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Dixie Lee Green 2,366 Words
Dixie Lee Green
“Please God, let it not be today,” I wearily sighed, as I anxiously paced up and down the short stretch of sidewalk in front of my apartment complex. What was I to tell him? I searched my soul for the appropriate answers, but found only resentments hidden there. But I knew it was inevitable. He incessantly interrogated me with demanding questions, and despite his youth, he insisted on exact answers. This chilly Monday morning had been no exception in his quest for the truth.
“Where is my Dad,” he had implored, his baby blue eyes pleading with mine. I had almost expected that if I played the role of a flawless mother, the past would simply disappear. He was the spitting image of his father, whom I had foolishly lost my heart to seven years ago. His eyes, the wide grin, and his playful personality were all reminders of a mistake that just would not go away.
I had been meeting with Ruth, my church counselor, for about three months in hope that it would just go away.
I could still hear the cursed anger in his hushed voice when I had nervously phoned to tell him I was pregnant. I had been petrified of what the news would do to our relationship.
“I need to talk with you,” I stammered.
“Tell me now,” he snapped, “I don’t have much time.”
“Not on the phone,” I stated, trying to sound authoritative.
“What is it? You shouldn’t be calling me here.”
“I’m pregnant,” I heavily sighed, my body trembling with fear.
There had been a deafening silence for what seemed like an eternity before my phone went dead. In that instant I had been abandoned.
Breaking free from my thoughts, I glanced at my watch. It was 2:10pm. My six year old son, David, would be arriving home at any moment. The sun seemed to be lost among the numerous clouds covering the gray sky. I had snatched a cardigan upon leaving our apartment, but as I stood on the corner of Macy Terrace, I discovered it wasn’t quite enough.
“Br. . . .” I shivered, my arms tightly crossed in front of me as I attempted to block the bitter cold. I continued to pace, striving to keep warm.
It was then that my own blue eyes caught sight of his school bus coming down the road. I heard his jubilant voice shouting to me before I spotted him in the window frantically waving his arms. I smiled and waved back, silently thanking God that his anger from this morning had been diffused.
“Mom, Billy wants me to come to his birthday party Saturday,” he bellowed, as he jumped off the bus. “Can I go?”
“Maybe,” I replied, taking hold of his hand and carrying his backpack. “How was school?”
“Great! Billy and I got to be teacher’s helpers today!”
“Really?” I asked, sounding delighted.
“Yeah, and Mrs. Marsten said I did a great job.”
It was moments like these I cherished, I thought, as we walked hand in hand to our apartment. I no longer felt the cold, and despite the clouds, my world was sunny, even if but for a moment.
Dinner that evening was reasonably calm and there had been no mention of his father. Billy’s upcoming birthday party had created a pleasant diversion, especially since I had called Billy’s mother to accept their invitation. I had also prepared his favorite dish of macaroni and cheese.
I sensed his excitement as we began to clear dishes from the table. His cheerful chatter and busy feet sent my negative thoughts spinning as I forcefully tried to connect with his joy. I learned that at moments like these, he was taking care of me, reminding me of just how prosperous we truly were.
Looking at my watch, I let out a short gasp, “It’s 6:30, Kathy should be here any minute!”
“Are you going to the church to see Ruth again?” David asked, his voice subdued.
“Yes, you know I go see her on Monday nights,” I replied, turning on the dishwasher.
The sudden drone of the door alarm thankfully ended his curiosity, as he sped to the door.
“Check to make sure it is Kathy before you open the door,” I hollered, brushing my curly brown hair and grabbing my purse.
The apartment’s security system gave him an aura of authority as he operated the intercom switches, despite having to stand on tippy-toe on his Thomas the Tank Engine step stool.
I proudly smiled, as I heard him ask, “Is it you, Kathy?”
There was a muted giggle in Kathy’s response as she confirmed her identity.
The apartment complex consisted of three brick buildings placed together in the form of a horseshoe, and Kathy lived in the center building. Her maturity level intrigued me, as she exhibited wisdom beyond her sixteen years. I often wondered what she experienced to gain such insight.
