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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Adolescence/Teen Years (07/16/09)

TITLE: Confession is good for the soul
By larry troxell


“Mom, I have a confession.”

My daughter’s comment startled me more than the phone ringing, awakening me from a Sunday afternoon nap. I had learned from my mother confession was always good for the soul. Either that or a thin hickory switch to the behind from my father.

Malinda had always been the good kid in her class. Wanting to take oranges and candy to the family homeless shelter. Demanding to go riding with her Papa in his wheelchair every night, not just on Sunday afternoon visits to the nursing home. Or asking her father if her long-haired buddy could hang out in our living room until his dad sobered up.

At the age of 10, my daughter petitioned her parents to vote for the female candidate for governor. She argued a woman should be the boss as much as a man. And by the way Dad, why couldn’t Mommy drive the car sometimes?

Intelligent, attractive, and big-hearted Malinda never lacked for friends. She was loyal to them, always had their back. Like the time she rushed her friend Lindsey to the hospital after finding her nearly unconscious from drinking a fifth of vodka because her boyfriend had dumped her. Then there was the episode where we had the police looking for Malinda because she wasn’t home by 2 a.m. after the prom. Her story checked out. She had designated herself to drive inebriated friends home.

“Why Mom do boys only want one thing?” she would ask. We usually were able to talk through each episode, but more than once, she turned on me, crying and yelling as to why I didn’t like a certain boy. I would try to hug and comfort her but occasionally she would push me away and it would break my heart.

Then there was the day she broke her father’s heart. She had arrived home from college for her first weekend visit. Her long blond hair and curls were gone; instead she was sporting a short stylish bob. She and I were in the living room floor stretched out, working on her college calculus. Malinda saw her dad’s stunned face as he walked into room. She ran her hand through her short hair, smiling, “What Dad? I’m working as a full-time student now and I don’t have an hour every morning to fix my hair. Mom understands.”

Today, I’m on the phone with my daughter who is now 35. She had been brushing our granddaughter’s long blond curls and a thought came to mind.

“Mom, it was Pamela who knocked a hole in the wall at the last slumber party you let me have. Remember when we lived out at Wood Haven? I helped hide it by moving that fake flower bush in front of the hole. I lied about not knowing how it happened or who did it. I just wanted to confess.”

A few days after my daughter’s 10th birthday party, I discovered the indentation in the drywall. Pamela had slid down the stair handrail, stopping herself when her feet hit the wall. Malinda had played innocent, arguing she didn’t have any idea how it happened.”

“Confession is good for the soul, even if it’s 25 years later,” my daughter laughed.

Mom understands.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Patty Wysong07/29/09
What a walk through those teen years! I didn't realize the confession was over the phone, so that was confusing, and you changed pov, but I like how you brought it full circle and tied a few things all together at the end. As a mom, I really enjoyed the full circle you portrayed. :)