Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Oops (01/14/10)
TITLE: Don't Run in the House
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"Oops." Jamie grabbed the vase before it toppled to the floor.
"How many times do I have to ask you not to run in the house?"
Jamie looked down at his bare feet. "Sorry, Mom."
Ginny fingered her son's untamed blond curls. "To be honest, Jamie, I would be more concerned about your feet getting cut than this...this old thing." Ginny pushed the vase further back on the entry foyer table so it was closer to the wall.
"It's ugly," Ben said quietly.
The monstrosity spoiled the sense of a modern welcome they once had in the entrance area of their home. Unfortunately, the vase was to remain. Ginny sighed heavily. "Your great aunt Sarah doesn't think it's ugly. She would be very upset with me if I was to get rid of it." The door bell rang. "We just never know when she's going to visit."
Oops! She thought. "Oh, um. Hello, Aunt Sarah," Ginny responded as best she could. "Jamie and I were, um, just talking about you."
"Well now, how is young Jamie?" Aunt Sarah stepped into the entry room and turned her back to the boy's mother and unbuttoned her coat.
"I'm okay, thank you. Mom can I go play with the kittens now?"
Ginny eased the coat from the frail woman's back. "Yes, but put your shoes on and don't run in the house."
It was too late. He had dashed out of the room. A few seconds later the back door banged shut.
"Boys." The women responded together.
Ginny hung the coat in the closet by the door. She breathed in a lung full of air and released it slowly before following the older woman into the kitchen. "Tea?" she inquired picking up the kettle.
"Thanks. Hot and strong with a tad of sugar. You know how I like it."
While the water heated, Ginny listened to the continuous chatter from her eccentric and only aunt. She always had a story; mostly tales she had repeated often. A change in her aunt's tone caught Ginny's attention.
"You know, Ginny, my boys would never have appreciated that vase as much as you do."
Ginny obliged with a small smile. "Really?" She stood to pour the water in to the teapot and placed cups and saucers on the table. Mugs would never be tolerated by Lady Sarah Groves. "What do you mean?" Ginny persisted after a hushed moment.
"When I decided to downsize to the condo, so the boys move into Manor House with their families," Sarah continued, "they were actually going to toss the vase out. Toss it out, I say. How could they?"
How could they indeed? Ginny thought. Instead she said: "Is that why you gave it to me?"
"One day when I'm dead, they'll be sorry. Ginny, when I'm gone you can do whatever you like with the vase. Just leave it where it is for now. It's all yours."
"Thanks", Ginny mumbled her reply with a forced smile. She poured the brewed tea in silence. Great, she thought, she could live another twenty years before I can do what should have been done along time ago--toss it out.
The back door banged and Jamie raced past the two women sipping their tea.
"Don't run in the hou..." Before she could finish the sentence there was a loud crash from the front room. Ginny put her cup down with a clatter and stared momentarily into the eyes opposite that had suddenly glazed over. Ginny stood and rushed from the room.
"Oops. Sorry, Mom."
Ginny looked at her son and then to the tiled floor where dozens of broken porcelain pieces were scattered. Well at least he has shoes on, she thought.
The gasped remark came from behind Ginny. Her attention moved to the ashen face of Aunt Sarah who was leaning against the door frame; the back of her hand against her forehead.
"I do hope you have insurance, Ginny dear."
"Why?" Ginny asked vaguely.
"It may have been a cheap replica but it was still worth $40,000."
Mother and son stared at each other; their thoughts intermingled.
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