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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write in the ROMANCE genre (04/19/07)

TITLE: Don't "Feed the Cats"
By Debbie OConnor


“You know you’re in love when you don’t have to leave the room to fart,” Sally said with a laugh.

I looked at my friend and collapsed into giggles. “What?” I shrieked, gasping for air.

“She’s right,” Sally’s fiancé, David, assured me, wearing a twisted grin.

Sally went on to inform me that her grandmother always told everyone she had to “feed the cats” when she had gas, and that she and David didn’t want to be like that. I filed this information in the “Things I Didn’t Need to Know” part of my mind and went back to my Top Gun dream of love—Tom Cruise bare-chested on a motorbike…

I continued dating as I always had; primping and tailoring my personality to suit my boyfriend of the moment. I changed colors more often than a chameleon to find love, oblivious to truth. If I convinced a man to love my pretense, what good would it do? He couldn’t love someone he didn’t know.

After much heartbreak, God finally got through. I spent a few years alone with Him, getting to know myself. I grew more confident in His presence, ultimately learning to let people know the real me. Then, I started dating my husband.

Jim got under my skin and I held nothing back. I once spurted milk right in his face because he made me laugh during dinner. He held my hair back while I puked my guts out pregnant—and told me I was beautiful at the same time. He’s seen me thin, blonde and young and fat, brunette and middle-aged. He’s seen me dolled up, and he’s seen me filthy. Recently he had a good laugh when I lost my balance trying to weed a flowerbed and rolled right onto my bum, heels-over-head. If he’d had a camera, we might have had a winning video…what a shame.

My idea of romance has deepened. By accepting me as I am, with my many flaws, Jim makes me feel loved. When I was eight months pregnant with my daughter, I broke my ribs vomiting. The baby was active right beneath them every time I lay down, and I became hysterical with pain and exhaustion. This culminated in a screaming rant about getting the baby out. Jim calmed me and held me upright all night long so that I could sleep—that is love.

I find a man who works twelve-hour night shifts at a job he hates to support his family romantic. The man who changes diapers, takes me out to dinner and calls me every time he is away to tell me he loves me is a hero. My husband knows all my hopes, dreams, fears and failures—and he stays. He makes me weak in the knees.

I can spend my life excusing myself to “feed cats,” or I can know love. Hollywood romance is a caricature. My husband and I have the Garden ideal—we are naked and we feel no shame.*

*Paraphrase Genesis 2:25 NIV

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This article has been read 1185 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Marilee Alvey04/26/07
Ah, a comforting tale of real, everyday love. Sounds like it's right out of 1Corinthians 13. This man is truly a hero. This is a down to earth tale that feels as natural and comfortable as an old shoe! Good job!
Mo 04/26/07
Joy Faire Stewart04/27/07
I like the way you told your story, nothing fancy or complicated, just out there.
Verna Cole Mitchell 04/28/07
Real romance--real story. Good job!
LaNaye Perkins04/29/07
I love truth, and this story speaks to my heart about the truth of real love! Bravo!!!
Sara Harricharan 05/01/07
This is definitely a "MASTERS" piece. I loved the down-to-earth tone and especially your opening sentence. In my opinion, any guy that would do all of that for his wife, is more than just 'romantic'. Great piece. ^_^
Donna Powers 05/02/07
This is romance in the real world. I loved it! Great work here
Cheri Hardaway 05/02/07
I'd missed this one while making my rounds! I love how this piece exposes the shallowness of the Cinderella fantasy and makes us realize what true love and acceptance really are all about. I'm glad you wrote it! ;o) Cheri
Pat Guy 05/05/07
This is ... perfect.