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. “Whatever I’ve done, I’m sorry, OK?”
I pulled our little one’s hand, “Don’t dally James!” And to my husband, “I told you I wanted to get here by ten. You took so long getting ready it’s almost eleven thirty!”
“Sorry, I kind of got distracted.”
“Always some lame reason. When are you going to change!” I spat.
“Mommy, please don’t fight with Daddy,” implored our four year old.
My husband answered gently, “Carol, I have always been like this. Why do you make such a big issue of it these days?”
I swerved to avoid another tourist. “Dear, you’ve got a problem with meeting a deadline. You know you’ve got this problem. And I asked you to make a special effect.”
George held up helpless hands, “I am trying dear. But as we are here now, let’s drop this and enjoy ourselves.”
“Enjoy ourselves!” I protested, “we’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!”
My husband bent down to touch James’s arm. He pointed at the building we were heading for, “See that, son? Used to be a flour mill until they turned it into a prison.”
“There’s lots of water around it, Daddy.”
“You’re right, little fella - water full of sharks. No prisoners could ever swim across the lake to escape.”
“Don’t try to change the subject, George,” I threatened.
George breathed out slowly, “I’m not, honey, I’m trying to enjoy our time here. Why don’t we talk about this tonight? Now that we’re here, let’s explore this colonial convict settlement to our hearts’ content.”
I was a runaway train hurtling downhill. “Uh uh, not good enough. I’m still angry with you for making us two hours late to the gold mining town last February.”
“Darling, that was five months ago! I already said I was sorry.”
“Well, your apology obviously meant nothing or you would have made a bigger effort today. Not to mention making us late for James’ pre-school interview, my mother’s on Christmas day – again –and all because you can’t get your act together!”
George would not rise to my barbs, “Carol, I told you on our first date that I suffer from a mild form of attention deficit syndrome. I really am doing my best.”
We were passing through the tourist attraction’s unique radial exercise yards and were approaching the cross-shaped prison itself. I barely noticed. “I think you’re doing it on purpose, George, just to get at me.”
“Now you know that’s not true.”
I rose my eyes. “Why don’t you put some passion in your voice, George, you know how much it irritates me when you talk like a lamb!”
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 book 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 husband’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. George’s body jerked spasmodically.
“I love you,” 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 husband’s blood on the ground. Waves of guilt and anguish swamped me and I scarcely noticed the gunman walking away from us.
“Oh darling,” I whispered to his still form, “even 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 I’ll carry this guilt forever. But I’m giving my life to your Jesus and I’ll join your church. When you see me again in heaven you will find me a new person.”
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