Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Sizzle (05/02/13)
TITLE: Out of the Frying Pan
By Ann Menschel
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Bacon wasn't the only thing sizzling in the kitchen that Saturday morning.
"What do you mean you're going golfing?"
"I mean Dave and I are going out to hit that little white ball with a stick until we get it into a hole - commonly known as golfing ." Jack turned to face Amy as she stood at the stove. "Why? What's the problem."
"I thought we were picking out bushes and planting them today." Amy turned her back on Jack as she flipped a slice of bacon.
"I asked a couple times and you never said for sure that's what we were doing - so Dave and I made plans." Jack grabbed two plates from the cupboard and slapped them on the table.
"The sale ends today, Jack. That means we have to buy the bushes today. We talked about that. How much more 'for sure' do you need?"
"Buying bushes is not high on my priority list. I forgot the sale ends today. Can't you pick them out yourself? Then I can plant them when I get home." Plunking forks and knives beside the plates, Jack grabbed the coffee cups.
"Sure." Her back still to Jack, she cracked open an egg and watched it slide into the butter pooled in the skillet. "I can pick them out myself, and you'll take one look at them and come up with some reason why it was a stupid choice - just like you did with the living room fan."
"So we're back to that again. The living room fan was atrocious! It looked like something your mother would buy."
Amy whipped around, brandishing the spatula inches from Jack's face. "And what's wrong with that? Are you implying my mother has poor taste?"
"I don't know if it's poor taste. I just don't appreciate her decorating choices." Pouring coffee into the cups, he muttered, "It appears to be hereditary ."
"I heard that. Hereditary, huh? As if you didn't inherit anything from your side of the family. What about leaving your socks everywhere? What about squeezing the toothpaste tube in the middle? What about pretending you're not smart enough to balance the checkbook? All traits you seem to have 'inherited' from your father."
"Do you really want to compare fathers? At least my father brought a pay check home so there was something in the account to balance."
The color drained from Amy's face. Immediately Jack knew he had gone too far. At that same instant, the smoke alarm blared from above Jack's head. Startled, they whirled around to the stove where smoke billowed from a skillet filled with burnt bacon slices. Jack grabbed the skillet and hurried outside to the porch. Amy stood beneath the smoke alarm, flapping a dish towel to clear the air, tears running down her face.
A few minutes later Jack walked back into the kitchen. He gently took the towel from Amy and cradled her face in his hands. "That was almost a catastrophe," he said.
"I know," Amy replied, wiping away tears. "Our breakfast is ruined - and we almost caught the house on fire."
"That's not the catastrophe I'm talking about. Our conversation was escalating out of control. It's okay for us to disagree. It's also okay to have a fight now and then. You realize, of course, that if we never disagree, one of us isn't necessary."
A tiny smile tugged at Amy's lips.
"But we have to fight fair - and I wasn't. I drug in things in from the distant past and maligned people we care about. I love you and I never want to hurt you. I'm so sorry. Please forgive me."
"I'm just as much to blame. I came at you from the minute we got out of bed this morning. Sorry for being a grump - and dragging you down with me."
"Let's start over, okay?" Gently he led her by the hand into the bedroom. Pulling back the covers, they climbed in and lay facing each other. Jack gently kissed her on the lips. "Good morning, woman that I love."
A smile on her face and a gleam in her eyes, Amy responded. "Good morning, man that I love. What's on your agenda today?"
"Well, first of all I'm going to call Dave and tell him my plans have changed and I won't be able to make the golf game. Then, I hear there's a sale going on at the nursery . . ."
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