Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Feel (emotions) (08/26/10)
TITLE: Little Miss Sensitive
By Francy Judge
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My husband lifts his head from the sports section of Newsday. “Oh hi, you’re back. How was work?”
“Didn’t you hear me—how I came in? I don’t usually slam things.”
“No, you never do that; only once a week. Maybe twice. No more than everyday.”
“Ha ha. You would too if you had my supervisor. Linda left work early-I guess she works according to her own time clock-and called back to speak to the nursing home administrator. Of course he didn’t answer, so I asked Linda if she wanted me to page Mr. Williams.”
“How long is this story?”
“Okay, I’ll give you the short version. After I asked if she wanted me to page him, she said: ‘Well that would be nice.’ Very snippy, like I’m some kind of idiot for asking. I was just trying to be polite and transfer her call.”
“Is that all?”
“And I was in the middle of creating a pile of charts for her as a favor. Does she think I’m the lowly receptionist or her personal slave?”
“Honey, aren’t you being a little sens—“
“Don’t say it. I am not.”
That night, as I sipped coffee and read, I drifted back into sixth grade. . .
The votes were cast: Maria—most likely to succeed; Julia—most popular; Brian—most intelligent; Karen—most humorous. Mr. Campo recited the results among cheers.
“Whoo hoo! Alright Julia!”
Fidgeting in my seat, praying I would not be “most shy,” I waited to hear my name.
“And last but not least,” he said, “Nancy—most sensitive.”
The class giggled. My eyes began to fill with “sensitive” tears. Not that! How could he call me sensitive in front of the whole class? Why not just call me cry baby? I don’t know why anyone would call me sensitive…I could hear the whispers:
“Little Miss Sensitive.”
Okay, maybe I did cry when Mr. Campo asked why I didn’t finish my whale report on time. But he didn’t know I stayed up late and tried real hard to make it perfect. It was perfect until my little sister found it the next morning and scribbled on all three pages.
And there was the time I ran out of the classroom because Matt announced my shirt was inside out. I don’t want anyone to make fun of me. Especially him.
Matt followed me into the hall. “Hey, don’t cry. I wasn’t laughing at you . . . just wanted you to know your shirt was on wrong.” He smiled.
I smiled and sniffled and married him fourteen years later.
The next day, as I type a letter for Linda, I can hear her clip clop down the hall followed by a pitter patter and a squeak squeak. They stop and I look up at her.
“Thank you, Nancy, for the charts you made. They came out great—perfect.”
“No problem, anytime.”
“These are my youngest three. The five older ones are at home.”
Barbara, a resident, chimes in: “Are they your grandkids?”
Noticing Linda’s silver-streaked hair, crows feet around her eyes, and multiple smile lines, I assume the same. But Linda answers, “No, their mine—adopted from India. Danny is ten; Maria, eight, and Timmy, the acrobat, is three.”
Danny is blind in one eye, but they all wear happy, angelic faces. Maria holds Linda’s hand, and Timmy hangs on her leg.
Being sensitive does have some good points: I can feel Linda’s love for her children. I can see her kind heart. I was wrong about her. Like usual, my emotions travel straight from my heart to my tear ducts. I quickly turn my head to wipe my eyes before she notices. I wouldn’t want her to think I was…
Oh, why hide it—just call me Little Miss Sensitive.
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