I roll my shoulders and stretch my neck while the computer boots up, like a boxer waiting in the corner of the ring, waiting for the bell. I watch the tiny hourglass hovering in the middle of the monitor’s screen and plan my strategy for the next chapter. Finally, the hourglass changes into an arrow, and I am able to open my document. I scroll through three hundred forty-seven pages before I find the place where I left my characters hanging.
I’m just beginning to lose myself in my fiction world when a voice breaks my concentration. “Hey.”
My breath escapes in a huff before I can stop it. “What is it, Ashley?”
“Don’t call me that. I told you, I’m going by my middle name.”
What is it with this crazy name thing of hers? I swivel my computer chair around to face her. “Okay, first of all, if I wanted to call you by your middle name, I would have made it your first name. Secondly, Delta is a family name, your great-grandmother’s maiden name. I am NOT going to call you Delta.”
“Whatever. Ashley sounds like a soap opera chick.”
My eyes catch a glimmer of something sparkling between her shirt and jeans, and my stomach churns. “Is that…a belly earring?”
She laughs. “Not belly earring. Belly ring.”
“Why would you do that? You’re not into that kind of thing. Why are you acting so…so…crazy?”
She rolls her eyes. “Obviously, I am into this kind of thing, or I wouldn’t have done it. You really don’t know me very well.”
I squeeze my eyes shut and rub my temples. I have no control over her anymore. “Did you need something?”
She shuffles from one foot to the other. “It’s about California.”
“What about it? You’re not going.”
Her voice is quiet, but firm. “Yes. I am.”
“Oh c’mon, Ashley. You couldn’t stand being that far away from your family.”
She stares at me, immovable.
“Fine. Delta. Your mother will fall apart. How is she supposed to deal with this?”
“That’s your problem. Not mine. I’m going, and you can’t stop me.” She darts from the room.
Slowly, I turn back to the computer, my mind pondering the probable outcome if Ashley… no, Delta, goes to California. Her mother will sink into depression. Things definitely won’t turn out the way I had planned.
But sometimes, you’ve just got to roll with it.
I highlight my last few paragraphs, then hit, “delete.” And then I begin to type:
“Delta’s mother clung to her, refusing to let the embrace come to an end. Finally, Delta pushed away. She avoided looking directly into her mother’s eyes, which shot guilt-rays into her soul like only a mother’s eyes can. She headed for the airport’s security checkpoint. I’ll call you when I get there…”
Three hours later, I’ve added two thousand words to my story. I’m amazed at the new direction things have taken. Delta’s mother really needed to face life without her, and the trip west is leading Delta to make some interesting revelations about herself.
Keys jiggle in the door, and in walks my Chelsea. “Hey, dad. Get much written today?”
“Yeah, I didn’t do too bad. I renamed Ashley Delta.”
Chelsea grabs a glass and heads for the water dispenser. “Cool. Ashley sounds kinds like a chick in t soap opera.”
My jaw drops. “Honey, you still don’t like body piercing, right?”
“Ew, no. Gross.” She grins at me. “Why, dad, you thinkin’ of getting your nipples done or something?”
I shake my head. “No, I don’t think so!” My heart rate slows to normal as she sits beside me at the table and flips through the pile of mail she brought in with her.
“Hmm.” She tears open an envelope. “Check it out. This is from that Bible school in California I told you about. I emailed and asked for information.”
I let the possibility sink in. Strangely, it is peace, not fear, which fills my heart. I am not in control of my baby’s life. Far from it. I’m not able to simply delete her dream of attending college three thousand miles away, because I am not the author of her life.
But I know the Author. And He is in control.
I reach over to the computer and exit my document. Then I lean in close, next to Chelsea. “So tell me about this school.”
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