Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Angry (08/02/07)
TITLE: Mommy, Please Don’t Fight with Daddy
By Peter Stone
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My husband sighed. â€śWhatever Iâ€™ve done, Iâ€™m sorry, OK?â€ť
I pulled our little oneâ€™s hand, â€śDonâ€™t dally James!â€ť And to my husband, â€śI told you I wanted to get here by ten. You took so long getting ready itâ€™s almost eleven thirty!â€ť
â€śSorry, I kind of got distracted.â€ť
â€śAlways some lame reason. When are you going to change!â€ť I spat.
â€śMommy, please donâ€™t fight with Daddy,â€ť implored our four year old.
My husband answered gently, â€śCarol, I have always been like this. Why do you make such a big issue of it these days?â€ť
I swerved to avoid another tourist. â€śDear, youâ€™ve got a problem with meeting a deadline. You know youâ€™ve got this problem. And I asked you to make a special effect.â€ť
George held up helpless hands, â€śI <i>am</i> trying dear. But as we are here now, letâ€™s drop this and enjoy ourselves.â€ť
â€śEnjoy ourselves!â€ť I protested, â€śweâ€™ve come all the way here to another state, primarily to spend the whole day exploring this vintage heritage settlement. And now we are going to miss a whole hour and a half!â€ť
My husband bent down to touch Jamesâ€™s arm. He pointed at the building we were heading for, â€śSee that, son? Used to be a flour mill until they turned it into a prison.â€ť
â€śThereâ€™s lots of water around it, Daddy.â€ť
â€śYouâ€™re right, little fella - water full of sharks. No prisoners could ever swim across the lake to escape.â€ť
â€śDonâ€™t try to change the subject, George,â€ť I threatened.
George breathed out slowly, â€śIâ€™m not, honey, Iâ€™m trying to enjoy our time here. Why donâ€™t we talk about this tonight? Now that weâ€™re here, letâ€™s explore this colonial convict settlement to our heartsâ€™ content.â€ť
I was a runaway train hurtling downhill. â€śUh uh, not good enough. Iâ€™m still angry with you for making us two hours late to the gold mining town last February.â€ť
â€śDarling, that was five months ago! I already said I was sorry.â€ť
â€śWell, your apology obviously meant nothing or you would have made a bigger effort today. Not to mention making us late for Jamesâ€™ pre-school interview, my motherâ€™s on Christmas day â€“ again â€“and all because you canâ€™t get your act together!â€ť
George would not rise to my barbs, â€śCarol, I told you on our first date that I suffer from a mild form of attention deficit syndrome. I really am doing my best.â€ť
We were passing through the tourist attractionâ€™s unique radial exercise yards and were approaching the cross-shaped prison itself. I barely noticed. â€śI think youâ€™re doing it on purpose, George, just to get at me.â€ť
â€śNow you know thatâ€™s not true.â€ť
I rose my eyes. â€śWhy donâ€™t you put some passion in your voice, George, you know how much it irritates me when you talk like a lamb!â€ť
My husband did not answer but I knew what he was thinking. His Christian faith taught that a gentle answer turns away anger. Even this annoyed me. Rather than using his own brain he was letting that <i>book</i> dictate his actions!
Extremely loud bangs ripped the midday air asunder. Three tourists in front of us pitched over, blood literally exploding from them. Hundreds of people shrieked in terror and fled in all directions. More loud bangs and more bodies hit the ground.
Looking past my husbandâ€™s large frame I saw a tall man with a machine gun in each hand, heading in our direction. Every few seconds he paused and gunned someone else down. His red, frantic eyes locked on mine. I froze.
But with deft movements George thrust James and me to the ground and lay in front of us, his back facing the threat.
Even louder bangs. Georgeâ€™s body jerked spasmodically.
â€śI love you,â€ť he said with his last breath as blood from his mouth and back seeped into the cobblestones.
My anger melted out of me to join my husbandâ€™s blood on the ground. Waves of guilt and anguish swamped me and I scarcely noticed the gunman walking away from us.
â€śOh darling,â€ť I whispered to his still form, â€śeven when I treated you so badly, you still answered with love - the love of your Jesus. I can never make it up to you now, and Iâ€™ll carry this guilt forever. But Iâ€™m giving my life to your Jesus and Iâ€™ll join your church. When you see me again in heaven you will find me a new person.â€ť
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