“Mom! She’s here!”
“Okay,” I acknowledged, bringing my meditative thoughts to a close.
David’s excited voice filled the kitchen as he explained to Kathy the details of Billy’s upcoming birthday party.
“His Mom is making a Scooby-Doo cake, and I am going to give him a Scooby-Doo sleeping bag.”
“Alright,” I started, cutting into his enthusiasm, “I have to leave. Kathy, I left the number of the church on the notepad beside the phone, and David, you need to be in bed by 8:00. You do what Kathy tells you. I don’t want to hear a bad report when I return.”
“I’ll be good. Kathy plays Candy Land with me, and she always makes me brush my teeth.”
“That’s great,” I remarked, as I gently patted David’s head, pushing his blonde hair off his face.”
“I love you Mom. See you later.”
“I love you too,” I replied, as I quietly thanked Kathy and grabbed my keys.
My eyes shifted toward the tranquil splendor of the Merrimack River as I drove down River Road to the West Newbury Congregational Church. Enormous green trees dotted its banks, marking its trail as it twisted and turned for miles. My heart anticipated the coming of fall when colors of orange, red, and yellow would transform the river into a blazing inferno.
My thoughts suddenly turned as I asked myself how a God who could create such magnificent beauty could possibly love a human blunder like me. My eyes began to fill with tears of shame as images of the past unfolded before me.
I remembered David’s father strolling along a moonlit beach, his hands pushing their way among the rocks, searching for shiny bits of treasure. The baseball cap he always wore to cover his bald head and the moustache which seemed to enhance his smile. He was so handsome in his own playful way.
“What was I thinking?” I abruptly muttered, pushing the memories away. I had even prayed that his wife would leave him so he could be mine forever.
“Oh God,” I humbly prayed, my hands gripping the steering wheel. “How do I tell that darling, innocent boy that his father was a married man? That his mother is nowhere near being the perfect Christian woman I pretend to be.”
The river appeared to fade as darkness flowed in. I rubbed the tears from my cheeks as my foot pressed harder on the accelerator.
“What am I supposed to say to him?” I questioned, as I sat in the cushioned rocker facing Ruth’s modest desk. It was littered with volumes of books, and had a heap of file folders resting in the center. Its black coat of paint had begun to peel around its legs. A box of Kleenex sat on an end table beside me and there were a variety of small rugs scattered over the hardwood floor. Ruth appeared to be in her forties and her long polished black hair had been pulled back in a French braid. Her gray eyeglasses accented her light brown eyes.
“Tell me about this morning,” Ruth inquired, as she placed her glasses on top of the file folders and leaned back in her leather chair.
“I hollered at David this morning. He didn’t deserve it. It’s not his fault his mother has dark secrets,” I ranted, attempting to organize my chaotic mind. “He kept quizzing me with questions about his father because his school teacher needed a name for a Father’s Day project they were going to do. Father’s day is in June! What does it matter? School will be out! I wish she would mind her own business.”
Ruth leaned forward and stifled a smile as she nodded her head in agreement.
“Oh how could I have been so stupid?”
“It wasn’t just you,” reminded Ruth, “it takes two and who is here now? He chose to erase all memory of you and David when he deserted you.”
I closed my eyes for a brief second, recognizing the truth in her statement.
“So, what do I tell him?” I cried, “David is going to hate me.”
Tears fell on my blouse as fears of losing my son plagued me.
“David is an articulate and intelligent boy,” Ruth praised, “he adores you. You are a wonderful, caring Mom. You have grown in your walk with God and you are sharing that with him.”
“Why am I so afraid?” I blurted out, as I grabbed a tissue and swiped at my eyes.
Ruth bent forward, extending her hands to me. I dropped my tissue in the wastebasket beside her desk and took hold of her hands. They were warm and comforting, yet I perceived remarkable strength and courage.
“Ginny,” she declared, “you are very much loved and forgiven. You have been given grace in the form of a priceless little boy. The Bible tells us in the book of Isaiah that God brings a wealth of beauty from among the ashes of our life. We have to believe there is a purpose in all of this.”
