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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: The Blanket
By Maxx .


Shadowed slats from the mini-blinds dissected the painted luminance of a fickle moon. The fumbling breeze clutched and groped in an awkward seduction, promising forever in an instant, pleasure with no pain. Slender vines of jasmine arched and swayed against the window as if in wanton reply.

On the nightstand my digital clock smoldered, leering a fiery red, winking in the conspiratorial rhythm of time eroding.

3:00 AM.

The shape in bed next to me shifted and groaned.

I raised a hand to my nose and inhaled; long, slow, searching.

It was still there … she was still there. Faint, almost a memory, but pungent and tantalizing.

I pushed away the blanket, the woolen fibers scratching through our threadbare sheet, a million little claws clutching at exposed skin, suffocating me nightly. I swore.

Jenny had been in the copy room near the postage meter where the isle is narrowed by boxes of envelopes and letterhead. She had loitered, straightening the labels, watching the door … waiting.

I had needed to get past.

She lingered.

I squeezed by.

She leaned. Her young body, firm beneath the contoured dress, pressed against me. Her manicured fingertips brushed my chest … electric.

My breath had caught, surged, filling my lungs. Flowery shampoo mingled with musky perfume, a coiled addiction eager to ensnare.

Her eyes, a deep brown, seemed to hold a molten depth. She looked up at me, moist, round, expectant. The alluring shape of her mouth …

I touched her. My hand slipped along her scented back, delicate, slender, hot.

She had smiled … and walked away, the sway of her hips an irresistible image seared into my mind.

The woman in the bed beside me rolled, tugging the smothering woolen blanket, that heirloom from her grandmother, that thing which I resisted. She moved. From beneath the covers came chipped nails and calloused hands. The faded, hopelessly stretched college sweatshirt I’d given her so many years before appeared a mottled relic.

My lips drew thin and I shook my head.

Jenny wouldn’t wear a ratty sweatshirt. She’d be in lace, if anything at all. Her sheets, crimson silk. I could make that happen, for her, for … us.

I smelled for her fragrance once again. But the must of the night combined with the dander from the wool and the essence that was Jenny faded until it was lost.

“No!” My voice growled in a searing whisper …

… as my wife flopped beneath the ancient mantle.

I kicked my feet free of their bondage and turned to stand, to … escape.

The wind gusted about the house, goading me. “You can get more,” it promised. “She’ll be waiting in the copy room tomorrow. Nobody will ever know.” The clock winked agreement and the nubile vines enticed. “Anything you want.”

I wondered if they were right. “Jenny …” Her name hung in my guttural mumble.

I moved to the window as my body tingled and my thoughts wandered into dangerous territory.

A stirring beyond the nightlight in the hallway startled me, tiny fingers on a crib sheet. The mother of my baby roused, stood, and hurried to the door; bare feet padding to the next room.

“I’m here.” Her voice was warm, rich, soothing. “I’ll always be here for my precious angel.”

The wind died away as my daughter cooed in response.

I returned to bed, nestling deep, and counted my multiple blessings.

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This article has been read 1022 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sally Hanan01/17/08
Ooh, I think I know who wrote this one ;) Awesome descriptive writing.
Verna Cole Mitchell 01/19/08
Such powerful descriptions. I was angry with your mc for entertaining over and again his adulterous thoughts and dreams when he was so blessed.
Debbie Roome 01/20/08
Rich details. I could picture this so clearly.
Joanne Sher 01/20/08
So amazingly visual and evocative. Masterful.
Dee Yoder 01/21/08
He may have gone back to bed, but he's got some 'splainin' to do. He needs some counseling-fast-or he may still end up being a statistic! The descriptions of his thoughts were so vividly written, I wanted to throttle this naive man.
Sally Hanan01/22/08
First lullabies and now blankets...are we expecting again??
Paula Titus 01/22/08
Honest and passionate. Great story.
LauraLee Shaw01/22/08
Your opening paragraph was brilliant. The rest of it was MY worst nightmare. Very realistic for many, undoubtedly.
Gerald Shuler 01/22/08
The rumors are flying in the message boards about a superman of writing. I could shoot bullets at this piece and they would fall harmlessly to the floor.
What I liked the most was that you used the image of a blanket to show how real life sometimes scratches us to the point of irritation but it is still part of the blessings.
Holly Westefeld01/22/08
Vivid description and imagery. I like how you used the jasmine vine to symbolize the temptation.
Julie Ruspoli01/22/08
Bravo! Great message. I'm glad he realized what was important.
[Oh, maybe he should buy her a new nightshirt. ;) ]
I really enjoyed reading this, could't read fast enough to find out what happened.
Debbie Wistrom01/22/08
Love all the words choices here, especially the word mantle. Please continue to enter the challenge.
Karen Wilber01/22/08
Once more with the back and forth between contrasts - scratchy and silky, ratty and lacey. Really shows the torment that the MC placed himself in. Glad he came to his senses (pun intended). He BETTER count his blessings. ;-)
Jan Ackerson 01/22/08
Perfect in every way, as always. I'm so glad you're entering again!
Betty Castleberry01/22/08
Yeah, and I bet Miss Jenny would end up in something frumpy after a few months, too. ;0)
I was irritated with your MC until the end when he did the right thing. Superb description. Big thumbs up.
Joy Faire Stewart01/22/08
Perfect illustration for the topic. Even though he made the right decision, I still didn't care for the MC. I love the descriptive writing style; making it one of my favorite entries this week.
Linda Watson Owen01/22/08
Ok, I'm back from dumping the nightshirt in the trash can! LOL! In a word...greatstuff! (so I used two) You're a true artist in every sense of the word. What a treat to have you back in the Challenge!
Catrina Bradley 01/22/08
The imagery is tantalizing, and I don't need to mention the descriptions, do I? Perfect.
Beth LaBuff 01/23/08
The scene painted by your first paragraph is amazing/beautiful. I think all the women reading this were "saying" to your MC, "NO, no don't go there." Yes, you are definitely a master. Awesome writing.
Sara Harricharan 01/24/08
Hmmm. Very interesting. I'm glad that he sort of changed his mind in the end, for a moment, I thought this was an elderly couple until I got to the end where there was the baby daughter. The opening descriptions are very nice. I liked them.
Loren T. Lowery03/25/08
Maxx, evocotive and as always with you, a good read. You do have a way with words! Loren
K. J. Cash03/27/08
Yes, we start out as Jennys, give our energy and life to our children, and end up as nameless lumps in the bed. Lucky ones can count on wise and noble husbands. Others have to keep the nails manicured at any cost. You did a beautiful job telling this too close for comfort story. The blanket analogy is great!