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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Once in a Blue Moon (01/06/11)

TITLE: Yesterday's Raindrops
By Kimberly Russell


New Year's Day was going to be perfect. Bundled in fluffy pajamas, I hummed along with praise music that filtered through the house. Heavenly aromas floated from my favorite mug, perched on the coffee warmer. Even the dog snoozed contentedly in a nearby sunbeam, happy to have me home for the day.

I was at peace with my world.

A few projects were on the agenda and I had every intention of sticking with my resolve to at least be a little productive, even though it was a holiday. And what better way to start out the new year than to file away old paperwork?

Soon I was sprawled on the floor of my office, happily packing up 2010 and creating a set of manila folders for 2011. Fortunately, I'm a recycle freak so when supplies ran low, I just dug through a drawer for a stack of old folders to re-label.

But as I started to shuffle through them, I had no idea how the words written on the tabs from previous use would affect me. Old history came dredging to the surface and I was immediately catapulted into the past.

A place I really didn't want to visit.

I rarely ventured down memory lane because every time I did, the scabs of previous hurts were ripped wide open. Shattered dreams and painful events never seemed to completely heal and looking back was a risky endeavor. Of course, the fact that I bandaged with avoidance probably didn't help.

But I was determined that my emotional state would not control me and forged ahead. The first folder was labeled "Bob's Truck."

My sharp intake of breath was enough to wake the dog. She cocked her head sideways, giving me that "Hey, what's up?" dog-look. Usually it made me giggle out loud. Not this day.

And my mind took off like a sprinter in the state championships.

My ex-husband had salivated over that Ram pick-up from the day he spotted it at the car lot. Of course, the "good wife" was willing to do anything to please him. We stretched financially and soon it graced our driveway. Months later, he left me for another woman and zoomed away with all his things piled in the bed of that beautiful, black Ram. And took my "happily ever after" with him.

I covered the offending words, brandishing correction tape with quick efficiency, while
wishing the pain in my heart could be as easily repaired.

Tears slid down my cheeks and I scrubbed them away while lecturing my inner drama queen to give it a rest. Until I saw the next folder:


Uh oh.

Several few years ago, my family had to work through the painful process of putting our mother in a nursing home. It was an excruciating decision, even though we knew it was for the best.

I pictured the institutional-like room where she lived her last few years. The stale, medicinal smell still assaulted my nostrils and I could almost feel her hand clutch mine as she took her last breath.

By this time, I was about to crack but couldn't stop myself from flipping through the rest of the folders. It seemed this project was going to hold me captive, every memory stabbing my heart:

"Medical"-as a result from my son's near-fatal car accident, we ended up with massive hospital bills.
"Pepper"-my favorite cat that had to be put down due to illness.
"Remodel"-when we attempted to modernize the bathroom ourselves and it turned into a fiasco.

Tears flowed freely-there was no stopping them. Truthfully, I didn't want to.

I curled into the fetal position, weeping and gulping, as my body shook from the exertion. Years of sorrow that had been stuffed away oozed out as I wailed at God to take away the pain.

Even though it was only a few minutes, it seemed like forever until the sobs finally subsided. I lay in a crumpled heap, exhausted yet strangely calm, staring at tears that had seeped into the carpet like drops of rain from a sudden cloudburst.

And after the storm, a still, small voice...

"My Child: Remember that I send raindrops to ready the ground for planting. Only then can I bloom new life.

Don't avoid the past. Grieve your losses and move on, for that is the only way I can prepare you for the good things to come."

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Member Comments
Member Date
diana kay01/13/11
this is a lovely piece. you packed s much into the words count and reminded me that i too have stacks of those type of papers that need clearing out. I am not exactly sure where the "blue moon" came into it unless it was that only "once in a blue moon" did the spring clean happen :-)
Laury Hubrich 01/15/11
I get lost in past memories, too, when I go through papers. I like your title. It fit very well for this story. Nice job.

You may have wanted to hit the topic harder to make sure it wasn't hidden but it should be okay. Most only do these things once in a blue moon, for sure:)
Brenda Rice 01/15/11
Great use of language. A lot said in your word count. I like your message at the end.Thanks for sharing.
Carol Slider 01/15/11
Sometimes, it's worth a trip to Office Depot to get a new box of folders... but that's just me. It's true that often we have to confront our past in order to move on, and you portrayed that with heart-rending and moving realism. Well done.
Henry Clemmons01/18/11
I so identify/. Great job. Super title. Very well written.
Verna Cole Mitchell 01/18/11
Your very well written story reminded me to get rid of symbols of memories that drag me done. Your conclusion was a great witness.
Glynis Becker01/18/11
Well done. I could feel the anguish, then the peace of the main character. Wonderful writing.
Mariane Holbrook 01/18/11
A very nice entry with some very good dialog! Kudos!
Sarah Heywood01/19/11
You did a really nice job with this piece - I could definitely feel the "healing rain" as the MC confronted old hurts. Good job!