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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Confused (08/16/07)

TITLE: Lost and Found
By Kristen Hester
08/21/07


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I pulled my Honda Odyssey into my garage and turned off the ignition. I laid my head on the steering wheel and pondered my confusing day. I think I’m losing my mind. I was only two months shy of forty, but wondered if I was experiencing the early symptoms of dementia.

My symptoms started this morning with a phone call. I knew it was my friend Julie from the caller ID, but when I answered the line went dead. I called Julie back, but her husband said she was in the shower and assured me no one from their house had called. Strange.

I continued my morning preparations and achieved the daily miracle of getting my seven-year-old twins ready for school without casualties. My usual routine is to walk my kids to class and then spend about 15 minutes chatting with the other moms. We mostly just whine about never having enough time. But this morning the other mothers put their heads down and avoided eye contact with me. Did I smell? I sniffed my armpits and was relieved they still had a powder fresh scent. It must have been my imagination.

I returned home to get some things done before a noon lunch appointment. I had started a load of laundry, cleaned the kitchen and spent some time writing when my doorbell rang. I answered the door to a Hispanic women with mop in hand. She looked frightened at the sight of me. “Lo siento,” she said over her shoulder as she ran to her car. I may not be a super model, but I rarely cause people to turn and run. I checked my nose for boogers, but all was clear. What was her problem?

It was time for my lunch appointment. I locked up and headed to Subway to meet my friend, Tammy. When she hadn’t arrived after 30 minutes, I called her.

“We rescheduled our lunch,” she insisted. “Remember?” No, I didn’t remember.

Not ready to admit my insanity, I said, “Of course. My mistake.” I sulked as I ate alone. What was wrong with me? My troubling thoughts were interrupted by a phone call.

“I need your help.” It was my friend Marla, who is also our church secretary. “I forgot to order the books for the men’s Bible study which starts tonight. Can you please drive to the Christian book store and pick them up?” We live in a small town. The Christian book store is a two hour round trip. I didn’t want to go, but I owed Marla a favor and she sounded desperate, so I agreed.

When I arrived back at the church to drop off the books, Marla was out of the office. I let my pastor know I had the books. He said, “I told Marla I’d pick those up tomorrow. We don’t need them until next week.” Why would Marla lie to me?

I left the church to pick my kids up at school, but when I arrived they weren’t there. “Your mom got them,” their teacher told me. My mom often picks them up for quality “Mimi Time”, so I wasn’t alarmed, just surprised I’d forgotten. Usually I have “Mimi Days” marked, highlighted and circled on my calendar. I drove home in a daze. How could I be so forgetful?

Sitting in my garage, I mentally reviewed my day. I lifted my head off the steering wheel and noticed a mop and bucket by the back door. Where did that come from? I got out of my car and put my key in the door, but it was already unlocked. I was no longer confused. Now I was scared. I pushed the door open slowly, cautiously peeking inside. Suddenly I heard dozens of voices yell “Surprise!”

I jumped a foot in the air and yelped in shock. In front of me stood my family, Julie, Tammy, Marla, mothers from my kids’ school and dozens of others. Behind them were balloons and a banner that read “Happy Birthday.”

My husband grinned broadly. “Happy birthday, honey!” Then he whispered in my ear, “Don’t worry, I had the house cleaned for the party.”

“But it’s not my birthday for another two months.”

My husband’s smile faded instantly. “It’s not tomorrow?”

“No, dear. Tomorrow is your sister’s birthday.”

His face turned red. “I must have gotten confused,” he said sheepishly.

I smiled in relief. My confusing day began to make perfect sense. I didn’t lose my mind. My husband lost his.


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This article has been read 1088 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 08/23/07
I really thought she had lost her mind — you convinced me all the way. What a relief! And the ending was perfect. Great job.
Pam Carlson-Hetland08/23/07
I'm laughing. Not only do you have the reader following the MC through, frowning, also trying to figure out what's going on...loved the mystery, by the way...but the details of the very human ways she tries to explain things. The references to armpits and nose really made me giggle. Good story, great writing.
Dianne Janak08/23/07
Delightful!!!!!!!!!!! Loved the surprise for the MC and for us.. I thought I was losing my mind WITH HER! Twilight zoney.. and the twist at the end was priceless.. I SO hope this was a true story! Good one!
Marilee Alvey08/23/07
This story was a riot! The suspense, the confusion....and, with the nose and armpit images...oh, the humanity! Nice story. Good job letting us into the mind of the main character. Neat surprise at the end. It's a roller coaster ride of confusion and I felt like I was in the front car. Fantastic!
Joanne Sher 08/24/07
Oh, what fun! I LOVED the MC's voice. Just delightful, and I LOVE the last line!
Dee Yoder 08/24/07
This is hilarious! And, if this were a true story, I'd be soooo impressed that the husband was able to pull off a surprise like this, even if it was a bit early! I'd forgive him in a heartbeat, especially since he HIRED someone to clean the house-wow. Your characterizations were perfect and the mini mystery feel was such fun. I enjoyed sleuthing around with you on this adventure.
Jacquelyn Horne08/24/07
Very good story. I enjoyed reading it. I was beginning to be confused, but you ended it nicely.
Laurie Walker08/26/07
I love it! I had an inkling of what might be happening, but it only made it more fun to read.