I nodded my head, letting go of her hands. Tears continued to pour down my face as I comprehended what she was saying.
“Tell David about his father. You don’t need to explain every detail. Tell him what he wants to know.”
“He is a handsome boy,” I gasped, as I grabbed another handful of tissues.
“Sure he is,” echoed Ruth, as she stood from her chair, “now you go home and talk to your son.”
“See you next week?” I meekly asked.
“Sure, and you can tell me how things went, Ruth confidently replied.
“Okay,” I replied, getting to my feet. I felt slightly dizzy as Ruth came around her desk to embrace me. “Thanks.”
As I drove home I decided I would take David to Hampton Beach on Sunday after church for our conversation about his father.
“Lord, Please let it be a nice day, I know it is only May.”
Sunday turned out to be a magnificent day. The deep blue, cloudless sky extended for miles as the glow of the sun warmed the deserted beach. A flock of seagulls gathered around us as David and I dotted the shoreline with sandcastles.
“Mom! Look what I found!” screeched David.
He held up a shiny rock. It glistened in the sunshine.
“That’s beautiful. Let’s save it.” I stated, hoping my anxiety would not dampen his enthusiasm.
“My first piece of gold,” he beamed, “I’m going to give it to Billy.”
“That would be a nice gesture,” I started, struggling to find the right time and words for what I needed to say.
“David, we need to talk,” I uttered, as we continued to dig in the sand.
“Billy liked his sleeping bag. Is that what you wanted to know?”
“Well, I’m glad for that, but no, I wanted to spend some time today answering some of your questions about your Dad.”
“I knew I had a father,” he retorted. “Mrs. Marsten said I had a father.”
“Yes,” I stammered, feeling frustration taking hold of my thoughts.
“Look Mom, I found another piece of gold!” David exclaimed.
“Wow David! Why don’t we go for a walk,” I suggested, taking his hand and our pails and shovels. “We’ll finish these later.”
“Okay,” he sighed, as we walked hand in hand down the shoreline. I silently prayed for wisdom and discernment.
I soon spotted a huge boulder looming ahead of us. “Let’s go sit on that big rock,” I advised.
“I’ll race you,” David yelled, as his feet dashed across the sand. Seagulls took off in every direction as he ran toward the rock.
My words turned somersaults in my head as I put my arms around his shoulders and slowly began to tell him what he wanted to know about his father. David intently listened, interjecting questions which surprised me. He showed so much grace. Ruth was right, I thought.
“Mom, were you mad when Daddy went away?” David queried, interrupting my sweet serenity.
I gazed into his face and saw a hint of sorrow reflected there. I placed my free hand in his and squeezed it gently.
“I cried for a while, and yes, I was angry for a long time. But, I learned to forgive him as God has forgiven me. You are my gift from God and I so very much love you.”
“I love you too, Mom” David replied, squeezing my hands tightly.
“Why don’t we go back to the car and get our picnic basket,” I hesitantly suggested, not wanting to ruin this tender moment.
“Yeah!” David shouted, as he let go of my hand and dashed off down the beach.
“Wait for me!” I exclaimed, thanking God for his forgiveness and grace. The words from Isaiah 61 seemed to echo off the sand as I heard “To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair..(2-3 NLT) My tears turned to joy as I thought of David and enthusiastically danced my way down the beach.
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12 Aug 2016
The title is good, catches interest. I like the image of the boy running on the beach and the seagulls scattering. That was vivid and beautiful. I felt like the boy's dialogue didn't follow a natural line of thought for a 6 year old. Also when he spoke to the teacher, he wasn't sure he had a father. Then he asked his mom if she was upset when the father left. The story seemed forced on the mom's perspective, but I think a deeper interplay of the boy's and mom's perspectives would make this a very moving story. I'd respectfully suggest going back and deleting all of the adverbs and most of the adjectives. It will make each sentence stronger, I promise! Keep at it, the subject is a good one.
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