Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Winter (the season) (08/13/09)
- TITLE: When the Wind Blows
By Anita van der Elst
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Gerald’s rumble competed with the gale howling outside. Not even a train running through their bedroom would wake the man up when he was sawing logs like that.
Marcy edged from under the covers, slipped her feet into fleece-lined moccasins and headed for the living room. The airtight woodstove emanated heat but she pulled the afghan from the back of the recliner, snuggling under it just for comfort’s sake.
Staring at the smoldering coals visible through the stove’s glass window, Marcy wondered what had happened to the heat in her marriage. Their tenth anniversary had come and gone last week without celebration. She wished they could talk about it but Gerald didn’t seem to have the time. Her heart longed for romance but Gerald had apparently lost his touch. She ached for children but her womb wasn’t much inclined to accommodate her.
After trying for two years I feel like a failure. Will he want to stay with me if I can’t have children? That’s one thing he can talk about for hours—kids. He loves his nieces and nephews. But he wants his own children. First time we looked at this house, he said that room on the south side would be a perfect nursery.
Oh, I want them too, so much. But God, Marcy prayed, our marriage is faltering and I don’t think having children is the way to fix it. Our relationship needs to be secure first. Please show us what to do.
Gerald rose at his usual time to get ready for work. He found his wife asleep with only her nose visible from under the afghan. Kleenex wadded together like small snowdrifts on the floor alerted him she’d been crying again. His shoulders slumped.
What am I doing wrong? I’ve provided this perfect cottage for her with sunroom where she can paint; her summer garden; even an acre of piney woods to explore on the back acre. But lately she’s been distant. Why won’t she tell me what’s bothering her?
He lifted his head and cocked it as if he’d heard a small voice. I know she wants children. Maybe it’s my fault she hasn’t gotten pregnant. But I love her so much. I want kids too but I don’t want to lose her if we can’t have any. What can I do to bring back the spark, Lord?
Waiting for the coffee to perk Gerald pulled open the kitchen curtains to see snow piled halfway up the window. He peered over the edge into a world of white. Drifts, skimmed by power lines, occluded the road. His forehead took on new worry lines and he sighed. All those extra hours getting the bid ready and now I won’t be able to meet with my client.
He poured his coffee and sat down at the table. Marcy’s date-book lay open to one side. Gerald couldn’t help but see the red heart-encircled date. Coffee sloshed from his cup in the one hand as he slapped himself on the forehead with the other. Maybe it’s a good thing I can’t go into work today. You think, you dummy?!
Marcy awoke to a mug of coffee under her nose and Gerald kneeling at her feet, his shamed face peering up at her. The fire of two hearts re-ignited as they met in confession and forgiveness. New understandings and commitments were reached that snowbound day.
A few weeks later, although spring promised an appearance, woodsy shadows preserved the snowdrifts, solidly hard-packed. Gerald, picnic basket on one arm, led Marcy under the pines. In the largest snowdrift he’d dug a tunnel. Marcy crawled through behind him, emerging into the room he’d carved out big enough for two. Thick old quilts spread over fresh-cut boughs could not block their piney aroma. Gerald set out lunch on the snow shelf he’d fashioned. They supped together, intimate communication bringing all the warmth and romance needed.
Spring bowed out to summer when Marcy, with a quirky smile, showed Gerald her newest painting. It hung on the nursery wall—a snowdrift under pines, and from a firry bough a cradle rocked.
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