Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: SKULDUGGERY (09/01/16)
TITLE: A Surrogate Mother
By Joy Bach
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More than cookies were being created. We were making memories.
Lorinda was a regular. You could see the longing in her eyes. She was starved for love. And she had never made cookies before, a fact that astonished my children. A little more flour went on the floor, more icing dribbled down the counter, but the glow on Lorinda’s face made it worthwhile.
One Friday, after a phone call to her mother, she just spent the night, an impromptu slumber party on the living room floor. Those were the days when toothpicks soaked in cinnamon oil were all the rage. The next morning, as Lorinda walked barefoot across our shag carpet, a stray toothpick imbedded itself in the heel of her foot.
Instantly yelling and hopping on one foot, she headed for the door. Outside, I found her in the yard, pain and fear alternating across her young face.
“Why are you out here? Come inside where I can take care of you.”
“No,” she sobbed. “You’ll get mad at me if I get blood on the rug.”
I assured her I cared more about her injury than my rug. Half hugging, half carrying her, we traveled back inside. The toothpick was barely visible. I couldn’t pull it out with just my fingers. Lorinda sat, uncomplaining but very worried about all the trouble she had caused, unsure of what her punishment would be. Once again I promised her I was only concerned that she be okay.
With a pair of pliers, I applied all the strength I could muster. Still no movement on the part of the toothpick. I enlisted the aid of Mr. Duncan next door. He, too, tried in vain to remove the culprit. Finally I placed a phone call to Lorinda’s mother and explained the situation. I expected her mother to care, to come get her.
“Well, I guess you’ll just have to take her to the emergency room then, won’t you?”
“Don’t you want to take her?”
“No, I don’t care if she goes or not.” End of conversation.
Half carrying Lorinda to the car, we hurried to the hospital. The series of questions began.
“Who is her doctor?” I looked at Lorinda for an answer.
Finally, the nurse asked, “Aren’t you her mother?”
“No. I called her mother and she really didn’t care.”
With my limited funds, I became responsible for Lorinda’s bill. More worry on her part. More assurance from me.
The offending object was removed, shots were given, and we returned home. The car carried a quiet bunch; very aware that Lorinda’s family were unconcerned about her well-being.
Such a sobering thought.
We now understood all the hours Lorinda spent at our house. So we welcomed her as another daughter. She called me Mom. We shared our meals, our laughter and our love with her.
There was enough to go around.
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