Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: FERHOODLE (confuse or mix-up) (03/03/16)
- TITLE: Leaving Kate
By Cindy Duncan
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For the past hour Kate had been performing a balancing act. A little homework, a quick Facebook check, sustaining a text conversation with her best friend, and munching on cheese crackers all at the same time. It was multi-tasking at its finest. Even with everything else going on, Kate had no problem answering the last question on her creative writing homework. “If you could change one thing in your life, what would it be?” was the question.
There was only one answer. Everything else about her life was great. Kate thought of her family, her church, her school, her friends. All good. The one thing that she would change if she could was her father’s job. It required him to travel often, and she missed him when he wasn’t there. As she worked on the paragraph explaining her answer, she heard her mom’s cell phone ringing in the next room.
Kate put in her ear buds, turned on her favorite playlist, and continued working. Even over the music, though, she began to hear her mom pleading and crying. “She must be talking to dad,” Kate thought. “I hope this doesn’t mean he won’t be home tomorrow as planned.” Closing her English book, Kate laid her head on the book and struggled to keep her eyes open.
Awakened by the sharp tapping on her door, Kate was jolted into the present. “Come in,” she said, almost too quickly. Her mom pushed the door open hesitantly.
“He’s not coming home.”
“What, who?” Kate attempted to pull herself out of a heavy fog. “Are you talking about Dad? If he’s not coming home tomorrow, then when?”
“Never, Kate. He’s never coming home. He doesn’t want to be here. And honey, he hasn’t paid the rent in months. We have to find somewhere else to live. Tomorrow.”
Kate’s life of near perfect order suddenly became chaos. Why? What had she done to cause him to turn her world upside down? Maybe it was her mom’s fault. She just couldn’t make sense of it all.
Three months later, Kate and her mom carried boxes into their new apartment. “This place is huge,” Kate said.
Her mom laughed. “No, it’s tiny. It just looks huge after staying in that motel room for so long. I’m so thankful the church helped us get this place, and now I have a job, so we just might make it through this.”
“If I need to quit school and get a job too, I will.” Kate was getting used to the idea that she and her mom were a team. The broken pieces of her life were coming together, and something different, but maybe stronger was emerging. Then he came back.
For three months, Kate had prayed for her father’s return, and God had answered those prayers. It was a reunion filled with happy tears, and new promises. He agreed to go to church with them, travel less, and be a better husband and father. It lasted twelve days. Kate’s father took the broken vase of her life, which she had just finished super gluing back together, and he threw it against the wall. This time, he broke the broken pieces. There was little hope of fixing it.
Kate quit school and got a job, not just because they needed the money, but also because she just didn’t care anymore. When they scheduled her to work on Sundays, she was almost relieved.
“You know I don’t like you missing church, Kate,” her mom said.
“Does it really matter? I’ve gone to church all my life, and look where I’m at now. My father doesn’t love me.” Kate wiped the tears off her cheeks with the back of her hands. “I was his little girl, Mom. His princess. He said he would always be there for me. He was my protector, my hero. How can I trust God when I can’t trust my own father?”
“Your father is a man, honey, and a flawed one at that. But God has no flaws. He promised to never leave you, and he cannot lie. You can always count on him. And me.”
Kate smiled at her mom for the first time in weeks. “And you. I’ll see if they’ll change the schedule tomorrow. Thanks, Mom, for always putting me first. You’re the real hero.”
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