Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: CHILL (10/29/15)
- TITLE: Cassie's Winter
By Cindy Duncan
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Cassie woke suddenly, and at first she was oblivious as to why. It was a sweet but brief oblivion. What was it that had startled her? Was it a noise? A bad dream? Then, with a force that rendered her breathless, she remembered. It was the text.
The text was sent two weeks ago from Cole. In the three years they had been together, Cassie could count on one hand how many texts she had received from him. He thought texting was a waste of his time, although he certainly didn’t waste much time on this one. It simply read, “It’s over. found someone else. don’t call.” At first she thought it was a joke. She actually checked the calendar to make sure it wasn’t April Fools Day. It wasn’t.
And of course, she called him. Relentlessly. After twenty-seven ignored calls in thirty minutes, Cole finally answered the phone. “What is wrong with you? Can you not read? Do not call again, ever.” And he was gone, without even letting her speak. The coldness in his voice sent shivers down her spine. It felt like the first frost of a long, cold winter.
If this was winter, when had autumn begun? When had the hot romance they shared begun to cool? Cassie struggled to recall every recent conversation, but couldn’t remember anything to suggest the chill ahead. They had talked of marriage, and children, and growing old together.
Cole was her first real love, and he had promised to love her forever. How could forever have only lasted three years? What had she done wrong? The questions tortured her. Cassie felt dead inside. She thought of the pistol in the nightstand drawer. Cole had bought it to keep her from being hurt, but now she saw it as the only way to end her pain.
As she lifted the gun out of its case, she thought of how good it would feel to be free from the pain again. She knew it was loaded, because Cole always said, “An unloaded gun is a useless gun.” The moment she pointed the gun at her temple, the doorbell rang.
Cassie’s mother never came by unannounced, until now. Cassie hadn’t told her mom about the breakup, because she had never approved of Cole in the first place, and she was in no condition to hear, “I told you so.” She invited her mom in and tried her best to look happy.
As Cassie’s mom stepped through the door, the first thing she noticed was the mess. Clothes were strewn across the living room, and dishes were piled in the sink. There was an empty carton of strawberry cheesecake ice cream on the coffee table, Cassie’s attempt to bandage her broken heart the night before. “What in tarnation? I must have the wrong house. My Cassie would never live in a pig pen like this,” she said. “And why is it so stinkin’ hot in here? Is your air conditioning broken? Your dad can probably fix it, if you just call him.”
“It’s not broken, Mom. For some reason, I’ve been cold for a couple of weeks now. Nothing will take the chill away. Anyway, to what do I owe this surprise visit?”
“I guess you owe it to a mixture of the Lord’s guidance and a momma’s intuition,” she said, as she headed to the kitchen with a pot of homemade soup she had brought with her. Cassie felt her toes tingling as her mom went by, as if the frost was beginning to thaw.
They ate soup and talked for hours, never bringing up the subject of Cole. Cassie suspected that her mom knew what had happened, but she was thankful that she had not mentioned it. For a few hours, Cassie almost forgot about the text.
When her mom had to leave, she took Cassie in her arms, and said, “Sweetheart, I don’t know what’s happened, but I do know that you are loved. You have family, friends, and co-workers who love you, but most of all you have Jesus. He has promised to never leave you or forsake you, and unlike mortal men, he cannot lie.”
Cassie’s winter was not over, but that night with her mom gave her a tiny glimpse of spring, and of new life. She slept a little better that night, even without the two extra blankets.
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