say over the food!” He chuckled.
Hearing Dale setting the table, I walked up the basement stairs, turned out the lights and said a prayer of thanksgiving to the One who makes His wonders known, to those who choose to look for them.
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