Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Escape (01/02/06)
TITLE: The Dawning of Reality
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As she began the daily cleanup her 17 year old daughter came clomping down the stairs. “Bye Mom”! She paused in her duties, “Wait just a minute young lady”. There it was - that exasperated teenage sigh. “Now what”? Her second born paused briefly in the doorway of the dining room, textbooks resting on her hip and cars keys jangling impatiently in her hand. “Will you be home after school”? Again that exasperated sigh that she had come to loathe. “No, I’m going to Laura’s house and then we’re meeting Sean at the movie theater after work. Remember I told you about it yesterday”? Befuddled, she felt befuddled again. Why couldn’t she remember things anymore? Had her mind become so bogged down with Nothingness that she was unable to recall simple conversations? “Now that you mentioned it, of course I remember”. Her daughter gave her a strange look. “Are you feeling ok Mom”? Fear engulfed her, was her teenager questioning her sanity? She smiled, “Of course I feel ok. Why wouldn’t I”? A shrug, “I don’t know. I guess if I were trapped like you I’d be going off the deep end too”. Before she could think of a reply her daughter glanced at the clock then bolted for the back door. Within minutes she heard the ancient Chrysler LeBaron rumble to life and head down the road towards the high school.
She was stunned by her daughter’s words. Trapped, was that how others perceived her, as being trapped in a meaningless existence? Come to think of it, that’s exactly how she felt. She was trapped in a humdrum existence performing endless chores that no one in the family even acknowledged, much less appreciated. “They were right, motherhood is the most thankless job in the world” she muttered as she surveyed her chaotic kingdom through tears of self-pity.
Images began to flash before her eyes; she saw herself as a charming, carefree twenty-something adult with a neat and spotless apartment. She longed for a time machine so she could escape this unrewarding life and go back to her happier unattached days of yesteryear. A niggling thought interrupted her reverie. Are you sure you want to relive those days of singlehood? “Of course I do”! The words shattered the morning stillness. More images, only these weren’t rose colored. She caught a glimpse of herself lying in bed on a cold winter’s night, wishing she had a husband by her side. Next she saw a woman sitting forlornly on the sidelines enviously watching the happy couples playing with their laughing children. Why that’s me, she realized with a start. I was the forgotten one while the rest of the world was pairing up, having weddings, starting families. Back then I longed to escape my loneliness and find a guy who would love and cherish me.
Then it hit her like a bolt of lightening. A new prayer formed on her lips, only this time it was a prayer of thanksgiving. “Dear Lord, you did allow me to escape, but at the time I didn’t realize it”. She looked around her messy but comfortable house. Once again tears fell unbidden from her eyes, only this time they were tears of gratitude. “Thank you Lord for helping me escape from a life of loneliness to a life filled with love”. For this truly was the escape she had dreamed about during those years when she was single and wanting more than an empty apartment and an unfulfilled heart. Ah, the dawning of a new day and the realization of an answered prayer!
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