Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Oops (01/14/10)
TITLE: Of Pies and Pastors
By Sarah Elisabeth
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To start things off, I accidently flooded the basement of our new house, and she broke the zipper on her formal dress five minutes after we were to be at a party. Backing my truck over her cat did little to relieve the building tension. Then came the case of the salt-instead-of-sugar in her brownies. I couldn’t help gagging. Cynthia sobbed the entire night.
Things brightened on the day my little wife’s apple pie came out tasting like my mama’s. I lavished Cynthia with compliments as the two of us polished off all but one piece.
With the apple pie success, confidence started to build - until our pastor dropped in right at suppertime.
Cynthia called me into the kitchen during dinner. Clenching my arm, her face paled as she said, “I only have one piece of apple pie left to serve for dessert. What am I going to do? This is so embarrassing.”
“Aw, honey, it’s not so bad. There’s some ice cream in the freezer. We’ll just have it with chocolate syrup…” The look in Cynthia’s eyes left my sentence hanging.
Then an idea illuminated her face. “This is what we’ll do. When I offer dessert, you say you don’t want any, I won’t have any, and we’ll give the last piece to the pastor.”
Thankfully, she didn’t hear my halfhearted approval as she spun back through the swinging kitchen door.
“My, my, Cynthia, that was a wonderful meal.” Pastor turned to me. “Carl, how did you end up with such a beautiful wife that’s also a marvelous cook?”
“Would you care for a slice of apple pie, Pastor?” Cynthia rose like a princess and removed his dinner plate.
“Thank you, but no Cynthia. One more bite and I won’t be able to preach for a month of Sundays!”
If I hadn’t been politely chuckling, I might have realized in time to keep my mouth shut. But that apple pie began calling my name.
“Honey, I believe I’ll have a piece.”
I almost missed her look as she set the dessert plate in front of me.
I had shoved the second bite into my watering mouth when the pastor dropped the bomb with my death sentence.
“You know Cynthia, that pie looks so good, I believe I will have a piece.”
I could feel my wife’s glare singeing my eyebrows. I listened to her labored breathing.
Rescuing my wife at this moment would have been down right chivalrous, but seeing my part in it, I knew my motives were purely of self-preservation.
I gulped and met the pastor’s eyes as I said, “Well sir, uh, Pastor, to be honest with you, this was the last piece. I thought since you didn’t care for any-uh, well, I just didn’t want to see it go to waste.”
A smile spread across our guest’s face as he took in the situation. The smile became a chuckle then a booming laugh. Right then I knew we were sermon material.
Exhaling, I chatted with the pastor awhile before walking him to the door.
Tiptoeing back, I peeked in the kitchen. Cynthia stood at the sink as she slid dishes into it with a clang. Her shoulders were shaking.
I didn’t feel I could handle her tears at one more oops. But what choice did I have?
I put my hands on her arms and turned her around, letting the sudsy water drip from her hands onto my black leather boots. I opened my mouth to speak, but she cut me off with a burst of hysterical laughter. That’s when I knew I had driven her over the edge.
“Sweetheart, it’s okay,” I said, squeezing her arms, “I’m sorry, it was my fault. If I hadn’t asked for that last piece-“
“Then we wouldn’t be laughing at ourselves!” Cynthia dabbed the corners of her eyes with my shirt. “Oh honey, aren’t we silly? We’ve been pretending to know what marriage is all about. We just need to be patient and grow together, and stop getting worked up over all the little things.”
I bent over and touched my nose to hers. “I agree with you whole heartedly, Mrs. Nelson.” I would have given my wife a little kiss if I hadn’t looked over her shoulder at the overflowing sink.
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