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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Spring (the season) (07/23/09)

TITLE: My Spring Has Sprung


My spring has sprung. My fling is done. And I can’t even find the tears to cry about it. Instead, I possess a stony heart somehow connected to a stiff neck. Nothing supple here.

The Bible warns against stiff necks, but Pharaoh didn’t have to live with my husband.

He—meaning Robert—not pharaoh, is sucking the life from my marrow.

Robert, your boxers are dangling off your dresser knob.

Robert, your Q-tip missed the garbage and is standing on end.

Robert, your open can of Coke spilled in the refrigerator.

Was my gentle nudging effective? Noooo. There was nothing but to go on a cleaning strike. In April, of all months. How my mother, an OCD cleaning freak/housewife, would schimf if she knew. So take that Robert. I’ve embraced the slum. I don’t care if Bruno’s hair continues to accumulate in the seams of this house. No big deal. We can wade through it in knickerbockers.

But two weeks have gone by, and he's remained in blatant, unbelievable, obliviousness. He hasn't complained about eating off paper products that get bundled into garbage bags that are gathered near the shoes splayed across the foyer. Doesn't he smell something foul in the air?

We can’t go on like this much longer—my chief thought every morning. It’s what induced me to go to the gym after having boycotted showers for the last three days. And I’m not showering now or changing. Look what you’re doing to me, Robert! This is spring. The robins are busy constructing their tidy little nests. Air can be described as fresh. Flowers are squeaky clean and shining. They smell good.

Watching Robert get dressed this morning, I almost broke down and washed some laundry. I don’t know what possessed me to buy him that Lycra polo shirt, but his office mates don’t deserve to be subjected to the black chest hair poking through.

That’s what I’m thinking about when he phones.

“Marla," he says. "Would it be okay to bring the regional manager home for dinner tonight?”

Are you out of your mind? Have you not noticed the state of this house, of me?

“Sure, Robert. Completely feasible,” I answer. “Tell him to bring his wife.”

I hang up.

In a remote location of my heart, there’s a Proverbs 31 woman raking a tin cup across metal bars. The petulant jailer tells her to pipe down.

I drag myself into the living room and swipe the orange peels off the arm of the sofa so I can flop and rest my aching head. Outside my picture window, a gentle rain begins. The drops softly ping the delicate dogwood petals of my favorite tree—the tree where the female robin built her nest and laid her eggs. They just hatched yesterday, and both father and mother are busy feeding their squawking brood.

Yet, before that happened, the female first chose a mate. I think she found the one with the longest, blackest plume. Such a shallow thing, she was. Then she went into high octane construction, finding grass and mud and hair—she got plenty from our yard thanks to Bruno—weaving the materials into a perfect bowl. Where Mr. Robin was, while she worked, I have no idea.

I look around at my disgusting bowl. Defeat oozes down my head like a cracked egg. Fine, Robert, you win. I hope you’re happy. Realistically, though, there’s no way I can get this place cleaned up, make dinner, and get myself ready for company in the three hours I have till he gets home.

I do what I swore I would never do. I call my mother. She cannot keep the glee from her voice as she begins reciting a menu. My humiliation is complete.

We wave good-bye to Gary, who has no wife, for which I’m grateful. All I had time for, in getting myself presentable, was a birdbath, so to speak. I’m feeling pretty grody and avoid lifting my arms too high. The rain from the afternoon has continued, illuminated now by the lamppost. I take Robert’s hand and step out from under the eave. He doesn’t argue.

The wetness soaks into my hair, my clothes. In it I find more than cleansing. I find suppleness, softness. I rest in his arms, my head against his chest. “Gee, Robert,” I sigh. “I hope our second month of marriage won’t be as tough as this first one’s been.”

He howls when I yank a hair from his shirt.

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This article has been read 763 times
Member Comments
Member Date
LaNaye Perkins07/30/09
I loved this entry. It really captures the head-butting that takes with newlyweds. You did a fine job writing this.
Lynda Schultz 07/30/09
The honeymoon is definitely over! Great story.
Laury Hubrich 07/30/09
How funny! Excellent. Love it:)
Verna Cole Mitchell 07/30/09
I liked this so much I read it again! The twist at the end is perfect.
Bryan Ridenour07/30/09
What a great entry! I never would have guessed they were newlyweds...I pictured a couple that had been together for a few years. Very humorous and entertaining all the way through. Well done!
Loren T. Lowery07/31/09
Loved the inner dialogue of the feisty spirit wrestling it out with the compliant (Proverb)ial woman. Even though the dinner party was a success, I'm still not too sure which one of the two won - after all, pulling those hairs through the shirt had to say something about who was left standing. Great, fun story. Well written.
Connie Dixon08/01/09
So many funny lines in this story. I laughed out loud as I read it. Great job!
Gregory Kane08/03/09
I really really liked this and could picture the slowly brewing frustration and disbelief, perfectly contrasted against the man's completely realistic insensibility.
I appreciate that the honeymoon ending works well as a twist, but I wonder if it doesn't distract from the wife's sense of being hard done by. After all I could easily go through weeks without noticing that the sheets hadn't been changed...
Dee Yoder 08/03/09
Oh man... this is SO true-to-life! I love the twist at the end--it points out the truly angst-ridden adjustment period between newlyweds. Everything is so much WORSE than the new bride and groom imagine. (;
Joy Faire Stewart08/03/09
Love the humor in this creative piece. Excellent writing as always!
Beth LaBuff 08/03/09
LOL! Love the double meaning of your title AND that you used the word "grody"! :) What a great ending!
Mariane Holbrook 08/03/09
I was drawn in by the title which reminded me of a little ditty we said when we were kids:
"Spring has spring, the grass has riz,
I wonder where the birdies is."
Your entry was such a fun read that if we took a vote, you'd be named one of the best humorists in FW. Kudos, big time!!!
Mona Purvis08/03/09
Just shaking my head at this one! Very entertaining, well written and oh...so funny.
Jackie Wilson08/04/09
I loved the surprise ending, never suspected newlyweds. I think I was married to that guy's clone.......
Lyn Churchyard08/04/09
Lisa, Lisa, Lisa. You never fail to entertain. I loved this - every jot of humour oozing from the lines (or should that be the cracked egg?).

In a remote location of my heart, there’s a Proverbs 31 woman raking a tin cup across metal bars, oh my, this topped it off. LOL this and the ending.
Chely Roach08/04/09
Phooey. Lynne stole my quote. I belly laughed at the Proverbs 31 line...what a riot. Loved every second...from start to finish. This must be a winner.
Eliza Evans 08/04/09
Your mind kinda amazes me. :)

In a remote location of my heart, there’s a Proverbs 31 woman raking a tin cup across metal bars.

That image just slays me. LOL

Who would ever think of that?

YOU! ;) Great writing.

Diana Dart 08/05/09
Masterful! I can't help but love this man... I mean really, the polo shirt, the chest hairs, the complete lack of perception!!! He's a keeper ;-) The female robin choosing the longest, blackest plume... love it!!! I too, belly laughed at the Proverbs 31 woman. This whole piece was wonderful - you know just how to do it Lisa.
Edmond Ng 08/05/09
Life's a struggle and to begin it right from the start of a married life requires more than mutual understanding for a marriage to last! You've put through in humorous words an important message for newly weds. I like the voice in the story. A very interesting read indeed.