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

TITLE: Aftershocks ... Should Come With Instructions
By Rita Garcia


She didn’t have extra money to be spending, but at least she could look. Besides, it was warm and dry inside the department store. Outside, the rain continued to pour; the residents of Eriksson had not seen a dry day in over a month. She let her fingers run through the softness of the silk scarves, and remembered the fancy scarves her mom was fond of wearing. Lainey laid one of the scarves on the counter and handed the sales lady the money. She wrapped the scarf around her neck throwing one end over her shoulder beneath her long blond hair.

The rain had ceased, leaving a chill in the air that matched the chill in her bones. She pulled her tweed coat closer around her. Almost, without thought she drove to the cemetery. All the grave makers made her wonder about the pain each death created in the hearts of their loved ones. For her, she had lost her strongest connection to the world. Contrary to many beliefs, her mom had found a way to be her best friend. She wiped the dirt away so she could see her mom’s name on the stone. Sliding the scarf from her neck she draped it over the headstone.

“I miss you, Mom.” She ran her hand over the coolness of the stone. “If you’re listening, I’m going to go pack up the house today. The realtor is coming by to talk about putting it on the market. "Oh, Mom, I hope I’m doing the right thing.” Taking a deep breath she rubbed her hand across the cold granite of the headstone once more as she turned to leave.

Dread filled her very soul, if only she had some kind of instructions. I expected the grief, but this sense of uncertainty, not knowing the right things to do, really snuck up on me. I never thought much about being an only child, but right now it sure would be nice to have someone to share in these decisions.

The street was so familiar and yet somehow so unknown. She made the memorable right turn on the street where she had grown up. Later it was where she came to visit her mom. Now she was faced with dismantling the past. But where is the proper place to begin?

Turning the key she hesitated then pushed the door open and stepped inside. Everything spoke of her mom as if she would come from another room. She stopped in mid-stride and reversed her direction back towards the door as she heard a noise in the kitchen.

“Lainey, child is that you?”

She released the breath she didn’t realize she was holding. “Aunt Lu?”

“Didn’t you notice the rain stopped? I came into town and I told those clouds, I ain’t got no time for rain today.” Aunt Lu grabbed Lainey in her ample arms.

She moved into the comfort of her aunt’s embrace. “How did you know I needed you?”

“I remember when my Momma died. Me and your Mom, we were like two lost children feeling our way in the darkness. I promised your mom when the time came I would make sure you were not alone to deal with the aftershocks.”

“How did you and Mom know the right things to do?”

“We didn’t know how to sort it all out, but our minister came by and gave us some of the best advice I have ever heard. He told us not to make any major decisions for six months, unless we absolutely had to. We took his words to heart, and let me tell you, it was like someone let us out of a pressure cooker.”

“The realtor is coming by and I don’t know what to do.”

“Is it a problem for you to wait?”

“No … no it’s not a problem. You’re right, I feel so much more comfort not having to make that choice now, whether to keep the property or sell it.”

Her aunt stood up and placed a scarf on her head and tied it under her chin. “Well. Now that is settled, I say let’s go find us a bite to eat. Cleaning the fridge will wait. But, honey, my stomach is having fits.”

Lainey phoned the realtor and then she and her Aunt Lu headed down to the local diner. She breathed a prayer of thanks to God.

“Aunt Lu, do you think Mom knows were here together?”

“Yes, child I believe she does.”

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This article has been read 997 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sheri Gordon08/23/07
This is a very real example of a time in life where confusion seems to take over. I felt Lainey's confusion through your story.

There were a few grammatical issues that are easily corrected. An additional pair of proofing eyes would probably catch that.

Good job with the topic. Her confusion about life was very evident.
Edy T Johnson 08/24/07
Well told story including blessed advice. I'd like to email this to my niece's husband, who has just recently been left with five young children after the death of their mother. Thank you. This goes in my favorites.
Edy T Johnson 08/24/07
p.s. But, I'll wait to email this until the author's name is attached (^-^)
Sharlyn Guthrie08/24/07
Your title is an attention grabber, and very fitting for this heart-warming story. I like the advise included here as well. Nice job!
Dee Yoder 08/25/07
I'm proof positive that this advice works! After my husband died, I was told not to make major decisions for several months. Even though I didn't feel like my judgement was impaired, as I grew stronger and began to heal, I realized that I was indeed, not capable of making those kinds of decisions early on. Great story, and great advice!
c clemons08/27/07
I really like the title. Good Job!
Joanne Sher 08/27/07
Lovely story with lots of charm. Enjoyed this very much.