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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: hope (03/29/04)

TITLE: TABLE SET BEFORE ME
By Kenny Paul Clarkson
04/04/04

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Table Set Before Me

Eyes wide open, Betty's head laid heavy on her pillow. The cacophony of crickets and locusts blended with a distant drone of city traffic. A siren’s wail pierced the evening air. Somehow she found the night sounds of suburbia comforting.

Randy would be the first to know. That’s how it had always been. But for now it would have to wait. He slept soundly — though not soundlessly — at her side. His every breath grasped for a full serving, as if it would be the last. He snored profusely.

Though her body craved a good night’s rest, her mind refused to surrender. Memories emerged from their hiding places. This little one inside her: Though still a stranger, an affinity of love prevailed.

The ceiling swayed as shadows of leaf-laden boughs dancing eerily with the amber glow of a street lamp. As long as there are those willing to do what is right, she thought, there is hope. But she wondered, now, if it would be worth it. Could she face the final two months of her congressional race while enduring the inevitable hardships of pregnancy? And what — fat chance — if she were to win? Her mind calculated. She would be sworn into office just as her little one was reaching mid-term. Could she really raise a family of five while serving in the United States House of Representatives? Her mind stood still, but only for a moment. Of course I can, she thought. I can do all things! I am woman hear me roar! Just then Randy snorted. Not you! She giggled.

No prayer came to mind, but a spirit of gratitude flooded her soul. There is hope because I can make a difference if I’m elected to Congress. She considered her thought; then smiled. How foolish. I don’t have to be a Statesman to make a difference. One by one she considered the great people who had graced our planet. Each one, she thought, began with a mother’s affection. There was a time when Abraham Lincoln was a glimmer in his mother’s eye. Einstein, Edison and Ethel Merman began life’s journey inside their mother’s care. And who was that baby born in Bethlehem? So what is the greater privilege? Being a mom or being in Washington?

Raising this little one would bring more hope to the world than being a Congresswoman, she concluded. Then she spoke aloud. “Not that I’d turn down the opportunity.”

And that stirred Randy.

“Whazzat?” he raised his head, but slightly. “D’jou say somethin’, Sweetie.”

“Oh, nothing. Go back to sleep,” she was sorry to intrude on his dreams. She patted his head.

Betty turned and closed her eyes. Slowly, her thoughts began the surrender to the twilight of unconsciousness.

“Thought I heard you say something,” Randy mumbled. “Last time you talked in your sleep you were pregnant. We’re not pregnant again, are we?”

“I’ll tell you in the morning.” And with that, she fell fast asleep.

Randy's head laid heavy on his pillow. Eyes wide open.

© Copyright, 2004 – Kenny Paul Clarkson


Member Comments
Member Date
Kenny Paul Clarkson04/05/04
Oops! Sorry ...

I posted this twice. You may view the first post on page one here


— KPC
Kenny Paul Clarkson04/07/04
Naomi Deutekom04/07/04
This is wonderfully written. I especially like the end!