Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/10/08)
TITLE: Keeping Company
By Patty Wysong
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<i>When will they learn to close the door without slamming it?</i> Lacey pulled the door open and smiled at the sight of kids tumbling out of Amanda's van. Within moments there were six kids running around the yard and the normal volume had quadrupled. <i>Good thing we live in the country; this noise would drive neighbors nuts.</i>
“What a wonderful yard, Lacey; no wonder you love it out here.” Amanda smiled as the kids ran past, pouncing on the scooters for a spin around the deck. “Wow, I love this deck, and your flowers are beautiful.” Walking over she gently fingered a blossom. “Look at your pots; how charming.”
Lacey laughed. “Drew hates them. Mom thought the kids might be able to play with them in the sand box, but I nabbed them so I wouldn't have to buy pots.”
Lacey scanned the yard, counting kids. “C'mon in. These guys will be fine for awhile and we can enjoy some iced tea before they miss us.”
Amanda stood inside the door, her mouth hanging slightly open as she looked around. “Isn't this a pole-barn house?”
“You'd never know it from in here; it's beautiful. You are so lucky...” Amanda's voice trailed off as she followed Lacey through the living room and into the kitchen. “Ok, now I'm positively green.”
Lacey turned away from the cabinet and looked at her friend. “Green?” she asked.
“Definitely green with envy,” Amanda responded. She walked to a cabinet and smoothed a hand over the oak door. “This kitchen is gorgeous, and it's so big and airy.”
“Oh, don't be green.” Lacey quickly said. “You have to remember Drew's a contractor, but his first love is building furniture. He made my cabinets,” she chuckled. “He built this place from the ground up, while we lived in it. Trust me, that's the only way we could afford vaulted ceilings and skylights.” <i>Lord, please don't let her be jealous. It'll ruin our friendship and her life.</i>
“You lived here while it was being built?”
“Yeah. You should've seen us: two preschoolers and a toddler. It was constant chaos.”
“Wouldn't it have been easier to just buy a house?”
“We were working with limited resources and wanted to borrow as little as possible. We saved a ton of money by taking our time and doing it ourselves. So tell me, are you glad you've moved back home?” Lacey asked.
“Well,” Amanda began, stirring sugar into her iced tea, “sometimes.”
Lacey cocked her head, listening as she squeezed a wedge of lemon and gave her tea a swirl.
“We had a real nice house but when we moved back here we had to choose between smaller and nice or larger. We went larger because of the kids.”
“I take it your new house isn't as nice?”
Amanda groaned. “It doesn't even come close to being nice; it needs <i>so</i> much work. Mark says we can do it ourselves and have it completely redone in five years, but it's awful right now and five years is a long time with little kids constantly underfoot.” She took a sip of tea and looked around Lacey's kitchen. “It's driving me crazy. I wish it looked like this,” she waved her hand indicating the kitchen.
“You'll make yourself miserable doing that, you know.”
“I think I'm already miserable.”
“Well, are you gonna stay that way?”
“You gonna keep me company?” Amanda asked with a smile.
“I didn't think you would; you've got it made.”
“What? Did you ever see what we lived in before we built this house? It was an ancient, tiny trailer. Our bed was side-by-side with our table, which was right next to the counter. The tile flooring was peeling and the bathroom was tiny--I couldn't turn around in it when I was pregnant.” Lacey shook her head. “Believe me, I know about being discontent with what you have, and I don't <i>ever</i> want to go back there. And I'm not talking about the trailer; I'm talking about being miserable and discontent. It wasn't until <i>after</i> I learned to be content where I was that we were able to build this house. No, I won't keep you company if you're going to make yourself miserable.”
“Thank you,” Amanda said quietly, with a small smile. “You're right. Why don't I keep you company instead?”
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