Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: OVERLOAD (10/06/16)
TITLE: A Very Long Day
By Ken Grant
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She looks over at her husband sleeping soundly. He works nights to supplement the meager income that is all their small church fellowship can afford. She doesn't begrudge them or him but it does add to her burden. She leans over and kisses him tenderly on the forehead but he doesn't budge. He is weary as well and so she will let him sleep. She has learned to carry many of her burdens alone.
The house is already a controlled bedlam as she opens the door of her bedroom. Getting four children ready for three different schools is a process too complicated to ponder for very long. Some mornings are better than others and this one seems to be progressing fairly well. She referees a couple of minor skirmishes but otherwise everyone comes out of it unscathed.
Once out the door the first major hurdle of the day has been scaled. The children are safely at their schools and she is at hers as well. Working as an aide began as a means of creating some room in the budget but it has also given her a deeper sense of worth. She is making a difference in the children's lives and she sometimes manages to see one of her own children as well. Working at the school has opened her eyes to the changes in culture and not always for the good.
Dinner time is that unique moment when the family are all together and focused mostly on one thing. There are the occasional fights, but also time to decompress and talk about the events of the day. She enjoys listening to her children's stories about their school experiences. She grew up in a small town so she learns new things every day. The pressures are amazing, but she is happy to see that they are growing up better prepared than she ever was to survive in the modern world.
The next hours are a blizzard of homework and preparation for the day to come. She steals some quality time with her husband before she sends him off to his job. There is always a sense of longing that one day he will not have to leave her each night but then her husband smiles and all is right with the world for a little while. She gets the children to bed and sits for a little while by herself. The solitude is nice but it never lasts.
The bedroom beckons to her and she answers its call. She drags her weary body along and lays down happily. She needs rest and so she sleeps, but only for a time. The call of the alarm will come and another day's demands will rise up. For now she has navigated another day and that is good enough. She knows this isn't forever but sometimes it feels like it might be. Sleep approaches and she dreamily gives in to its comforting arms.
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