Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Confused (08/16/07)
TITLE: Lost and Found
By Kristen Hester
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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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