My favorite part...when her husband got the birthdays mixed up! Classic.
Julie Arduini08/28/07
Love it, love it. A good ending would have left it at the party and the MC feeling relieved. A great ending was yours because you gave us that twist. You belong in Masters!
Beth LaBuff 08/28/07
It's perfect! Excitment (and confusion) throughout! You done good! :)
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/28/07
I loved your story. I didn't have a clue! I was just feeling sorry for her. I had read a number of stories about people with dementia and thought she must be one, too. I'm thinking this will place.
Betty Castleberry08/28/07
I was beginning to wonder about your MC until you revealed it was her husband that was confused instead of her. This is a fun read, and a creative take on the topic.
Sherrie Jackson08/28/07
This was so much fun to figure out. The cleaning lady hint was the best. :)

Well done again! (I don't want to hear another complaint!) :-P
Patty Wysong08/29/07
Well, you had me going there! I loved the ending--what a neat spin to put on it and explain it all too. :-)
LaNaye Perkins08/29/07
You pulled me along and got me thinking she had lost her mind too! I love the nice twist in the ending. Bravo!
Julie Ruspoli08/29/07
What a sweet light hearted story. I figured out what was happening when the grandmother picked up the kids, and if a cleaning lady comes to my house, I hope she doesn't run away. Liked the added touch of the husband being confused as well. Very well done.
Brenda Welc08/29/07
If your goal of confusion was to confuse me, you accomplished it 100%! This was an awesome story. You are a very good writer and I too think you deserve the title of Master! Great job!
Loren T. Lowery08/29/07
Thanks for the smile today. I needed it. Great, entertaining writing!
Jan Ackerson 08/29/07
Great writing and a really fun story. Nice and refreshing to have a humorous entry for a serious topic.
Sara Harricharan 08/29/07
LOL! As soon as I read the last line (what a kicker!) I couldn't help thinking what a sweet story! I'm so glad that she didn't really lose her mind after all. Good job! ^_^
Peter Stone08/29/07
Great story, kept me going until the end. Very good ending.
David Butler 08/30/07
I was wondering how you would unravel the tangle your MC had got herself in, and you did it superbly. Very satisfying finale too, although I can relate to the husband very well.
This one sparkles delightfully all the way through.
Lisa Holloway08/30/07
I wondered what was going on! Sounds like he's as bad with dates as my husband. Congratulations on your EC!
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/30/07
Congratulations on a well-deserved win. See how good you look in Masters?
Loralee Scott08/30/07
Kristen, I hope you're working on the book proposal, girl! You have a rare and much needed gift in Christian writing - laughter and authenticity! You pack a powerful punch! Congrats and thank you!!
Sheri Gordon08/30/07
Congratulations on your EC. You had me hooked from the beginning, and what a great ending. Your writing is very entertaining. Good job.
Mo 08/30/07
I love the humor in this. I suspected where it was heading, but you added another twist with the husband! Congrats on another EC!
Lynda Lee Schab 08/31/07
You did it, girlfriend! You definitely PROVED you belong in MASTERS! I loved this piece. You have such a distinct voice and excellent story-telling abilities. But I have to admit, at the end I wondered, "why didn't her friends or mother TELL her husband it wasn't her birthday?" LOL I guess it wouldn't have had the same effect, then, would it?
Excellent writing, great entry. CONGRATS on your placing. So proud of you!
Catrina Bradley 09/01/07
Congratulations, Kristen! Great story, neat idea. I was wondering all the way through what was wrong with her! :)
Laury Hubrich 09/15/07
Kristen, I love writings that make me laugh outloud and yours did just that:) I love your writing style.
Laury
Gerald Shuler 05/05/08
Great resolution. I really enjoyed this.