Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: On the Telephone (11/18/10)
TITLE: The Mottled Trail of Pink and Sparkles
By Theresa Santy
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Reminded of interruptions, the housewife adjusted her ponytail and went to check on her four year old daughter Krissy, following the trail of pink and sparkles. A glittery scarf, a blushing tutu, abandoned rosy paper crafts—Brenna gathered them all, like little bread crumbs leading her directly into her daughter’s bedroom.
“My goodness, what a shimmering teddy bear tea,” said Brenna. “Looks like glitter glue’s been sprayed over the entire party.”
“Yep,” said Krissy. “I like sparkles. I sprayed extra on Big Ted to make his hair poufy like mine.”
“Oh honey, I don’t think that’s going to come out.”
“Brrrrrang,” said Krissy, putting on her mother’s telephone headset. “Scuse me Mama. Gotta take this.”
Brenna threw up her hands and scurried away, eager to harness additional uninterrupted effort while her daughter was engaged in her pretend conversation. The housewife delighted in her use of ‘free time’ and swiftly managed dishes and laundry until they were crisp and clean. While her daughter remained occupied, she whistled joyful uninterrupted tunes and assembled mile-high turkey and bacon sandwiches.
“Lunch is ready,” she sang out.
“I’m on the pho-oooone,” shouted Krissy.
The mother leaned into her daughter’s room, “Time to hang up honey.”
Krissy spun around. Her gigantic brown eyes were wide, and glaring, and made the room feel twenty degrees cooler than the rest of the house, “What in Jesus’ name is all that ruckus? I am trying to have a conversation.”
Ouch! The daughter’s imitation of her mother was uncanny, so perfect in fact that it saved the daughter from severe punishment. Instead Brenna mustered, “Ex-cuse me?”
Krissy spoke into the headset, “Hold on please.” Still in character, the little girl slid the speaker piece below her chin and covered it with her hand, to mute the sound you see, and held Brenna in a frightful gaze, “What’s the rule when I’m on the phone?”
Brenna wanted to flick the impudence out of her daughter, but of course she would never do that outside of her thoughts. Besides, she couldn’t stop smiling, even laughing. So she obliged by taking on the character of the scorned child, answering the question with a dreadful tone, stretching her words as if they were being exhumed against their will, “Unless the house is on fire or I’m on fire, I must not interrupt your telephone conversations.”
The little girl flashed a grin at her mother and returned to her imaginary telephone friend.
Brenna walked away with mixed feelings. She was a good mother, right? Role playing is a healthy form of play which sparks growth and understanding, and boy was Krissy good at playing her mother! But refusing to come to lunch—how much leeway should be given? Brenna thought about dropping to her knees to pray for guidance, but decided there would be time for that later.
Then Krissy entered the kitchen, “I smell bacon.”
Brenna smiled, and mother and daughter sat down for lunch.
“Who was on the phone?” asked Brenna.
Krissy tried desperately to get her tiny mouth around her colossal sandwich, but gave up and answered her mother, “It was Jesus Mama.”
“Who’s Jesus Mama?” replied Brenna with a giggle.
“Mama! You’re being silly. It was Jesus, you know, your Lord and Savior?”
“Really!” exclaimed Brenna using her best fake-surprised expression.
“What did He say?”
“He told lots of funny stories. He likes to tell funny stories.”
“Oh, I like funny stories too. Anything else?”
“He said he loves you, Mama. Very much.”
Suddenly, Krissy’s imaginary Jesus tugged at Brenna’s heart and her eyes filled with water.
“Jesus said He hasn’t heard from you for awhile,” said Krissy. “He calls and calls, but the line is always busy.”
Brenna was unable to speak, eat, or close her mouth, but only think that perhaps ‘later’ should come sooner than later.
With no further interruptions from her mother, Krissy applied all her efforts toward her sandwich. While her head bobbed up and down, clumps of pink glitter glue smeared throughout her hair reflected rays of light, shooting the beams in every direction.
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