Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Actions Speak Louder than Words" (without using the actual phrase). (02/21/08)
TITLE: Stinking Situation
By Angela M. Baker-Bridge
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What smells? Rachel cringed as she waved the air in front of her nose. Boldly, she entered her tiny abode, struggling not to gag. I was only gone a few hours, what could have happened?
Looking around, Rachel saw her husband lying on the floor watching football. Several feet away, her toddler sat in his little wooden rocking chair. “Is that disgusting odor coming from the baby? John? Diarrhea is running down Benjamin’s legs. Why is he sitting in a dirty diaper?”
“Because he pooped,” her husband blurted out, signaling her to hush as he intently gazed at the television. “Touchdown!” he screamed as animatedly as possible.
“Okay woman, you should know better than to come in here and start talking to me in the last quarter of the game with 15 seconds to go. Now, what were you babbling about?”
Rachel’s piercing gaze could have melted a glacier. “I want to know why you’re lying there watching football while Benjamin’s sitting in filth. How could you stand the smell? Was it too much to ask that you watch him while I went to the women’s meeting?”
“Look, it’s not my fault if right after you left the kid messed himself. I had to put him somewhere or it would have gotten all over the couch. A little gratitude would be nice.”
“Gratitude?” Rachel’s eyes welled with tears as she grabbed the baby. “And right after I left? That means he’s been sitting here over two hours? How could you be so lazy? Why didn’t you change his diaper?”
Benjamin started crying. Between the smell and the mess, it was difficult for Rachel to hold him close enough to comfort him.
“Now you made the kid cry, are you happy?” John flipped through the television channels until he found another sporting event. “Let me get this straight, I let you go to the meeting and you come home with an attitude, acting like I did something wrong?”
Trembling, Rachel disrobed the baby, preparing to bathe him in the kitchen sink. Not responding to her husband only added to his agitation. “Rachel, I’m waiting for an answer.”
“Oh you don’t want to hear my answer right now. Besides, you still haven’t answered my original question, like why didn’t you change Benjamin’s diaper? And don’t tell me you didn’t have time, because you said it yourself, he sat there like this over two hours!”
Walking closer to Rachel, John was quite matter-of-fact. “Because I don’t do diapers… never have… never will. I told you that before he was born, and nothings changed.”
“It’s one thing not to want to change his diapers when I’m here, but when he’s alone with you? Especially, when a loose bowel movement runs down his legs? My God, John, you say you love us, but I find it hard to believe.”
John rolled his eyes, “What’s not changing a diaper got to do with loving you? Is this going to be one of your ridiculously irrelevant unrelated connect-the-dots speeches? Because if it is, truthfully? I’m not interested.”
As she removed the soiled clothes from Benjamin, Rachel tried to subdue her rage. “John, the dots are not irrelevant or unrelated. If you’re going to say you love someone, you’d better be prepared to prove it to them. Doing this today is just another example of how clueless you are. You refuse to meet me half way. I need, no; we need, you to do more than just talk about loving us. We need you to support us.”
Slamming his fist on the kitchen counter, John glared at Rachel. “Are you insinuating I don’t support you well enough?”
“That’s not what I said. You’re a good provider, but you don’t support us in practical ways, helping out around here, co-parenting, showing us you care, like changing a diaper when necessary.”
John headed for the door, stopped, and then looked back at Rachel. “No matter what I say, you don’t believe I love you. Women wish their husbands told them ‘I love you’ as often as I tell you.” John’s face was beet red as he left.
Gently caressing Benjamin, Rachel told her son, “No, women wish their husbands showed them they’re loved* … connect these dots … love your wife like Christ loved the church.** Benjamin, you’re not what’s stinking around here.”
*“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” I Corinthians 13:1 (NIV)
**“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” Ephesians 5:25 (NIV)
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