Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Weary (05/03/12)
TITLE: Pearls at the Bottom of a Well
By Kara Dunham
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I shamelessly use a sleeve to wipe my cheeks and give myself a mental ‘pat’ for not bothering with makeup this morning. I can only imagine the state my face would be in at this moment. This thought makes me laugh, but that only brings on more tears. I cry, I laugh: I laugh, I cry. I’m certain they have medication for women such as me.
Fed up with this nonsense I grab a blouse, it does not matter which, and pull it on quickly smoothing it out. I am halfway down the stairs before I remember I did not brush my hair or teeth. I pause for a moment, then quickly rub my finger over my teeth and then run them through my straggly hair. My breath always smells like coffee anyhow, I think to myself.
The kids are right where I left them, the only difference being the stray marshmallows in their hair and drops of milk hanging on their chins. A chorus of giggles erupted over something they see on the tv.
I quickly grab my thermos and fill it to the brim with what I call my brain elixir; black coffee. A wet washcloth is in my hands as quickly wipe down sticky fingers and faces, well, and hair. Knowing what will follow I turn off the tv. The red button; to me its the starter gun in a wild 50 meter dash, kicking and finger nails allowed.
It is also where I lose track of my day. Before I know it I am standing back in my kitchen, remote in hand pushing the red button. I think of the movies with the magic remotes that allow you to skip through time.
I usually put on the news while I make dinner, while the kids do their homework. Today I just stare at the button. Those darn tears, this time I let them fall. I catch my reflection on the blackened windows. Blubbering whale, is all I think. A whale with 80’s hair. This time I don’t laugh.
It is at this moment my husband enters the scene. Still in his suit, briefcase in hand, he halts when he sees me. Is he also thinking the worlds blubbering and whale? He just looks at me. For a moment my heart stops, suspended in this moment, considering whether to fall or to leap. Up or down; waiting for him to react, and then he does. My heart plummets.
Without a word he leaves me to my misery. The tears stop. As if they were merely at the surface and beneath is truly just an empty well. Deep and vastly empty.
Time halts in this moment, to feel would be unbearable, so I stare blankly into the night. The dark windows only reflect a woman standing alone in her kitchen.
Footsteps bring me back. I expect children, coming to beg for food or whine about how very starving they are. I am wrong. My husband is standing there, once more.
“You look like you need something to remind you of the beautiful woman you are,” he says softly. He walks up beside me and gently wraps something around my neck. It feels cool and gentle. My breath catches as I look down to find a strand of pearls caressing my collar. I cannot help but to glance back to the window. The pearls beam back at me, glistening in the reflection.
Tears fall again and my husband wraps his arms around me. He doesn’t ask me why I was crying, I don’t ask him where he got the pearls. All I know is, there’s a man who loves me and a beautiful strand of pearls on my neck. Suddenly, life doesn’t seem too bad.
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