I stubbed my toe on a stone frog this morning.
What it was doing in place of my slippers was a complete mystery to me. I will say that slamming one’s feet into a freezing, outdoor, amphibian replica is not the way to start the morning.
My day did not get any better. First, the coffeemaker broke. My bootlaces followed suit by snapping, leaving me to wear loafers. I ended the chain by spilling yogurt on my new photo assignment.
The photo assignment I should’ve been doing.
Frustrated words are etched in the empty page of my journal. All I need is one moment with no interruptions to capture the sun before it sets. Why can’t I do this? If I dared to freelance instead of working at an insurance firm, I could find hope instead of shattered dreams in burned ruins.
I desperately want to blame it on my sister-in-law. She begged me to watch my scatter-brained niece.
Meeko is ten years old and the first creative walking disaster I have ever met. She loves frogs, birds and rearranging whatever her busy fingers can find My neatly organized stacks of paperwork are transformed to origami reptiles as she charges through life at a hundred miles per hour.
Born partially deaf, hearing aids are a must. However, Mekko rarely pays attention to the fussing around her, even when I am fairly sure that she can hear me.
Sometimes I think she simply chooses to ignore me. Like when I told her to stop pouring detergent in the dishwasher. I cleaned out most of it, but she must have squirted some inside.
My apartment kitchen resembles an oversized-bathtub with lemon-scented suds.
“I’m sorry Aunt Lizzy!” She’d apologized, her peacock-green eyes round in awe. “I really am!”
That was one phrase I would hear throughout the day before I would repeat after each disaster. “Don’t worry, Meeko. That’s all right.”
I silently built up a lecture in my head, not daring to let it out. Yet.
Instead, I bundled her into a coat, shoes and backpack to accompany me on my daily routine.
Some grocery shopping, picking up the dry cleaning and of course, dropping off Meeko. Somewhere between the errands, I promised Meeko lunch. She ordered a kids’ meal for the toy and I ordered a salad for my sanity.
As we ate, I asked her what the stone frog was doing in the bedroom. She blushed redder than the ketchup on her shoes and mumbled something about it being cold.
I didn’t bother to ask her to elaborate. Cleaning up the ketchup took over my attention as I tried to keep her still.
“Meeko!” I couldn’t keep the frustration from my voice when she toppled the remainder of her burger on my perfect ponytail.
Her lower lip quivered. I swallowed my sigh and tamped down the raging lecture. Again. “Don’t worry. That’s all right.” I parroted. “Let’s just get you home before your mother arrives.”
The ride back to my house blurred in silence as I pulled into the midst of crime scene. Yellow police tape crisscrossed in front of my garage as I managed to put the jeep in park.
“Aunt Lizzy?” Meeko is holding my hand as I stare at the approaching police officer. This can’t be happening.
My mouth answered questions of my identity, insurance and whether I was all right. Someone’s gas grill had exploded through the fence and into my tiny apartment.
My neat stacks of paperwork are beautifully charred.
Gone were the pictures and reports that took more time from me than I had to spare.
Several hours later, minus Meeko, I moped inside a hotel room, babying my rotten attitude.
There was nothing really left to do. I emptied the duffel I’d been allowed to bring. Flecks of ash blended into the standard bedspread. My journal tumbled out, falling open to my morning rant.
I had plenty more to add to it.
Anger left me as new threads of my dreams wove through the recent despair. I wanted a chance. A new start. I’d gotten it.
The last rays of sun peeked through smudged mini-blinds. I rummaged through my duffel to find my camera.
Today I will capture the sun before it sets.
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